Myanmar govt orders crackdown on Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army

Major General Tun Tun Nyi talks to journalists about the recent conflict in northern Rakhine State, during a press conference at the Defence Services Museum in Nay Pyi Taw on Friday. Photo - EPA

NAYPYITAW, Jan 21, 2019, Myanmar Times. State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has ordered a crackdown on the Arakan Army (AA), said U Zaw Htay, director general and spokesperson of the President’s Office, reported the Myanmar Times.

“Acts that affect peace and public security go against the rule of law. The government will take counter-insurgency actions in such incidents,” U Zaw Htay told the media at the Presidential Palace on Saturday.

The Tatmadaw (military) has been ordered to crack down on members of the AA who disturb local settlements and cause damage to property.

“The AA is classified as an insurgent group, and we will carry out counter-insurgency operations against all groups that attack the state and its sovereignty,” Major General Tun Tun Nyi, vice chair of the military’s True News Information Team, said during a press conference at the Defence Services Museum in Nay Pyi Taw on Friday.

U Zaw Htay added that AA’s attack on border guard outposts had greatly damaged the national reconciliation and peace process, which is a priority for the government.

The Myanmar Police are responsible for upholding law and order, while the military is responsible for combating domestic insurgents, he said.

Last Wednesday, the military captured a temporary AA camp southeast of Thayetpyin village in Buthidaung township, Rakhine State, according to state media. Five AA insurgents were found dead along with M-22 and M-14 assault rifles. There were no military casualties.

The AA reportedly killed 13 security personnel in several attacks on police posts in Rakhine State earlier this month. Around 5000 people have fled from villages to temporary camps in Ponnagyun, Buthidaung, Rathedaung and Kyauktaw townships to escape the fighting.

The military will continue to attack AA insurgents for regional stability and security, according to a news release from the military Commander-in-Chief’s Office.

Meanwhile, fighting broke out between the military and the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) in Maungdaw township in northern Rakhine on Saturday.

About 10 ARSA fighters attacked a vehicle carrying border guard security forces near a bridge at Watkyein village in Maungdaw, injuring six, a government statement said.

“The police noted that ARSA is active in the western part of Mayu Hill, while the AA is stationed in eastern part of the hill.

ARSA attacked at least 40 police outposts in northern Rakhine State on August 25, 2017, killing dozens of security forces and sparking a brutal military crackdown that drove more than 700,000 Muslim refugees across the border to Bangladesh.

The United Nations Development Programme and the UN High Commission for Refugees are now involved in projects in the area to help the government prepare for the repatriation of refugees from Bangladesh.

Police Chief Lieutenant General Aung Win Oo said the police are cooperating with the military to fight ARSA and the AA.

The government has urged AA fighters not to support ARSA, which the government has labelled a terrorist group.

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