Rohingya refugees still counting on Suu Kyi to save them
Mothalab escaped to Bangladesh 14 years ago and lives in the Lede makeshift camp with his family that consists of nine children.
Thousands of fleeing Rohingya are still pinning their hopes on Nobel winner and State Counsellor of Myanmar, Aung Sang Suu Kyi, for a dignified return to their homeland, a senior Rohingya leader has said.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, 67-year- old Abdul Mothalab, who is a revered figure among the Rohingya refugees in the Lede area of Cox's Bazar, said Suu Kyi is still the only hope for his suffering people. "Everyone is blaming her for her stand on the issue. But we Rohingya still trust her, and 95 per cent of our people love her," said Mothalab who claimed to be an active supporter of Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy.
"She herself is a victim of the army's atrocities. She does not have real power. It is the army that is calling the shots in Myanmar."
Mothalab escaped to Bangladesh 14 years ago and lives in the Lede makeshift camp with his family that consists of nine children. "I had to flee Myanmar because I was a Suu Kyi supporter."
Rubbishing claims by the Myanmar army that the Rohingya were terrorising Buddhists and attacking the security forces, Mothlab said his people are an economically weak and marginalised section that has no money or muscle to launch attacks against the army.
"Think about it. The army burnt down 176 Rohingya villages. Where was the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army militants (ARSA) then? If they were a strong militant group, they would have retaliated," argued Mothalab.
According to him, it is a tiny minority among he Rohingya that turned to violence after they were pushed to the wall following years of persecution and systematic discrimination by the government.
He categorically denied reports that ARSA was forcefully recruiting Rohingya men to fight against the Myanmar government.
"ARSA has no real support among the community. They are not even connected with us. An overwhelming majority of Rohingya wants to live in peace," he said.
Criticising the Myanmar government for its policy of 'ethnic cleansing', Mothalab said the army has been trying to clear the Rakhine area of Rohingya since the 1940s.
"We have suffered many waves of violence, and people fled en masse in the 1978, in 1990 and even in 2006."
"The slaughter of Rohingya and ethnic cleansing has always been the army's policy. They were doing it overtly and covertly. But what is happening now is cold blooded murder."
A farmer who was active in Myanmar politics, Mothalab said no one can wipe out the Rohingya from the face of the earth. "We will survive and keep our identity."
Thanking the Bangladesh government for their generosity in sheltering the fleeing Rohingya, Mothalab said he is counting on the United Nations and the International community to put pressure on Myanmar into accepting the Rohingya back.
"When I escaped from Myanmar 14 years ago, my hope was to return to my homeland one day. Most of these refugees still hope for the same, and want security." - firstname.lastname@example.org
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