Arakan Army kidnaps over 40 police, soldiers in Rakhine: military

By AFP

YANGON — The Arakan Army took more than 40 police officers and soldiers hostage in a brazen raid on a ferry on October 26, Myanmar’s military said, the latest flare-up in the restive western region. 

The military has deployed thousands of troops to try to crush AA insurgents in the state, where the ethnic group is fighting for more autonomy for Rakhine Buddhists.

But the AA has inflicted a heavy toll through violent raids, kidnappings and improvised explosive devices. 

On the morning of October 26 rebels in concealed positions on a river bank shot at a ferry carrying off-duty police and soldiers north from the state capital, forcing it to dock, military spokesperson Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun said. 

Support more independent journalism like this. Sign up to be a Frontier member.

“More than 10 soldiers from the army, about 30 police and two staff from the prison department” were among the more than 40 passengers forced to disembark before being taken away, he said. 

Authorities were using helicopters in their pursuit of the rebels, and had spotted a large contingent crossing a river, he added.  

The AA could not immediately be reached for comment. 

The flare-up comes less than two weeks after suspected rebels disguised as a sports team stormed a bus and abducted dozens of firefighters and civilians in Rakhine. 

Tens of thousands have been displaced in the state due to the fighting. 

Rakhine is the same area where the military drove out more than 740,000 Rohingya Muslims in a 2017 campaign UN investigators have called genocide. 

Rights groups have accused soldiers of committing war crimes including extrajudicial killings in its fresh campaign against the AA.

But monitors have also singled out the AA for alleged abuses. 

Both sides have rebuffed accusations as violence has continued in an area largely sealed off to independent media. 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
Myanmar enters 2021 with more friends than foes
The early delivery of vaccines is one of the many boons of the country’s geopolitics, but to really take advantage, Myanmar must bury the legacy of its isolationist past.
Will the Kayin BGF go quietly?
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.

Stay on top of Myanmar current affairs with our Daily Briefing and Media Monitor newsletters

Our fortnightly magazine is available in print, digital, or a combination beginning at $80 a year

Sign up for our Frontier Fridays newsletter. It’s a free weekly round-up featuring the most important events shaping Myanmar