Rohingya militants behind border outpost attacks have Pakistan links

Myanmar has blamed Aqa Mul Mujahideen (AMM) , a little known Rohingya Islamist group, for the recent spate of attacks on border outposts on the border with Bangladesh.

Published : 19 Oct 2016, 06:18 AM
Updated : 19 Oct 2016, 06:18 AM

Nine Myanmar policemen were killed in the attack and eight attackers were gunned down in the encounters on Oct 8.

The AMM is headed by Hafiz Tohar, a 45-year old Rohingya man , who hails from Kyauk Pyin Seik village in Maungdaw .

Myanmar intelligence says he was trained by the Pakistan Taliban for six months, after which he returned to the Rakhine state to recruit young Rohingyas who were angry with relentless Burmese persecution of the community.

In the Maungdaw attacks, nearly 300 militants were involved .

Indian intelligence which closely monitors Islamist radical groups including the Rohingyas says Tohar's group has grown out of the Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami-Arakaan (HUJI-A) .

The HUJI-A chief is Abdus Qadoos Burmi, a Pakistani national of Rohingya origin, who recruited Hafiz Tohar, 45, and arranged for his training in Pakistan.

Tohar is said to be heading the AMM now and Qadoos Burmi is reported to be close to the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba/ Jamaat ud Dawa (LeT/JuD), headed by Hafiz Sayeed. had earlier reported the LeT-JuD presence , specially that of its humanitarian front Fala- I - Insaniyat in Rohingya relief camps in Rakhine state after the 2012 riots.

Qadoos Burmi developed the HUJI-A network in Bangladesh , using the remote hills on its border with Myanmar , where coverage by Bangladesh security forces was at best limited.

After training a few promising recruits in Pakistan, they were send to set up bases on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border , where new Rohingya recruits were trained in combat techniques and use of explosives.

That was during the 2013-14 phase when Bangladesh police and security forces were busy tackling violent political unrest unleashed by opposition parties against the Awami League government.

Senior Indian intelligence officials said that in July 2012 , Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD)/ Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) started Difa-e-Musalman-e-Arakaan conference in Pakistan to highlight the Rohingya cause.

Subsequently, senior JuD operatives, Shahid Mahmood and Nadeem Awan, visited (August 2012)Bangladesh to establish direct contacts with Rohingya elements based in camps along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

Rohingya leader Chotta Burmi was killed in Indian Kashmir in fighting with troops alongside Pakistani militant leader Adil Pathan in Oct 2015.

Burmi was found sharing the dias with Lashkar e Tayyaba supremo Hafiz Sayeed in a picture earlier used by

Indian officials say Rohingya militants could be used to disturb the Myanmar-Bangladesh border zone not only by staging attacks inside Myanmar but also by forging close links with jihadi groups in both Bangladesh and India .

"They could be an useful element for Pakistan's ISI to destabilise the border regions of Myanmar, Bangladesh and India after all the three joined in attacking Pakistan's export of terror," said A.B Mathur, a  member of India's National Security Advisory Board and a former secretary (security) to the Indian government.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher