AA Says Army Captain Killed in Clash; Military Denies Claim

By Moe Myint 22 May 2019

YANGON—Captain Aung Moe Myint from the Myanmar Army’s Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 212 was killed along with several other soldiers when Arakan Army (AA) commandos attacked an Army column traveling in Chin State’s Paletwa Township last Friday, the AA said.

Photographs released by the AA showed what it said were items seized from the Army column, including an MG-42 machine gun with 120 rounds of ammunition; a portable 60-mm mortar with 20 rounds; four assault rifles and more than 2,000 rounds; a BA 100 machine gun; 25 grenades; three rocket propelled grenades; a dozen M-14 landmines; mine detectors; and the pistol and military ID of Capt. Aung Moe Myint, issued by the Office of the Commander-in-Chief. LIB No. 212 is under the control of the Army’s Light Infantry Division (LID) No. 11.

The AA said its commandos attacked the Army (or Tatmadaw) column near Kha Wae Road 5.2 km west of Paletwa town. It said the clash lasted more than one-and-a-half hours.

The website of the Office of the Commander-in-Chief carried no public announcements of the Paletwa clash as of Tuesday. However, speaking to The Irrawaddy, Army spokesman Brigadier-General Zaw Min Tun denied the AA’s claim that a high-ranking officer had been killed. He said a few soldiers had been wounded in Paletwa Township but had no details about casualties, saying only that some government soldiers may have died in the hospital while receiving medical treatment. He also dismissed as “baseless rumors” online tributes to Capt. Aung Moe Myint posted online in recent days.

The AA displays weapons and other items it claims were seized from the Myanmar Army’s LID No. 11, which was only recently deployed to Rakhine. / AA website

Over the weekend, a number of people claiming to be Capt. Aung Moe Myint’s long-time friends, including a businessman and a medical doctor, expressed their condolences to the fallen Army officer’s family on social media. One of them said that the captain had recently been transferred from strife-torn Shan State to northern Rakhine.

During the AA’s attacks on Mrauk-U Police Regiment No. 31 and the Lay Nyin Taung camp on April 9-10, Army Captain Htet Thura Soe of Defense Services Academy (DSA) intake 52 was killed along with a number of troops. Although his family and friends wrote about the captain’s death on Facebook, the Army did not reveal the names of the fallen soldiers.

The Army only occasionally issues limited information regarding the death of high-ranking officers via its website, sometimes providing verbal confirmation via the spokesman. In December 2018, the Army said that from January through May, at least three army captains and a major had been killed during clashes with the AA. It did not provide figures for lower-ranking soldiers.

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