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Ataullah abu Ammar Jununi
Place of birth Karachi, Pakistan
Allegiance Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA)
Years of service 9 October 2016 (2016-10-09) – present

Internal conflict in Myanmar


Ataullah abu Ammar Jununi,[1][2] commonly known simply as Ataullah or Ata Ullah, is the leader of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), a Rohingya insurgent group active in northern Rakhine State.[3] Ataullah appears in several videos released online by ARSA, where he gives press statements and speeches.[4]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Ataullah was born in Karachi, Pakistan to a migrant family, who had fled the religious persecution in his native Rakhine State in Myanmar (also known as Arakan, Burma) sometime in the 1960s.[5] At an early age, Ataullah's family moved to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, where he was enrolled in an Islamic school.[3] In his later years in Mecca, Ataullah served as an imam to the Rohingya diaspora community of around 150,000.[6]

Insurgency[edit | edit source]

The International Crisis Group (ICG) said in a report that it interviewed members of his group. The think-tank said that the leader of the group has close links with Saudi Arabia.[7] The ICG report released in December 2016 states that he left Saudi Arabia in 2012, shortly after religiously motivated violence erupted in Rakhine State. A Myanmar government press release claims Ataullah spent six months training in modern guerrilla warfare under the Taliban in Pakistan. The ICG report stated that though not confirmed, there are indications he went to Pakistan, and possibly elsewhere, and that he received practical training in modern guerrilla warfare. Several members of the group also stated to ICG that he may have received additional training in Libya before his return to Rakhine State, but this remains unconfirmed.[3]

On 9 October 2016, Ataullah led hundreds of insurgents to the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, where they attacked Burmese border police posts.[8] A week later, Ataullah appeared in a video online, claiming responsibility for the attacks.[3][4]

Ataullah led a second large-scale attack on 25 August 2017, which resulted in the deaths of 71 people.[9][10][11]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. McPherson, Poppy (2 September 2017). "'We die or they die': Rohingya insurgency sparks fresh violence in Myanmar". The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/03/we-die-or-they-die-rohingya-insurgency-sparks-fresh-violence-in-myanmar. Retrieved 4 September 2017. 
  2. "Who Are the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army?" (in en). Radio Free Asia. http://www.rfa.org/english/commentaries/arsa-commentary-09012017155658.html. Retrieved 4 September 2017. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Millar, Paul (16 February 2017). "Sizing up the shadowy leader of the Rakhine State insurgency". Southeast Asia Globe Magazine. http://sea-globe.com/rakhine-state-insurgency-ata-ullah/. Retrieved 24 February 2017. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 McPherson, Poppy (17 November 2016). "‘It will blow up’: fears Myanmar's deadly crackdown on Muslims will spiral out of control". The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/18/myanmar-deadly-crackdown-muslims-rohingya. Retrieved 11 December 2016. 
  5. Sakhawat, Adil (20 October 2017). "Who is Ata Ullah – the man at the heart of the Myanmar conflict?". Dhaka Tribune. http://www.dhakatribune.com/world/south-asia/2017/10/20/ata-ullah-man-heart-myanmar-conflict/. 
  6. "Birth of an ethnic insurgency in Myanmar" (in en-US). http://www.atimes.com/article/birth-ethnic-insurgency-myanmar/. 
  7. J, Jacob (15 December 2016). "Rohingya militants in Rakhine have Saudi, Pakistan links, think tank says". https://sg.news.yahoo.com/rohingya-militants-rakhine-saudi-pakistan-135712056.html. 
  8. "Rakhine unrest leaves four Myanmar soldiers dead". BBC News. 12 October 2016. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37627498. Retrieved 13 October 2016. 
  9. "Myanmar tensions: Dozens dead in Rakhine militant attack". BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-41046729. Retrieved 25 August 2017. 
  10. Htusan, Esther (25 August 2017). "Myanmar: 71 die in militant attacks on police, border posts". AP News. https://apnews.com/37103be49dd249af8f2e7297b599fb41/Myanmar:-25-dead-in-militant-attacks-on-police,-border-posts. Retrieved 25 August 2017. 
  11. Lone, Wa; Slodkowski, Antoni (24 August 2017). "At least 12 dead in Muslim insurgent attacks in northwest Myanmar". Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-rohingya-idUSKCN1B507K?il=0. Retrieved 25 August 2017. 

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