The rebel Arakan Army has rubbished a “Statement on ceasefire and lasting peace” released by Office of the Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar Army on 9 May 2020 as ‘just a sham without substance.’
“That devious statement is also a deliberate attempt, in which the Myanmar Army has used the Coronavirus pandemic to take military and political advantages and to lessen the pressure of ICJ, ” a statement of the Arakan Army sent to Easternlink said.
The statement said that while the Myanmar Army Tatmadaw asked for cooperation to enforce the preventive measures of coronavirus taken by the government of Myanmar a, it also launched intensified military offensive . “
“So this statement is just a political trick which is inconsistent , irresponsible and illogical,” the AA statement said .
The AA statement rubbished the Myanmar military’s contention that “everyone must follow peace policy of the Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar Army” .
” That explicitly shows that the Myanmar Army does not want peace in Myanmar but they are going to strengthen their military domination,” the AA statement alleged.
It said that a similar statement was released by the Myanmar Army on 21 December 2018.
” Like the old one, the current statement has also excluded Arakan region and the hidden-agenda of their statement is to launch the full-scaled war targeting and focusing only on the Arakan Army and people of Arakan.
“Due to the one-sided offensive operations and killing of civilians by the Myanmar Army, heavy clashes cannot be stopped till now but civil war conflict in Myanmar was inflamed at the worst level.
“This vicious cycle of violence continues to occur because of the abysmally wickedness of the Burmese regime and its military.
“Under such terrible circumstances, releasing a statement the same as the previous one is a repeated declaration of war that the Myanmar Army will continue their total sea-land-air joint operations against the Arakan Army in the excessive use of all light infantry divisions more than before.
“This is also a clear message that the Myanmar Army is going to commit war crimes, crimes against humanity and gross human rights violations more than ever.
“The statement of the Office of the Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar Army during the COVID-19 pandemic is therefore a political attack designed by the Myanmar Army’s divide and conquer policy to disunite the Arakan Army and Brotherhood Alliances.
“In addition, the Myanmar Army’s statement is an unreasonable political-dirty-trick that will bar other brotherhood alliance organizations not to give the Arakan Army political and military supports while launching their total sea-land-air joint operations in Arakan. Our ULA/AA will take political and military actions, as required by the circumstances, in cooperation with the brotherhood alliances.
Meanwhile, the Myanmar military has announced a nearly four-month unilateral ceasefire to allow the conflict-torn nation to fight Covid-19, but it excludes areas where the Arakan Army operates.
The military, or Tatmadaw, issued a statement on May 9 that there will be a ceasefire from May 10 to Aug. 31 with the aim of effectively and rapidly carrying out the containment, prevention and treatment of Covid-19 and restoring eternal peace.During the ceasefire period, all ethnic armed groups should strictly abide by all laws and not engage in activities that burden the people, it said.“The Tatmadaw will continuously strive for realizing its pledge to entrust eternal peace that the ethnic people long for into the hands of the people and will effectively participate in Covid-19 pandemic containment as a state cause and national cause,” said the military’s commander-in-office.The move comes after the United Nations secretary-general and Pope Francis called for a global ceasefire to fight together against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon said conflicts continue despite schools and factories being closed and people in Asia living under restrictions.“Military commanders of government and ethnic armies, as if they believe that their weapons are more powerful than this virus, continue to expose their soldiers, continuously endanger civilians and risk a conflagration of contagion among the people of their nations,” Cardinal Bo said in a letter on May 9.Myanmar has reported 180 cases of Covid-19 with six deaths and 72 recoveries, according to health officials.Rakhine, Chin excluded from truceMyanmar’s Rakhine and Chin states, where the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army have been locked in intense fighting, are excluded from the truce.On March 23, the government designated the Arakan Army a terrorist organization while another group — the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army — is also classified as a terrorist group whose attacks in August 2017 prompted the military’s brutal crackdown against the Rohingya.Rakhine was also excluded from the nine-month unilateral ceasefire imposed by the Tatmadaw in 2018.The Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army have been locked in an intensifying fight since December 2018 that has led to scores of civilian fatalities and more than 157,000 people being displaced in Rakhine and Chin states.The Arakan Army is a largely Buddhist militia fighting for greater autonomy for indigenous Rakhine in the state. The guerrilla outfit was established in 2009 to protect ethnic Rakhine and is estimated to have several thousand well-equipped soldiers.Rakhine also has a separate conflict that has seen more than 700,000 Rohingya flee to Bangladesh since August 2017 due to military offensives.Myanmar has been under pressure from rights groups over atrocities against Rohingya in Rakhine, which the United Nations claims “amounts to genocide.”Outgoing UN rights expert Yanghee Lee recently said Myanmar’s military is committing new war crimes against ethnic minorities, “emboldened by special extended powers intended to help control the spread of Covid-19.”This month Myanmar is due to report back to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to present the measures it is taking to protect the ethnic minority.Gambia filed genocide charges against Myanmar at the ICJ and Suu Kyi, who has a power-sharing deal with the military, went to The Hague last December to defend her country’s reputation.