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Myanmar crisis: Rohingya militants say unilateral truce to end on October 9


The arrival of more than half a million Rohingya Muslims from Buddhist-dominated Myanmar since August 25 has put an enormous strain on camps in Bangladesh where there are growing fears of a disease epidemic.

But a post on the page of the office of army chief Min Aung Hlaing said blazes at seven houses in a Rohingya village early Wednesday were started by an "Einu" or a militant from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).

"If at any stage the Burmese government is inclined to peace, then Arsa will welcome that inclination and reciprocate". This week Bangladesh reported 4-5,000 civilians crossing the border each day after a brief lull in arrivals, with 10,000 more waiting at a frontier area.

Swamped by refugees, poor Bangladeshi villagers are faced with mounting hardships and worries, including the trafficking of illegal drugs, particularly methamphetamines, from Myanmar.

Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali had told the press in Dhaka Monday that a meeting with U Kyaw Tint Swe, Myanmar's union minister for the office of the state counsellor, was cordial and they agreed to form a joint panel to oversee the repatriation of th4e Rohingya Muslims who fled violence in Rakhine state to Bangladesh in the recent weeks.

The Rohingya muslims are one of the minorities of Burma, a majority buddhist.

However, Robert Watkins, the United Nations resident co-ordinator in Dhaka, said overcrowding could heighten the spread of disease, which is already a problem among the refugee population.

In the squalid refugee settlements sprouting up in Bangladesh, alleged Arsa recruiters say they have enlisted hundreds who are willing to go back to Myanmar to fight.

"When you concentrate too many people into a very small area, particularly the people who are very vulnerable to diseases, it is unsafe", Mr Watkins said. Rights groups say the real death toll is likely to be much higher, especially among the Rohingya, while the United Nations has labelled army operations as "ethnic cleansing" against the Muslim group.

Bloody riots in 2012 forced over 100,000 Rohingya to flee to refugee camps in southeast Bangladesh, where many still live.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says the proposed camp will be the world's largest and much more extensive than Bidi Bidi in Uganda and Dadaab in Kenya, both of them home to around 300,000 refugees.

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