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2002-10-10 05:01:00
Embassy Rangoon
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 RANGOON 001310 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/07/2012


1. (C) Summary: Under pressure from Bangladesh, the Arakan
Rohingya National Organization (ARNO) contacted the Karenni
National Progressive Party in late August 2002 regarding the
possibility of relocating its bases to KNPP-controlled
territory on the border between Thailand and Burma. According
to a report prepared by Burmese military intelligence, ARNO
also sought membership in the Democratic Alliance of Burma, a
loose confederation of Burmese insurgent groups now operating
on the Thai/Burmese border. KNPP reportedly refused ARNO's
request. The DAB also rejected ARNO's application for
membership, but has forged a "military alliance" with ARNO,
according to the paper. The Burmese also report that ARNO's
Chairman Nurul Islam, has received a U.S. visa and is en
route to the United States via Saudi Arabia. The facts in
the Burmese paper appear plausible. Its purpose is probably
to draw a connection between Al Qaeda, which has supported
ARNO, and Burmese insurgent groups active on the Thai border.
End Summary.

2. (C) The following are edited excerpts from a Burmese
military intelligence report on the Arakan Rohingya National
Organization. It was given to us on October 7 by Brigadier
General Kyaw Thein, ostensibly to clarify recent news reports
alleging connections between Al Qaeda and ARNO forces based
in Burma. According to Kyaw Thein, there are links between
ARNO and Al Qaeda, but all of ARNO's bases are in southeast

3. (C) Begin text:

Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO) -- Its
Historical Background & Latest Situation (Sept, 2002)

Historical Background

Muslim Terrorist-Insurrection groups such as the Rohingya
Solidarity Organization (RSO), Arakan Rohingya Islamic Front
(ARIF) and Hak Kavt group combined and established the
Rohingya National Council (RNC) on 28 October, 1998. The RNC
was then reorganized as the Arakan Rohingya National Council
(ARNC). The Rohingya Liberation Army (RLA) was also formed
by combining all the armed insurgents of the groups. The
Arakan Rohingya National Organization was formed to organize
all the different Rohingya insurgents into one group under
pressure from Muslim groups outside Burma.

Organization of ARNO

The headquarters of ARNO was opened at No. (30 Ju-ma-khar
street, Ju-ma-khar ward, Chittagong in Bangladesh. Their
camps are based at Zai-Lar-Saw-Ri HQ camp--map reference
(PG-2916), Daw-Maw-Sri camp--map reference (P6-0537) and
Kyar-Laung-Taik camp--map reference (PG-2026). ARNO group
had an estimated strength of about 200 insurgents, of whom
about 170 are equipped with a variety of arms. A Central
Committee of ARNO is organized as follows:

(a) Chairman
(b) Military Commander
(c) Secretary
(d) Asst Secretary (Chittagong Office-in-Charge)
(e) Central Committee Member (Asst Military-in-Charge)
(f) do
(g) Central Committee Member
(h) do
(i) do
(j) Foreign Liaison-in-Charge
(k) Foreign Fund Raiser
(l) Representative for Malaysia
(m) Cox's Bazaar District Organizer
(n) Finance Officer
(o) Liaison Officer
(p) Advisor
(q) Camp Commander (Zai-La-Saw-Ri Camp)
(r) Deputy Camp Commander
(s) Camp Commander (Daw-Maw-Sri Camp)
(t) Camp Commander (Kya-Long-Taik Camp)

Meeting of Five Members of ARNO with Taliban leader Osama Bin

Five members (names still under inquiry by the GOB) of ARNO
attended a high-ranking officers' course with Al Qaeda
representatives on 15 May, 2000 and arrived back in
Bangladesh on 22 June. During the course, they discussed
matters relating to political and military affairs, arms and
ammunition, and financing with Osama Bin Laden. Mohamed Arju
Taida and Mohamed Rau-Sheik Ar-Mar Darsi from the Taliban
were present with them at the meeting. Ninety members of
ARNO were selected to attend a guerrilla warfare course, a
variety of explosives courses and heavy-weapons courses held
in Libya and Afghanistan in August, 2001. Thirteen out of
these selected members participated in the explosives and
heavy-weapons training.

Arrival of Two Taliban at ARNO Headquarters

Al Ha-Saud and Al Ja-hid, two members of Taliban group,
arrived at ARNO's headquarters in Zai-La-Saw-Ri Camp on 2
November, 2001 from the Rohingya Solidarity Organization's
(RSO) Kann-Grat-Chaung camp. They met with Nur Islam
(Chairman), ZaFaur-Ahmed (Secretary) and Fayos Ahmed (acting
Chief-of-Staff Army), ARNO, and discussed the reorganization
of RSO and ARNO. It was learned that ARNO/RSO and Taliban
groups planned to hold a meeting on 15 November, 2001. Nur
Islam, Chairman of ARNO, also declared that the Arakan
Rohingya Islamic Front (ARIF) and the Rohingya Solidarity
Organization (RSO) had agreed to reorganize as integrated
members of ARNO. However, Mullah Dil-Mar from RSO did not
agree with this re-organization and resigned with his
entourage of insurgents.

Foreign Correspondents Arrived at ARNO Headquarters

Ban-Draban correspondent from Bangladesh, Ha-Saud-Ahmed and
two foreign correspondents (still under inquiry by GOB) went
to ARNO's headquarters at the Zai-La-Saw-Ri Camp and met with
the acting Camp Commander who was Chief-of-Staff Army Salein.
They inquired about the following data.

(a) Day, Month and Year of establishment of ARNO
(b) Attitude and objective.
(c) The year the ARNO had departed from Myanmar.
(d) Present strength of forces and fighters.
(e) Types of Arms and Quantity.
(f) Is it to build Rakhine as a separate and an independent
(State/Nation) or to ask for Democracy?
(g) List of Anti-Myanmar groups in Bangladesh.
(h) Muslim organizations and Non-Muslim organizations in
Bangladesh to be separately identified.
(i) Necessary funding and funding countries.
(j) The present financial situation.

Vice Chairman of ARNO Fayos Ahmed's Meeting with Insurgent
Leaders based and active in Thailand

Fayos Ahmed, Vice-Chairman of ARNO, along with U Maung Lu Gyi
from NUPA (National Unity Party of Arakan), arrived in
Bangkok from Bangladesh on 27 August, 2002 and proceeded to
Chiang Mai. Then, through the Burma Border Consortium,
including the help of an English woman named Mrs. Pippa
Curwen, wife of DAB Aye Saung, they talked with the leaders
of KNPP (Karenni National Progress Party) -- Aung Than Lay
(Vice Chairman), Raymond Htoo (General Secretary), U Khu-Ral
(joint General Secretary) and Aung Myat (Chief of Staff -
Army). Fayos Ahmed said that ARNO had been told to leave
Bangladesh by the Bangladesh authorities and that it was
difficult for them to continue in Bangladesh. He also
mentioned that the USA and other various organizations were
continuously watching them on account of assumed contacts
with the Al-Qaeda group. So he asked for a camp to be opened
in a suitable place in the area of KNPP, in as much as
Thailand was the most suitable country for them.

Then Fayos Ahmed met with Mai-Aik-Hpone, Secretary of
Pa-Laung State Liberation Front (PSLF), Khun-Okkar, Chairman
of Pa-O People Liberation Organization (PPLO) and Aye Maung
from the Lahu national group. In addition, he discussed the
ARNO's critical situation with Chiang Mai-based VOA, BBC and
RFA news media, NGOs in Thailand and Shwe-Kharr of the Chin
National Front (CNF). He proceeded from Chiang Mai to Mae
Sod on 5 September and talked with Bo Mya (Vice-Chairman),
Pado Man-Sha (General Secretary) and Tar-Ma-La-Baw at KNU

Fayos Ahmed discussed with KNU the above mentioned matters
and the possibility of ARNO's becoming a member of DAB.
Application for a membership in DAB by ARNO was not granted
on the objection of Aung Sein Tha from Democratic Party of
Arakan (DPA) and Khaing Soe Aung from Arakan Liberation Party
(ALP). Both Khaing Soe Aung and Aung Sein Tha bitterly
rejected the proposal on the grounds that the Rohingya were
not indigenous to Rakhine State and that they could not
accept them at all as ethnic people. Though DAB has not
granted the membership to ARNO, it has made a military
alliance with ARNO.

According to Fayos Ahmed, ARNO Military-in-Charge, Salem
Ulah, had contacts with Al-Qaeda and some members of ARNO
forces were arrested when they were sent to join the Taliban
in Afghanistan and attacked the Americans. These ARNO forces
were sent to Afghanistan along with Rohingya groups in
Karachi, Pakistan. Rohingya groups are in many countries like
Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, UAE, Palestine and
Australia. Chairman Nurul Islam has received an American
visa and departed for Saudi Arabia from Bangladesh, with an
intent to reside in Saudi Arabia for a short period and then
depart for the United States. Fayos Ahmed, during his short
stay in Thailand, met with Dr. Allen from NCGUB Foreign
Affairs Department, David Htaw from KNU and David Smile from
Burma Lawyer Council (BLC). He went to Thailand as an editor
of a news media and returned to Bangladesh on 12 September.

Investigation of Members of Rohingya Jihad Caught in Singapore

Hanbali and Baasyia are leaders of Jemaah Islamiyah
(JI)-organized Rabitatul Mujahideen group which was involved
in the whole region as a Muslim organization. Through
contacts with Muslim groups in the region, active cooperation
was achieved in matters of training, weapons-buying,
financing, exchange of information and terrorist military
operations. The other organizations which cooperated were
Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM), two organizations in Southern
Thailand and Rakhine and Rohingya terrorist-insurgents in
Myanmar. ARNO has established a contact with Al-Qaeda and
five Central Committee members of ARNO paid a visit to
Afghanistan in April, 2001. Besides, ARNO has also
cooperated with Republic of Islam Aceh (RIA) and Egyptian
Jammah Jihad Mesir (JJM). It is believed that there exists a
small community of Rohingya's in Patuwat, Malaysia.

End text.


4. (C) The Burmese report has enough specificity to make it
generally plausible. The Government of Bangladesh advised
ARNO in May that it had to clear out of its bases in
southeastern Bangladesh and, shortly thereafter, 195 members
of the Arakan Army turned themselves in to the Burmese. As
yet, ARNO has not moved from Bangladesh. According to the
Burmese, ARNO and RSO together still maintain eight bases in
Bangladesh. If the Burmese report is correct, however, they
are looking for a new base of operations.

5. (C) The Burmese view all these groups as terrorists.
Their purpose in giving us this report is to make sure we are
aware of the alleged contacts between ARNO and the Burmese
insurgent groups on the Thai border. Presumably, they hope
to bolster relations with the United States by getting credit
for cooperation on the CT front. End Summary.