High-Ranking Officers Killed by AA in N. Rakhine: Military

By Moe Myint 7 December 2018

YANGON—The Office of the Commander in Chief of the Myanmar military officially announced on Thursday night that some high-ranking officers and soldiers have been killed during a series of clashes with the Arakan Army (AA) in northern Rakhine’s remote Buthidaung and Rathaedaung townships.

The Myanmar Army, also called the Tatmadaw, did not state the total number of its own casualties in the statement, but specifically mentioned that army soldiers killed four AA fighters and seized two M-22 assault rifles. According to the statement, the AA ambushed an army column while the latter were conducting clearance operations along the Bangladesh–Myanmar border on Dec. 3, 4 and 5.

About 80 AA fighters planned to cut out the army unit and used landmine attacks during the clashes. More clashes with AA troops in Rathaedaung followed on Dec. 5 and 6.

The military announcement avoided mentioning the names of army units which are now at northern Rakhine’s frontline while repeatedly using the term “violent insurgents” when referring to the AA. They accused the AA of deliberately disrupting the border fence project which is being implemented along the Bangladeshi and Indian borders with Myanmar.

The statement denounced the attacks, saying the AA’s intentions are to cause instability in the border region.

According to an AA announcement on Dec. 4 however, the military’s Light Infantry No. 564 based in Buthidaung entered AA-controlled areas in northern Buthidaung Township’s Aught (Lower) Nahan and War Net Yon villages. The announcement by the AA claimed it killed about seven Tatmadaw soldiers in the resulting battles.

The AA said they would release the bodies of the enemies, their firearms and military accessories and battle field records in the coming days.

As the government army reinforces its intentions to wipeout AA bases in troubled northern Rakhine, the AA expects that much more fighting could flare up in the region. Following a spate of November clashes, the AA previously announced that more than 20 Tatmadaw soldiers, including a battle commander, were killed in Chin State’s Paletwa Township and the mountain range in northern Rakhine State.

Based on AA press releases, The Irrawaddy has learned that AA has been fighting against the Military’s Light Infantries No. 373, 539, 535, 380, 542 and 289 in Paletwa and northern Rakhine’s Buthidaung townships since October.