Govt Reports 2nd ARSA Attack in Northern Rakhine State This Month

By Moe Myint 24 January 2019

YANGON — Three officers were wounded by artillery shells in a two-hour assault on a police post in northern Rakhine State’s Maungdaw Township Thursday morning by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), according to the General Administration Department (GAD).

It was the militant Muslim group’s second reported attack on police in the area in as many weeks.

U Hla Tun Tin, an official with the GAD’s Kyein Chaung office in northern Maungdaw, said the attack near Wai Lar Taung Village began at about 7 a.m., according to an initial police report.

Citing the report, he said about 40 ARSA fighters crossed into Myanmar from Bangladesh near border marker No. 41 and tried to seize the post, which lies some 200 meters from the border. But he said the officers managed to repel the assault with the help of reinforcements from a neighboring regiment after two hours.

“They broke through the border fence and ambushed them with artillery.” U Hla Tun Tin told The Irrawaddy.

The police, he added, said the militants were well armed and managed to destroy some structures before retreating back across the border. He said ARSA had also mounted an attack near Maungdaw’s Wat Kyein Village on Jan. 16.

“Some people were confused about [who carried out] the previous attack. But this time we can definitely say that this morning’s attack was carried out by ARSA,” U Hla Tun Tin said.

The military and Ministry of Home Affairs initially and wrongly attributed the Jan. 16 attack on the Arakan Army, a claim it immediately denied. The Arakan Army is mostly active in neighboring townships.

Video footage posted to Facebook on Jan. 19 appeared to show ARSA fighters armed with assault rifles waiting for an approaching police vehicle near Wat Kyein Village and then firing on it. Government media reported that six police officers were wounded in the attack. The militants also used an improvised explosive device.

ARSA has not released any statement about this month’s reported attacks via its Twitter account.