Myanmar Junta’s Threat of Fighting Dismissed as ‘Naked Joke’ by Arakan Army

By The Irrawaddy 20 May 2022

The Arakan Army’s (AA) spokesperson has said that the junta’s threat of possible future fighting in Rakhine State is a ‘naked joke’, after the regime’s spokesperson responded to the AA’s earlier warning against the Myanmar military’s commander in Rakhine.

During a press conference on Thursday, the regime’s spokesperson Major-General Zaw Min Tun warned that the Myanmar military is exercising restraint in order to avoid any harm coming to Rakhine people, and for the sake of peace.

“Don’t blame the military if something bad happens following its [the AA’s] recent activities,” he said, hinting at possible future fighting in the area.

A few hours later, AA spokesperson Khaing Thukha wrote on Facebook that “those who have never been good on people throughout history say ‘don’t blame them.’”

“What a naked joke!” he wrote.

AA’s spokesperson Khaing Thukha

The AA is one of Myanmar’s most powerful ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) and is fighting for greater autonomy in western Myanmar’s Rakhine State. In late 2020, the AA agreed an informal ceasefire with the military, but tensions between the two forces have been growing in recent months.

Earlier this week, the AA met with the civilian shadow National Unity Government (NUG) for the first time. The junta has designated the NUG as a terrorist organization.

On Twitter earlier this month, AA chief Major-General Tun Myat Naing warned the head of the military’s western command, which oversees operations in Rakhine State, that he would crush the command if it continues to harm the AA with tightened security checks in the state and the arrest of alleged AA associates.

Last week, the EAO warned of potential clashes in Rakhine in a statement accusing the military regime of disrupting the AA’s parallel administration in the state.

Along with other powerful Kachin and Karen EAOs, the AA is boycotting the regime’s peace talks that are now underway in the capital Naypyitaw.

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