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The Rohingya Strikes Back in Myanmar

Rendered stateless, denied freedom of movement and access to social and political  services for too long in Myanmar, the Rohingya people struck back against Myanmar's security forces on Friday, thus signaling that they have no other option but to fight against what they deemed as Myanmar state-sponsored terrorism.

Reuters has reported that the Rohingya group, Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army(ARSA), has determined it has no other option but to fight in order to defend the Rohingya community and they have demanded the Rohingya be consulted on all decisions affecting their future.

The small ARSA insurgent group on Friday ambushed a Myanmar military truck and wounded several members of Myanmar's security forces, Reuters reported. Last August 25, ARSA launched raids on Myanmar security forces that led to the current violent and ethnic-cleansing crisis by the Myanmar army that has caused over 650,000 Rohingya people, to flee into neighboring Bangladesh. Myanmar is predominantly Buddhist. The Rohingya are a minority Muslim sect that the state has denied to recognize going as far as prohibiting the use of the name Rohingya in the country.

According to the leader of the insurgent group, Ata Ullah, in a statement posted on Twitter, "ARSA has...no other option but to combat 'Burmese state-sponsored terrorism' against the Rohingya population for the purpose of defending, salvaging and protecting the Rohingya community, " Reuters reported. 

The statement added: "Rohingya people must be consulted in all decision-making that affects their humanitarian needs and political future." Myanmar has claimed it will not accept terrorism and will fight against the Rohingya "until the end".

As Myanmar and Bangladesh ready a plan to return Rohingya refugees to Myanmar, refugees complain that they have not been consulted on the proposals. In the meantime, Myanmar authorities continue to place, Rakhine state -  the home of the majority of Myanmar's Rohingya people, off limits to Press and humanitarian groups.

Friday's action by ARSA, the first since last August, underscores the frustration the Rohingya feel and experience toward their goal to achieving basic human rights in Myanmar. They have opted to strike back and to rise-up against oppression in 2018.