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Bangladesh offers Myanmar military aid against ARSA group


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Bangladesh on Monday proposed joint military operations with Myanmar against ARSA terrorists fighting in Rakhine state, where thousands of villagers have fled fresh violence in recent days, an official said.

An upsurge in fighting in Rakhine, an impoverished state neighbouring Bangladesh, has been raging since Friday when ARSA terrorists staged coordinated ambushes against Myanmar's security forces.

More than 100 people, including around 80 ARSA terrorists, have been confirmed killed in the fightback, which has seen thousands of Muslim villagers fleeing for Bangladesh.

More than 3,000 have arrived in Bangladesh from Myanmar, where the stateless Muslim minority faces persecution, in the past three days, the UN refugee agency said Monday.

Bangladesh has said there are thousands more massed on its border with Myanmar, where it has stepped up patrols and pushed back hundreds of civilians who have tried to enter.

In a meeting with Myanmar's charge d'affaires in Dhaka, a top Bangladeshi foreign ministry official proposed joint military efforts against the terrorists along the border.

"We proposed that if Myanmar wished, the security forces of the two countries could conduct joint operations against the (terrorists), any non-state actors or the Arakan Army along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border," a foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity, as he was not permitted to speak to the media.

The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), designated a terrorist group by the Myanmar government, says it is fighting to protect the Muslim minority from abuses by Myanmar security forces and the majority-Buddhist Rakhine community.

There was no comment from the Myanmar diplomat.

At the weekend, as violence in Rakhine worsened, Bangladesh's foreign minister summoned Myanmar's charge’d affaires in Dhaka to express "serious concern" at the possibility of a fresh refugee influx.

© AFP

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