Wild Wild Rakhine War and Shifting New Harassment Strategy


Sir Gen Min Aung Haling of Myanmar Tatmadaw


Wild Wild Rakhine War and Shifting New Harassment Strategy 


Sittway. July 7, 2019 

Rakhine war is getting wild and shifting to harassments. 

Internet blackout is still persisting in northern parts of Rakhine state where Myanmar army and Arakan Army have been fighting against each other since January. 

Government spokesperson Zaw Htay said during the recent press conference in Naypyitaw there is no timeframe to left the internet ban. 

While the region is blackout, Myanmar army arrested Arakan Army Spokesperson Khine Thu Kha’s bother-in-law and two other villagers at Htat Taung village in Ann township yesterday. 

The spokesperson’s brother-in-law U Maung Pru Than and two other villagers of U San Aung Kyi and U Raybo Thu are detained at Ann Police Station. 

Ann is Myanmar army control and command center and resident of the reginal commander. 

“They were taken to Ann town between 8 and 9 am yesterday by cars. I was informed they would be taken to Ann for questioning, but they did not tell me what questions would be asked,” chairman of Htat Taung village said. 

U Maung Pru Than’s relative who does not want to mention his name confirmed several cars came to the village and arrested three men yesterday. 

Besides Khine Tha Kha’s brother in law arrested, he is charged with counter terrorism act along with his top leaders in Sittway district court. 

Myanmar army has filed formal charges against AA Commander General Tun Myat Naing, Lieutenant General DR Nyo Tun Aung, Col. Kyaw Han, Spokesperson Khine Thu Kha, and Central Committee Member San Shwe Aung. 

The leaders are charged along with 7 other villagers from Kyaukyaw township who were arrested couple months ago.  

All 12 men are charged with 52-A (Ka), counter terrorism acts. They can be punished from lifetime imprisonment to deaths if they found guilty. 

Daw Aye Nu Sein, who is a lawyer and represents the even accused in Sittway District Court, said,” Oh God, when I found the name lists who are fugitives accused in the same case of criminal charges number 46/2019 which is attached with case number 28/2019 of general criminal cases, I was shocked whether my eyes get misreading."

She continues, “After I see the name…Khine Thu Kha and then Nyo Tun Aung in sequence,I am sure I am not mistaking, but I have already written their names on my notebook. They are 1) Tun Myat Naing, 2) Nyo Tun Aung, 3) Kyaw Han, 4) Khine Thu Kha, and 5) San Shwe Maung.”

In criminal procedure, these five leaders of AA will be declared as fugitives by the police. Then, the police have to file before the judge to issue arrest warrants. Then the police have to assimilate the warrants all over Myanmar to alert and arrest by any law enforcement agency for these five fugitives of  AA leaders and transport to them Sittway District Court after they are arrested.

In the meanwhile, the court will proceed other even accused with the terrorist charges while keep pending the arrest warrant on AA leaders.  

Zaw Htay said in the press conference AA leaders need to engage with the government peace process by singing nationwide ceasefire agreement, but the government does not have any decision to talk bilaterally to AA to solve Rakhine conflict. 

On the other hands, government peace negotiation team led by former military generals are inviting AA leaders to Naypyitaw for peace talk along with Kachin and other ethnic leaders.

Arakan Army welcomes the talks but in China or a secure location near China-Myanmar border due to security concerned of AA leaders. 

Military spokesperson said last month he guaranteed security of AA leaders if coming to Naypyitaw, but public doubted about it. 

Then, the peace talks between Myanmar government and AA, including ethnic alliances in northern, are delaying even though government negotiators said they had handed the texts of ceasefire agreement proposal to the ethnic alliance in Kokant region last week. 

The army extended another two more months of bilateral ceasefire in northeast region but leaves out Rakhine State. 

Local people reported that more troops are brought to Rakhine State when the government bans the local people internet access.

The latest strategy of Myanmar army is to seal off all accesses to villages in 9 townships by AA fighters.  A form of 100 to 300 troops of military column ambush near the villages and waiting for AA fighters approaching. 

LID 22 and 55 set fired two villages in Buthidaung and Rathedaung townships a couple days ago. 

Myanmar tactical and strategic commanders believe AA fighters are running out of rations in this raining season so that AAs must be coming out to the villages to get foods. Then they will attack AAs.

Contrarily, AA fighters are local people who have grown up with these weather and terrains and able to swim that Myanmar soldiers do not have such skills. AA fighters have more than enough dry-rations for this wet season to maintain their military operations. 

Arakan Army statement issued by last week said it had fought 8 battles in 5 townships on July 5 and killed more than 40 government soldiers.

Rakhine state is very popular of heavy rain and strong wind in monsoon.  This rough weather gives more favor to AA fighters. They are grabbing this opportunity to kill more troops in this season. 

As usual as it did during the former dictatorship Than Shwe times, commanders of Myanmar army are shifting its strategy to harass AA leaders, their relatives, and supporters as propaganda tolls and as psychological downgrading.

The latest lawsuits against AA top give leaders and arrest of its spokesperson relative is a warning sign there will be more harassments coming ahead. 

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