COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh – Rohingya insurgents, whose attack on Myanmar security forces last month triggered savage military reprisals, declared a monthlong truce Sunday as refugees continued to flood across the border into Bangladesh only to face scant basic resources, hunger and illness.
The ragtag band of Muslim insurgents calling itself the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army issued the truce statement on its Twitter account and urged Myanmar's government to reciprocate in order to assist all victims regardless of their background. The government did not comment immediately.
The rebels, who say they're fighting to protect their minority members against government-sponsored persecution, launched their first known attacks last October and again on Aug. 25. According to Rohingya refugees, the military responded with indiscriminate killings, burning entire villages and forcing tens of thousands to flee. The government said most of the 400 dead were "terrorists."
The U.N. said Saturday that an estimated 290,000 Rohingya Muslims have arrived in the border district of Cox's Bazar in just the past two weeks, joining at least 100,000 who were already there after fleeing earlier riots or persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. Thousands continue to cross the border each day.
Myanmar's military has been accused of planting land mines in the path of the refugees, with Amnesty International reporting two people wounded Sunday.
AP reporters in Bangladesh on Monday saw an elderly woman with devastating leg wounds: one leg with the calf apparently blown off and the other also badly injured. Relatives said she had stepped on a land mine.
Myanmar has one of the few militaries, along with North Korea and Syria, that has openly used anti-personnel land mines in recent years, according to Amnesty. An international treaty in 1997 outlawed the use of the weapons.