Bangkok, Thailand – In early August, military officials assigned to Rakhine State by Myanmar’s military generals summoned leaders from the mainly Muslim Rohingya community in Buthidaung to a meeting on the banks of the Mayu River.

The officials came with a warning: Rohingya villagers should cut off any ties with the Arakan Army (AA), an armed rebel group fighting for self-determination for ethnic minorities in the country’s northwest.

“Currently we are participating all-together in the AA’s administration … Because the AA is acting with equality and law for all of us,” a Rohingya township administrator in Buthidaung told Al Jazeera, adding that the Rohingya have so far ignored the military’s request.

Amid concern that the political crisis triggered by the February 1 military coup could descend into civil war, and as a ceasefire in the restive northwestern state begins to falter, the country’s oppressed Rohingya minority is looking vulnerable once again.

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