Rohingya crisis: Myanmar rebuffs rebel ceasefire

Media captionWho is burning down Rohingya villages?

Myanmar has brushed off a one-month unilateral ceasefire announced by a Rohingya militant group in Rakhine.

The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa) announced a truce on Sunday, urging Myanmar’s army to lay down weapons as well.

But government spokesman Zaw Htay said Myanmar would not negotiate with “terrorists”.

About 294,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since violence erupted in Rakhine state last month.

Arsa attacked several police posts on 25 August, killing 12 people. In turn, this prompted a counter-insurgency clampdown from the security forces.

Rohingya residents – a stateless, mostly Muslim minority in Buddhist-majority Myanmar – say the military and Rakhine Buddhists are waging a brutal campaign against them, burning their villages.

Myanmar rejects this, saying its military is fighting against Rohingya “terrorists”.

  • Who are Arsa?
  • Why won’t Aung San Suu Kyi act?
  • Tales of horror from Rohingya who fled
  • BBC reporter: ‘A Muslim village was burning’
  • Myanmar conflict: The view from Yangon

Arsa announced the ceasefire on Twitter, saying it was “in order to enable humanitarian actors to assess and respond to the humanitarian crisis” in Rakhine.

The group “strongly urges the Burmese [Myanmar] government to reciprocate this humanitarian pause”, the statement added.

However, Zaw Htay, a spokesman for the government, tweeted on Sunday: “We have no policy to negotiate with terrorists.”

Media captionMyanmar’s Rohingya have been described by the UN as “the most friendless people in the world”, as Justin Rowlatt reports