Militants kill nine police, seize weapons in Maungdaw

MAUNGDAW — At least nine police and seven militants have been killed during a series of attacks on security forces in northern Rakhine State’s Maungdaw Township, police officials have told Frontier.

Fighting between Border Guard Police and the militants, who local police say are from the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation, was continuing at 2pm today near the BGP Central Command Centre. The sound of automatic weapons—and, at one point, a shell being fired – could be heard in the vicinity of the centre.

The militants attacked the Central Command Centre at about midnight on Saturday night. Fighting continued for about three hours, according to residents, and resumed at 9:30am. 

The centre is at Kyee Kan Pyin village, about 10 kilometres (6 miles) from downtown Maungdaw on the road to Taungbro, a sub-township that borders Bangladesh.

Witnesses reported seeing seven dead militants at Maungdaw Hospital.

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“The fighting started at about midnight and we ran away from our houses and hid in the nearby mountains,” said a Rakhine woman aged about 40 who lives in front of the BGP headquarters and asked not to be identified.

“We saw more than 30 militants with torches running and approaching the central command,” she said.

A police sergeant was killed at the centre, while another officer died later at Maungdaw Hospital from injuries sustained in the fighting. A civilian working at a communication tower construction site in the area was also injured.

Officials at the Central Command Centre told Frontier that five more officers had been killed after fighting resumed at 9:30am.

Militants also attacked a BGP station in Koetankaut village in neighbouring Rathedaung township, but no details were immediately available.

The attackers took 157 M11 handguns and M12 submachine guns together with ammunition from a munitions store in the centre, according to police officials.

Police Major U Kyaw Mya Win told Frontier the attacks were from the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation, an armed group based on the border with Bangladesh. 

Police and other security officials met at 6am to coordinate a response to the attack.

Authorities have also extended a curfew that has been in place since 2012 from 7pm to 6am. The original curfew was from 11pm to 4am. 

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