AA Claim Seizure of Myanmar Battalion Commander After Heavy Fighting

By Min Aung Khine 11 March 2020

Sittwe, Rakhine State — The Arakan Army (AA) said on Tuesday that it arrested 20 Myanmar soldiers, including a battalion commander, in fighting near the village of Mont Than Pyin to the east of Kaladan River on the border of Kyauktaw and Paletwa townships.

The AA said it had a fierce clash with the Light Infantry Battalion 7 based in Phayagyi, Bago Region, which came to reinforce the Meewa hilltop outpost in Chin State’s Paletwa Township on Tuesday. The armed group arrested 20 troops, including Lieutenant-Colonel Thet Naing Oo, the battalion commander.

“We had a fierce clash with them through yesterday morning. We arrested 20 troops, including commander Thet Naing Oo, other officers, corporals and privates,” AA information officer Khaing Thukha told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday.

He said the AA would detain the military personnel in line with international law.

Khaing Thukha said the AA also found more than 20 dead Myanmar soldiers along with arms and ammunition.

According to Mont Than Pyin and Pyaing Tine villagers, there were casualties as artillery shells landed on their villages during the fighting.

A 30-year-old, who fled Mont Than Pyin, was killed and her child was injured when shells hit Kyaw Shi Pyin village to the west of Kaladan River on Tuesday evening, according to Mont Than Pyin administrator U Kyaw Sein.

Aung Tharyar villagers said a woman was killed and seven others were injured by artillery shells in their village on Tuesday evening. Some of those injured had fled Mont Than Pyin.

According to U Kyaw Sein, Myanmar’s military attacked with two jet fighters near his village on March 8-9, flattening 62 out of the village’s 66 houses. The village previously had a population of about 400. Over 20 cows and 30 goats were killed in the bombing.

“[Myanmar’s military] bombed with jet fighters for three consecutive days. [Almost] the entire village was burned down. [Nearly] all the cattle were killed. And all of us had to flee,” he told The Irrawaddy.

Military tensions are still running high in hills along the Kaladan River near the villages.

Military spokesman Brigadier-General Zaw Min Tun told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that they lost contact with their troops when they were attacked by the AA, southwest of the Meewa outpost on Tuesday morning.

He said: “We are trying to make contact with them.”

The AA had been attacking the Meewa outpost for the past month, he added.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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