Myanmar rejects rebels' ceasefire offer, steps up counter-insurgency operations

Myanmar refused to accept a ceasefire offer Sunday from militant Rohingya forces, which had asked for a month-long pause in combat so that aid could arrive to displaced populations in the war-torn state of Rakhine.
By Josh Curlee | Sep 11, 2017
Myanmar refused to accept a ceasefire offer Sunday from militant Rohingya forces, which had asked for a month-long pause in combat so that aid could arrive to displaced populations in the war-torn state of Rakhine. Myanmar leader Aung Suu Kyi said only that her government will not negotiate with "terrorists."
Rakhine has experienced periodic violence sparked by local insurgent attacks against Myanmar government forces, resulting in hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the area for nearby Bangladesh. The violence spiked on August 25, however, when the Myanmar Army mobilized a counter-offensive in response to armed militant attacks on local police posts and an Army base.
Army forces have burned down thousands of homes and completely destroyed dozens of villages to quell the insurgent group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), according to local Rohingya observers. The observers accused the military of trying to drive the Rohingya population out of the region in a wholesale ethnic cleansing.
"Slowly, one after another, villages are being burnt downI believe that Rohingyas are already wiped out completely from Rathedaung," Chris Lewa of the Arakan Project, a Rohingya monitoring group, told Reuters.
The violence has led 294,000 Rohinya civilians to flee across the border into the Bazar region of southern Bangladesh, local UN workers said. The aid workers said that their agencies are struggling to accommodate all of these refugees, many of whom are sick or wounded.
But thousands more are pinned down in Rakhine and have no access to shelter or food. The ceasefire offer, which the ARSA declared unilaterally, would have allowed aid to reach these people.
Neither the military nor the government would make any official response to ARSA's ceasefire. The only recognition of it came from Kyi, who tweeted: "We have no policy to negotiate with terrorists."

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