Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army says it's "determined to stop tyranny and oppression" but would welcome any peace offer from Myanmar. Meanwhile, a Bangladeshi group has urged Dhaka to arm Rohingya Muslims.
Muslim Rohingya rebels on Saturday said that they were ready to respond to any peace move by the Myanmar government but a one-month ceasefire they declared to enable the delivery of aid in violence-racked Rakhine State is about to end.
The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) did not say what action it would take after the ceasefire ends at midnight on Monday, but it was "determined to stop the tyranny and oppression" waged against the Rohingya people.
"If at any stage, the Burmese government is inclined to peace, then ARSA will welcome that inclination and reciprocate," the group said in a statement, using the former name for Myanmar.
Myanmar government spokesmen were not immediately available for comment.
When the ARSA announced its one-month ceasefire from September 10, a government spokesman said: "We have no policy to negotiate with terrorists."
The rebels launched coordinated attacks on about 30 security posts and an army camp on August 25 with the help of hundreds of disaffected Rohingya villagers, many wielding sticks or machetes, killing about a dozen people.
In response, the military unleashed a sweeping offensive across the north of Rakhine State, driving 515,000 Rohingya villagers into Bangladesh in what the UN branded a textbook example of "ethnic cleansing".
Myanmar rejects the UN remark.
#ARSA is also willing to discuss further ceasefires & cessations of offensive military operations for the purposes of humanitarian access.— ARSA_The Army (@ARSA_Official) October 6, 2017
ARSA repeats its demands
The ability of the ARSA, which only surfaced in October last year, to mount any sort of challenge to the Myanmar army is not known but it does not appear to have been able to put up resistance to the military offensive unleashed in August.
Inevitably, there are doubts about how the rebels can operate in areas where the military has driven out the civilian population, cutting the rebels off from recruits, food, funds and information.
The ARSA denies links to foreign groups.
The group says it is fighting for the rights of the Rohingya, who have never been regarded as an indigenous minority in Myanmar and so have been denied citizenship under a law that links nationality to ethnicity.
The group repeated their demand that Rohingya be recognised as a "native indigenous" ethnic group, adding that all Rohingya people should be allowed "to return home safely with dignity ... to freely determine their political status and pursue their economic, social and cultural development".
Thousands of Rohingya Muslims crosssed this river, fleeing Burma's death squads today. pic.twitter.com/W1Z9TEeMVd— CJ Werleman (@cjwerleman) October 5, 2017
Bangladesh party calls for arming Rohingya
Thousands of protesters marched in Bangladesh's port city of Chittagong Friday calling for the government to arm Rohingya Muslim refugees fleeing a crackdown in Myanmar's troubled Rakhine state.
Up to 15,000 people joined the demonstrations in Bangladesh's second largest city, police said, organised by Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam to protest against the killings of the Rohingya.
"We demanded a halt to the genocide of the Rohingya," Hefazat spokesman Azizul Hoque Islamabad said.
"We have also asked the government to train and arm the Rohingya so that they can liberate their homeland," he said.
Communities in Chittagong share close cultural, religious and linguistic ties with the Rohingya, and their persecution has aroused strong sympathy in Bangladesh.