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Some Background of Atta Ullah - Harakah al Yaqin / ARSA

by Rick Heizman, December 6, 2018, Washington D.C.

There are many names he goes by: Abu Amar Jununi, Hafis Tohar, Havistoohar, Amir Abu
Amor, Hafez Atta Ullah, or simply Atta Ullah - the last one being his Pakistani passport
identity. From here on, I will use the passport name: Atta Ullah.

Whether or not Atta Ullah is still commander of ARSA (Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army) is not totally
clear. Since the huge attacks on August 25, 2017, he has not been seen on video, and barely heard
from. In an ARSA released video, in October 2017, he gives a message to the Bengali Muslims, by
voice, over photos of him, but not video of him. The message names 2 people; Maulana Abul Kalam
Haidari from Saudi Arabia, and Maulana Noman from Malaysia. (Maulana / Mawlana = an Islamic
scholar or teacher higher than that of Mawlawi / Maulabi / Maulvi) Atta Ullah addresses all
‘Rohingya’ (Bengali Muslims) and says, “Now you must follow them.” He continued, “How can I
guide you? I do not know the way. Now we have agreed and qualified these two people to guide you.
Wherever they are, you must follow them. They are sanctified by the Authority.” (The ‘Authority’ is
probably that of Allah, or that of the Rohingya Council in Saudi Arabia - which had quite split
opinions of Atta Ullah.)

On the video, his voice is weak, he doesn’t sound inspirational, nor commanding - as he had very
much been. The rumors that he was badly wounded in September 2017 may be true. He may now
be considered a reckless failure, and may have lost all respect and admiration - it is common in Arab
culture - for a loser. It seems that he himself handed the leadership power over - or, that he was
forced, in a power struggle, to hand over the leadership power.

Prior to the attacks of August 25, 2017, Atta Ullah was the charismatic leader, on the ground, of the
Bengali Muslims (self-identified as ‘Rohingya’ - a political construct to fool the world with a false
identity wrapped in a false history). He was born in Karachi, Pakistan to a father who was a Bengali
Muslim from the area of Bangladesh and Rakhine State, Myanmar, and to a mother of Pakistani
origin. His father’s name is Gulam Shorif and he was Imam in a mosque in Saudi Arabia. Atta Ullah
was raised in the madrassas and mosques of Saudi Arabia.

The Muslim Robin Hood - stealing from the rich, to give to and manipulate the poor:
Around 2010, Atta Ullah became involved in a financial scheme, convincing ultra-religious Muslims,
in his sphere of influence, that they could buy plots of land near Islamabad airport (Islamabad is the
capital of Pakistan) and profit greatly from it. The prices were between 18,000 and 23,000 Saudi
Riyal [$4800-6100 US] depending on location. There was a company namely Al Fairuz. The
marketing was handled by Atta Ullah, and his father, Gulam Shorif. Many Mullahs and Hafezs
(Islamic Clerics) from Mecca deposited 750 Riyal [$200 US] once a month, or once every two or
three months. After 2 and half years, he told the investors that the time had come to change the
names on the deeds of the plots of land and land would be in their names. Then, he disappeared.
When a cleric did inquire about whether the deeds were changed or not, and did the investors
actually have title or not to the parcels of land, they got the news that Atta Ullah was training an
armed militant group in Malaysia and another armed group in Pakistan. When Atta Ullah travelled
from Malaysia back to Saudi Arabia, some of the investors asked about the plots of land. He said he
would call all of the investors and explain the situation later. After a few weeks, where he did not call
any of the investors, Atta Ullah was asked about the situation again. He said he was very busy with
some important work and would inform everyone later on. Nobody ever saw the land in Pakistan
which was supposedly sold to the Muslims Rohingya Clerics in Saudi Arabia. The land parcels were

seemingly sold to 200 to 300 Mullahs and Hafezs, but nobody got the lands. Some people deposited
18,000 Saudi Riyal, some people deposited 30,000 Saudi Riyal and some people deposited up to
100,000 Saudi Riyal [$26,660 US]. Atta Ullah had deceived over 300 people, being a Muslim Robin
Hood - stealing from the rich, to give to and manipulate the poor.

In Thailand, attempted assassination:

Ata Ullah is known to have come to Thailand three times, where he met Rohingya Society members,
especially Muhamed Anwar, Hafez Abdu Harlek, Hafez Nur Mohammed and others. He tried to kill
Mullah Musa in Bangkok in August 2015, but did not succeed. From the two men who were
arrested, a UNHCR ID in the name Yousuf bin Yaqoob was found. It may be Atta Ullah - registered at
UNHCR in Malaysia. That man fled to Kunming, China from Bangkok airport and later on went to
Malaysia. He mentioned in a voice message that he would go to Malaysia from Kunming, China.

In Myanmar:
Atta Ullah got a visa from Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok on November 28, 2013, and went to
Yangon in early 2014 using his Pakistani passport. His official name in passport is Atta Ullah. He
used the name Abu Amar Jununi for the works of the Mujahidin movement - which later took on the
names - Harakan al Yakin, which then turned into Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).

In Southern Thailand:
He was taken to Southern Thailand by Hafez Abdu Harlek from Bangkok and made plans for the
Mujahid movement in Southern Thailand and Kelantan State of Malaysia. He may have gone to the
Philippines, as well. He gave instructions for the movement of Rohingya Mujahideen in Southern
Thailand. He travelled from Saudi Arabia to Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and China.

Bengali Muslim ‘Rohingya’ Mujahid:

They had planned to unite all small groups under one umbrella - such as Harakan al Yakin / ARSA -
and to plan and execute coordinated attacks from different sides of Myanmar as follows:

•  The group led by ground commander Atta Ullah was to stack from the north of Maungdaw 

• The group led by Noso Ullah was to attack from the south

• The group led by Anwar (Rohingya Society in Thailand) was to attack from the Thai-Myanmar
border - which is the opposite side of Myanmar - but it would cause the army to have to send
many troops there - far away

• RSO (Rohingya Solidarity Organization) was to block the Myanmar military from getting more
forces into Maungdaw quickly - by severing access and blowing up bridges on the single road
over the Mayu Mountains separating Buthidaung and Maungdaw

There are many members and supporters of Mujahideens around the world. ARSA may have at least
3,000 trained people inside and outside - aside from the tens of thousands of villager supporters and
participants. The trained members stay in secret jungle camps near the Myanmar / Bangladesh
border. Some stay in other countries nearby - Thailand, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and some are in
the western countries, where they can become familiar with western languages, education and
opportunities, as well as western naivety, political correctness, and multiculturalism.

The RSO (Rohingya Solidarity Organization) is different from ARSA. It has a few hundred trained
militants - fewer numbers but much more extensive training.

Behind the Scenes of the October 9, 2016 Attacks -

Much Larger Attack Plans Were Thwarted:

Two Saudi Arabia-based senior leaders of Harakah al Yaqin (HaY) spent the month of August, 2016,
in northern Rakhine State, selecting targets for a much larger coordinated attack and determining
how and when the attacks would take place. Once they left, the intention was to obtain weapons
and ammunition for the hundreds of trainees. Plans were also made to deploy at least four
experienced doctors with medicines and supplies and to train locals as medics to assist them. From
late August, 2016, there was an increase in the killing of known informers within the Rohingya
community, in an attempt to keep the plans secret.

The claimed objective of the upcoming operation was to take complete control of Maungdaw
township, cut off communications with Buthidaung to the east and establish military posts on the
ridges of the Mayu range between Maungdaw and Buthidaung, creating a defendable liberated area.
After this, the intent was to attack the northern part of Buthidaung – a very ambitious plan that would
give them complete control of the Bangladesh border – as well as control of parts of Rathedaung.

In early September, 2016, after the two senior leaders left, two informers in U Shey Kya village-tract,
close to Nga Khu Ya where one of the 9 October attacks occurred, revealed the identities of eight
local HaY members to the BGP (Border Guard Police), which arrested them on September 12. They
were interrogated and finally divulged shocking and frightening information about the secret plan.
HaY managed to bribe their members out of jail, learned who the informers were, and on September
30 killed the two informants. The Burmese and Rakhine authorities subsequently began large
payments to informers in north Maungdaw to draw up lists of villagers in their area involved with
terrorist and separatist groups, which prompted many to flee into Bangladesh.

Additionally, local people say, an IED that accidentally exploded in Ngar Sar Kyu village-tract around
October 7, while it was being prepared, drew the attention of the security forces. According to
members of the group, HaY saw that the net was closing and decided that though its preparations
were not yet complete for the larger attack plan, it had to make an emergency plan and launch a
smaller operation on October 9 - ahead of schedule.

Though done hastily, the attacks showed some sophistication, including diversionary tactics;
blocking reinforcements with a complex attack (IEDs plus armed assault) on a convoy some distance
away; and felling of trees across roads to halt military vehicles. It is unclear where the explosives
came from, but a foreign expert described the IEDs as crude but not completely amateurish.

The group was able to organize widely, pay numerous potential informers in northern Rakhine State
prior to the attacks to keep them quiet, and large bribes to the security forces to free detained

RSO - Tried to Make ARSA Fail?:

When Ata Ullah led Harakah al Yakin to attack security posts in Maungdaw on October 9, 2016, the
RSO (Rohingya Solidarity Organization) failed to to even attack the road over the Mayu Mountains.
Perhaps that was deliberate, as the RSO had lost many militants who had suddenly left the militant
group to join the swelling popularity of Harakah al Yakin. There are many, from insiders to outsiders,
who believe the RSO didn’t participate so that ARSA would fail and suffer - and lose popularity.

Noso Ullah’s group also failed to do attack from the south in Southern Maungdaw. His group has
less than one hundred trained people ready for the premature attack plan.

Also, the Rohingya Society in Thailand also failed to launch any attacks near the Thai-Myanmar

They blamed each other, as the group led by Ata Ullah did not succeed as Myanmar security forces
came over the Mayu Mountains from Buthidaung, with no resistance at all. They began splitting into
smaller groups because of loyalty and power issues. One smaller group, the Arakan Rohingya Army
was formed under the leadership of Islamic religious cleric Kabir, who also led Rohingya Jamiutul
Ulama based in Saudi Arabia.

They killed some government interpreters and informants (or suspected informants), as well as
Hindus, Buddhists, and tribal ethnicities in Northern Rakhine State.

Leading up to the August 25, 2017 massive simultaneous attacks:

On March 29, 2017, the group released a press statement using the new name of ‘Arakan Rohingya
Salvation Army’ (ARSA), perhaps a savvy move to have an English name, and therefore minimize the
Arab and Islamist connection, and to use the term ‘Arakan’ to strengthen the propaganda that the
Bengali ‘Rohingya’ Muslims are indigenous to the land of Arakan. Among themselves, the Arabic
name, Harakah al Yakin is used and preferred.

At first, all the armed groups were unified in one large contingent. Harakan al Yakin is like an
umbrella organization under which there are small groups. When Harakah al Yakin launched the
October 9, 2016 multiple attacks, Atta Ullah - as commander-in-chief in northern Arakan - directed
the attacks under the supreme command of the leaders in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. However,
there were divisions and power struggles among the various leaders.

Dr. Yunus, Nurul Islam, Dr. Wakar Uddin and some others were angry, argumentative, and divisive -
not in the planning, training and carrying out a war - that if went according to their planned goals
would annihilate every non-Muslim - but in power and leadership struggles. That is why Mr. Aryub of
RSO did not support Harakah Al Yakin. Noso Ullah Arakani, Islami Mahar, Jaisal Hor, and the RSO
had many issues with Atta Ullah, who was mesmerizingly popular among the Bengali Muslims
(Rohingya) of northern Arakan, but among the leaders and the committee of elders opinion of him
was divided.

by Rick Heizman, December 6, 2018, Washington D.C.

Photos and Videos of Arakan at: - go to Conflict videos

Photos and Videos of all of Myanmar at:

Papers at