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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Arakan Army attacks police headquarters.

MYANMAR TIMES
NYAN LYNN AUNG | 11 APR 2019


Myanmar soldiers march during a parade commemorating Armed Forces Day in Nay Pyi Taw on March 27. Photo - EPA



Suspected Arakan Army fighters attacked the police regiment headquarters in Mrauk-U township in Rakhine State late Tuesday, and local residents said there were many fatalities.

Colonel Win Zaw Oo, head of the Tatmadaw (military) Western Regional Military Command, said on Wednesday the AA attacked police headquarters with “overwhelming force,” and the military provided the police with reinforcements.

“The fighting is ongoing,” Col Win Zaw Oo said.

He added that the military is still checking the death toll, but residents said that as many as 20 police officers may have died in the attack. Col Win Zaw Oo said they are still verifying reports about missing police officers, including women, allegedly seized by AA fighters. 

According to local residents, clashes have intensified between the military and AA in Mrauk-U, and the military used air strikes during the fighting late Tuesday and Wednesday morning. 

“The gunfire and shell explosions were deafening. Nobody dared go outside. Everybody scrambled to find a safe place to hide,” said U Maung Hla, a resident.

They said there were also some civilian casualties. U Tun Thar Sein, a state legislator for Mrauk-U, said one child was wounded during the fighting.

More than 30,000 people have fled since the fighting between government forces and the AA began last November.

Observers said that one of the reasons for the fighting is the AA’s determination to set up a base in Rakhine State, which the military has vowed to block. 

U Than Soe Naing, an observer, said, “I feel bad that local people have to suffer the tragedies of war.”

The military, which had called the AA a brother ethnic group at a press conference in January, now tags AA fighters as terrorists, he said.

U Mya Than, deputy speaker of Rakhine’s parliament, underscored the need to find a political solution to the conflict.

“We want an immediate end to the fighting because civilians are being affected. The number of refugees has risen to over 20,000,” he said.

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