Myanmar's armed Rohingya militants deny terrorist links

An armed militant group fighting Myanmar's government on behalf of the country's Muslim Rohingya minority has issued a statement asserting its right to self-defense and denying links to any terrorist group.

The statement, released Tuesday through overseas sympathizers, is the first public announcement issued in the name of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, which previously called itself the Faith Movement, or Harakah al-Yaqin. Analysts including the Brussel-based International Crisis Group say it is carrying out armed resistance.

The Rohingya face severe discrimination in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, where most are denied citizenship. In October last year, armed men killed nine Myanmar border guards, triggering a savage counterinsurgency sweep by the army in the Rohingya area of the western state of Rakhine.

The statement issued 20 demands to the government for Rohingya rights.