Deputy Commander of Myanmar Military Battalion Killed in Clash with Arakan Army

By Moe Myint 7 August 2019

YANGON—The deputy commander of the Myanmar military’s Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 105 was killed in action during fighting with the Arakan Army (AA) in Chin State’s remote Paletwa Township last week, his brother and friends confirmed.

High-ranking officers last week went to the home of the deputy commander, Major Win Myo Aung, in Karen State’s Kawkareik Township to pay their respects, his younger brother, Ko Zeyar Aung, told The Irrawaddy over the phone.

Ko Zeyar Aung said his brother had served on the front line in northern Rakhine since April. Family members were informed of Maj. Win Myo Aung’s death by a senior commander last Friday. Maj. Win Myo Aung, who was 37 at the time of his death, leaves behind two children and had been living at the No. 105 Battalion base in Kawareik since 2018.

“Words cannot express my sadness. This is a huge loss for my family,” Ko Zeyar Aung said.

He said family members had not been able to bring his brother’s body from Rakhine to Karen State, so their mother had traveled to Rakhine to attend a military-organized funeral in the state.

According to recent AA battle updates, the armed group clashed with Myanmar military (or Tatmadaw) troops on the border between Paletwa and Bangladesh, between border posts 71 and 72. It claimed to have killed at least four soldiers and wounded several others.

On the same day, the AA said it fought Tatmadaw units in Buthidaung, Kyauktaw and Mrauk-U townships and killed about 23 soldiers. The AA said three of its troops were wounded during the skirmishes.

Fallen Myanmar Army officer Major Win Myo Aung / Ko Htike / Facebook

Office of the Commander-in-Chief spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun refused to confirm the death of Maj. Win Myo Aung, but acknowledged that some Tatmadaw troops were killed in fighting in Paletwa.

In July, another high-ranking Myanmar military officer, Captain Inn Zaw Paing of Defense Service Academy (DSA) intake 54, was also reportedly shot dead, though The Irrawaddy was unable to reach the officer’s relatives for confirmation. The Irrawaddy has independently verified that four military majors and a lieutenant colonel as well as more than a dozen captains have been killed in the Rakhine conflict over the past seven months.

The Tatmadaw announced it had killed three AA rebels during an assault on the Nyaung Chaung border post near the border between Buthidaung Township and Bangladesh on July 26. The AA denied any of its fighters were killed in the attack, but the Tatmadaw displayed three enemy bodies on its website. Last week, the army announced it had discovered an AA training camp near Chay Taw Yar, a few miles from the Rakhine State capital, Sittwe.

Brig-Gen Zaw Min Tun said the army did not encounter any AA rebels during the raid on the training camp, as the AA abandoned the site as army troops approached.

According to AA statements issued between July 26 and August 5, 236 Myanmar military troops were killed in clashes with the AA in northern Rakhine and in Paletwa Township during the period. The Irrawaddy could not independently verify this figure.