Rohingya militants open to peace talks with myanmar
On 25 August, the militants killed a dozen people in coordinated attacks launched on about 30 security posts with the help of hundreds of Rohingya villagers.
Muslim Rohingya militants said on Saturday t hey are ready to respond to any peace move by the Myanmar government but a onemonth ceasefire they declared to enable the delivery of aid in violence-racked Rakhine State is about to end.
The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) did not say what action it would take after the ceasefire ends at midnight on Monday but it was “determined to stop the tyranny and oppression” waged against the Rohingya people.
“If at any stage, the Bur- mese government is inclined to peace, then ARSA will welcome that inclination and reciprocate,” the group said in a statement.
Government spokesmen were not immediately available for comment. When the ARSA announced its one- month ceasefire from 10 September, a government spokesman said: “We have no policy to negotiate with terrorists.”
The rebels launched coordinated attacks on about 30 security posts and an army camp on 25 August with the help of hundreds of disaffected Rohingya villagers, many wielding sticks or machetes, killing about a dozen people.
In response, the military unleashed a sweeping offensive across the north of Rakhine State, driving more than half a million Rohingya villagers into Bangladesh in what the United Nations branded a textbook example of “ethnic cleansing”.
Myanmar rejects that. It says more than 500 people have been killed in the fighting, most of them “terrorists” who have been attacking civilians and torching villages.
The ability of the ARSA, which only surfaced in October last year, to mount any sort of challenge to the Myanmar army is not known but it does not appear to have been able to put up resistance to the military offensive unleashed in August.
Inevitably, there are doubts about how the insurgents can operate in areas where the military has driven out the civilian population, cutting the insurgents off from recruits, food, funds and information. The ARSA accused the government of using murder, arson and rape as “tools of depopulation”. The ARSA denies links to foreign Islamists.
In an interview with Reuters in March, ARSA leader Ata Ullah linked the creation of the group to communal violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine in 2012, when nearly 200 people were killed and 140,000, mostly Rohingya, displaced.
The group says it is fighting for the rights of the Rohingya, who have never been regarded as an indigenous minority in Myanmar and so have been denied citizenship under a law that links nationality to ethnicity.
The group repeated their demand that Rohingya be recognised as a “native indigenous” ethnic group, adding that all Rohingya people should be allowed “to return home safely with dignity ... to freely determine their political status and pursue their economic, social and cultural development”.
The Rohingya have long faced discrimination and repression in Rakhine State where bad blood between them and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, stemming from violence by both sides, goes back generations.
Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has faced scathing criticism for not doing more to stop the violence, although a military-drafted constitution gives her no power over the security forces.
Suu Kyi has condemned rights abuses and said Myanmar was ready to start a process agreed with Bangladesh in 1993 by which anyone verified as a refugee would be accepted back. Many refugees fear they will not have the paperwork they believe Myanmar will demand to allow them back. Police and FBI agents, chasing down more than 1,000 deadend leads since a gunman killed 58 people in Las Vegas, are seeking more help from the public in solving the central mystery of their investigation - the shooter’s motive.
Clark County Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said investigators remain largely in the dark about what drove retired real estate investor and high-stakes gambler Stephen Paddock to carry out the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
“We have looked at everything, literally, to include the suspect’s personal life, any political affiliation, his social behaviors, economic situation, any potential radicalisation,” McMahill told reporters late on Friday. “We have been down each and every single one of these paths, trying to determine why, to determine who else may have known of these plans.”
McMahill acknowledged that Islamic State had repeatedly claimed responsibility for the attack, but said investigators had uncovered “no nexus” between the Mideast-based militant group and Paddock.
In an unusual bid to cast a wider net for tips, the FBI and police have arranged with communications company Clear Channel to post billboards around Las Vegas urging citizens to come forward with any information they believe might help investigators. The billboards will bear the slogan, “If you know something, say something,” and carry a toll-free number to an FBI hotline, said Aaron Rouse, special agent in charge of the Las Vegas FBI office.
The public appeal came a day before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was slated to join Mayor Carolyn Goodman and other local leaders at a City Hall commemoration for victims of the shooting, following a prayer walk through the city. President Donald Trump paid a visit to Las Vegas earlier in the week.
Paddock, 64, unleashed a torrent of gunfire onto an outdoor music festival from the windows of his 32nd-floor hotel suite overlooking the concert on Sunday night, then shot himself to death before police stormed his room.
Unlike so many other perpetrators of deadly mass shootings before him, Paddock left behind no suicide note, no manifesto, no recordings and no messages on social media pointing to his intent, according to police.
McMahill said investigators remained certain Paddock acted alone in the shooting. But police have said they suspect he had help before the killings, based on the large number of guns, ammunition and explosives found in the hotel suite, his home, his car and a second home searched in Reno.
An internally displaced Syrian boy plays outside a camp in the town of Soussian in Aleppo countryside, Syria on Friday.