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Mastermind behind Myanmar attacks is 'Taliban trained'

Terrorist acts intended to promote extremist violent ideology among majority Muslim population in area

October 17, 2016

An extremist Islamic terrorist organization whose leader was trained by the Taliban in Pakistan is behind the recent attacks in Myanmar's restive west said the country's government Oct. 14, reports RFA.

The government said that it acquired the information after interrogating four militants who were caught following attacks on border guard posts near Rakhine State's Maungdaw and Rathedaung townships. Nine police were reported killed in the attacks, say media reports.

"According to the findings of the interrogations, the attacks in Maungdaw were intended to promote extremist violent ideology among the majority Muslim population in the area," said a government statement reported RFA.

"Using Maungdaw as a foothold, this was an attempt to take over the areas of Maungdaw and [nearby] Buthidaung [township]."

The terrorist group's leader Havistoohar is a "religious and social extremist" who is believed to be in his 40s from a village in Maungdaw. The statement said that Havistoohar participated in a six-month Taliban training course in Pakistan.

Since the initial attacks over 40 people have been killed in related violence, said RFA. Other reports site concerns that the military are conducting reprisal raids against Rohingya Muslims.

Impoverished Rakhine State is home to 1.1 million stateless Rohingyas who Myanmar's majority Buddhists refer to as "Bengali" implying that they are illegal migrants from neighboring Bangladesh.

The Rohingya people have been denied citizenship, freedom of movement, health care and education since 2012 violence erupted between them and the Rakhine Buddhists that left scores dead.

More than 120,000 Rohingya still remain in squalid camps in apartheid-like conditions.

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