Rohingya ARSA is a jihadist monster


For the last five years, I have been writing extensively in local and international media exposing the notorious agenda of Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) – a jihadist outfit of Rohingyas.

According to statistics, there are over one million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh who were driven out from Myanmar by its military regime. Ever-since genocide on Rohingyas began, members of this community had not only entered Bangladesh, thousands of them have illegally moved into a number of countries in Asian, Australian, African and European continent.

One of the key points about the Rohingyas is – the majority of them are radicalized Muslims. They have extreme hatred towards secular individuals, nations and governments.

Back in 2017, while Bangladesh provided shelter to over 1.20 million Rohingyas, a large number of Rohingyas also have moved to India, fleeing atrocities of the Myanmar military establishment. Although there is no statistical data on the size of Rohingya refugees or those Rohingyas illegally living in India – back in 2020, India’s central government told its Supreme Court,

“Rohingya presence in the country has serious national security ramifications and it poses national security threats. The illegal influx of Rohingyas into India started in 2012-13 and inputs suggest links of some of the immigrants with Pak-based terror groups. Some Rohingyas with militant backgrounds were active in Jammu, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mewat and are a potential threat to internal security”.

According to media reports, a number of nations, including Turkey, Iran and Pakistan are actively attempting to turn the entire Rohingya community – or at least majority of them towards radical Islamic militancy. There also are reports on secret links between Rohingyas and several jihadist groups such as Al Qaeda, Islamic State, Boko Haram, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hamas, Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood, and Hizb Ut Tahrir. These jihadist groups are particularly maintaining connections with a number of terrorist and militancy groups such as Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO), and Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO).

Rohingya jihadist outfit ARSA: Next ISIS or Al Qaeda?

Even two years ago, counterterrorism experts in South Asia were considering Rohingya jihadist outfit Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) as mere disorganized Muslim vigilantes, and they did not see any possible threats from it. But now, ARSA is considered as a dangerous jihadist group, which is succeeding in deepening its connections with global jihadist outfits including Islamic State (ISIS).

Back in October 2016, when ARSA attacked several border police and army posts of Myanmar at the international borders with Bangladesh, which compelled Myanmar authorities to take counter-measures. As a result, over 1.20 million Rohingyas were given shelter in Bangladesh purely on humanitarian grounds. Although Rohingyas try to portray themselves as persecuting Muslim population of Myanmar, in reality, most of them are by nature inclined towards criminal activities, while a large segment of Rohingyas are directly or indirectly connected to ARSA and other militancy groups.

According to a December 2016 report by the International Crisis Group, it is led by Ataullah abu Ammar Jununi, a Rohingya man who was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and grew up in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Other members of its leadership include a committee of Rohingya émigrés in Saudi Arabia.

Myanmar’s Anti-Terrorism Central Committee declared ARSA a terrorist group on August 25, 2017 in accordance with the country’s counter-terrorism law. ARSA is also considered a terrorist group by Malaysia.

According to the International Crisis Group (ICG) and a spokesperson for ARSA, the group was formed in 2013, following the 2012 Rakhine State riots, under the name Harakah al-Yaqin (translated as “Faith Movement” in English). A former member of ARSA described how he was recruited by the group’s leader, Ataullah abu Ammar Jununi, three years prior to the attacks in October 2016. Ataullah had approached villagers, asking for five to ten recruits to join his group and telling them that the time had come to “stop the mistreatment of the Rohingya people”. Prior to the October 2016 attacks, ARSA had merely patrolled villages armed with bamboo sticks, making sure that villagers prayed at mosques.

According to Rohingya locals and Burmese security officials, the group had again began approaching Rohingya men from various villages for recruitment six months prior to its first attack in October 2016, this time with the intention of training them across the border in Bangladesh for a future attack in Myanmar. Meanwhile, since 2017, ARSA has been taking preparations by recruiting and giving military training to its members with the agenda of launching jihadist attacks on Myanmar and turning Rakhine State into ARSA-controlled “Muslim country” for Rohingyas. Earlier, in an interview with Reuters, Ataullah Abu Ammar Jununi, commonly known simply as Ataullah, the supremo of ARSA said that their objective would be “open war” and “continued [armed] resistance” until “citizenship rights were reinstated” of Rohingyas in Myanmar.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here