Myanmar Junta Allies Assassinated in Rakhine State

By The Irrawaddy 5 January 2023

Three leaders of the regime-allied Arakan Liberation Army (ALA) were assassinated in Rakhine State’s capital Sittwe on Wednesday morning.

The commander-in-chief of the ALA, the armed wing of the Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), Major General Khaing Soe Mya, Lieutenant Colonel Khaing Kyaw Soe and Captain Khaing Thurein Na were killed in the assassination, an ALP source told The Irrawaddy.

“They were wearing lanyards with their ID cards. It appears they were shot while driving to Independence Day’s celebrations at the Waithali Ground in Sittwe,” he said.

Other reports said they were killed after the event.

The Irrawaddy was unable to contact the ALP.

The ALP signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with President Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government in 2015 and is currently engaged in peace talks with Min Aung Hlaing’s regime. Khaing Soe Mya recently met Min Aung Hlaing in Naypyitaw.

Established in 1967, the ALP is the oldest revolutionary Rakhine group. Today its popularity is waning and it faced criticism from Rakhine communities after it set up security checkpoints and carried out checks on passers-by.

Tensions have escalated between the ALP and the Arakan Army (AA) over conflicting allegiances and policies. The two sides have traded arrests as relations soured.

Three Arakan Liberation Army leaders were shot dead while driving to junta-organized Independence Day celebrations in Rakhine State’s capital, Sittwe.

The AA, the most powerful of the three ethnic armed groups in the state, has a history of abducting ALP members. In August last year, the AA detained Lieutenant Colonel Khaing Paw Lin, the liaison officer at the ALP’s office in Sittwe and the party’s security chief.

Following the abduction, ALP members raided a house in Set Yone Su in Sittwe, firing shots and attempting to arrest two men, one of whom escaped with bullet wounds and another was seized.

ALP leaders claimed the two were involved in the abduction of Lt-Col Khaing Paw Lin but denied the use of firearms in the operation.