YANGON — The leader of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), a Rohingya militant group, has thanked the Gambian government for taking Myanmar to the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) on genocide charges for the persecution of Rohingya in Rakhine State.
The Gambia filed the case on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation at the World Court last month, accusing Myanmar of genocide against Rohingya Muslims.
In the video message posted on Dec. 8, the commander-in-chief of ARSA, Ataullah abu Ammar Jununi, said: “I would like to thank the government of Gambia. It is the Gambian government which saw and understood the persecution ongoing on the Rohingya by the genocidal Burmese military and terrorist government.
“They not only understood the situation but also filed a case against them at the ICJ. I deeply show my gratitude towards them,” he said in the video, which has English subtitles.
Ataullah also thanked Rohingya activists and politicians across the globe for working day and night for the Rohingya, urging them to work for a truthful verdict.
In late 2017, ARSA launched deadly attacks on police outposts, just hours after the Myanmar government’s advisory commission on Rakhine State led by the late Kofi Annan released its final report with recommendations to address the Rakhine crisis.
Despite efforts to resolve the crisis, the situation on the ground worsened immediately after the outbreak of violence. The same group claimed previous violent attacks on border guard police in northern Rakhine State in October 2016, just a month after the Annan Commission was established.
The attacks and the subsequent military clearance operations have led to mass destruction and driven more than 700,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh and the deaths of numerous civilians, mostly Rohingya Muslims.
The ARSA leader told the Rohingya not to fall into the trap of Myanmar’s military and government and give false witness statements to the ICJ.
“Finally, I would like to remind all my brothers that Arakan is our ancestral homeland. We are all the owners of Arakan and we will have to achieve our deserved rights at any cost,” Ataullah said in the video.