Fighting Spreads as AA Attacks Army Convoy in S. Rakhine

By Moe Myint 13 May 2019

YANGON—The Arakan Army (AA) ambushed a military convoy traveling in an area under the control of the Myanmar military’s Western Command in southern Rakhine State’s Ann Township on Sunday, injuring one soldier.

Office of the Commander-in-Chief spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun confirmed that one soldier was wounded when Myanmar Army troops were attacked with remotely detonated landmines in Ann Township. He said the rebels detonated two landmines under a military convoy and retreated when soldiers fought back against them during the clash, which took place in a rural area of the township.

The AA said its fighters destroyed three of the seven military trucks in the convoy. It said the three trucks were believed to be newly dispatched to Rakhine State. Tan Tin village administrator U Aung Than Myint, who was in Dat Taw village on Sunday, recalled clearly hearing explosions and a gunfight lasting about 30 minutes.

The AA claimed it killed some troops during the short engagement in Ann Township. The fighting happened on the Ann-Sittwe Highway 25 kilometers from the urban center. On the same day, the AA said it had clashed with government troops in Ponnagyun Township’s Laung Boat village and claimed to have killed at least four Myanmar Army soldiers.

However, Brig-Gen. Zaw Min Tun denied any armed engagement took place in Ponnagyun Township on Sunday. The AA says the Tatmadaw has been continually sending in more troops to Rakhine, reinforcing troops already deployed there from Light Infantry Division (LID) Nos. 22, 11, 44 and 55.

The AA stated that in just the first 12 days of May, it clashed with the Myanmar Army on 33 occasions in Rakhine. Early Monday morning, fighting erupted in Kyauktaw Township’s Tin Ma village, situated 16 km north of downtown Kyauktaw. Kyauktaw resident U Kyaw Hla Myint said that the military’s tactical command fired about 30 artillery rounds before noon.

He said the armed conflict broke out 2 miles from the village, and residents of about five villages from that region were avoiding traveling outside during the day.

“Locals from Tin Ma and neighboring villages are scared of being struck by stray artillery rounds,” said U Kyaw Hla Myint.

Brig-Gen. Zaw Min Tun said he had no information about the Kyauktaw clash as of Monday evening.

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