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Myanmar’s Arakan Army launches offensive, breaking ceasefire

Arakan Army (The Henry L. Stimson Center/Released)
November 14, 2023

This article was originally published by Radio Free Asia and is reprinted with permission.

The Arakan Army attacked two police outposts in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state early on Monday morning, locals told Radio Free Asia.

Arakan Army soldiers fired at two border police outposts in Done Paik and Chein Khar Li in Rathedaung township, one resident from Chein Khar Li said on the condition of anonymity. Residents from the surrounding villages are fleeing, they added.

“It started at half past five in the morning. The Arakan Army is still attacking Done Paik and Chein Khar Li [military] camps,” he said. “All the villagers are running to Mayu Mountain.”

The sound of shelling started around 5:30 am, said a woman from Done Paik village. 

“People in the village are fleeing. We are still in the village, crouched under the house,” she told RFA, asking to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals. “I can hear the sound of heavy and light weapons and it hasn’t stopped yet.”

Shelling stopped after 6 am, residents said. Villagers are worried because groups of junta soldiers in Rathedaung town are still firing in the direction of Chein Khar Li and Done Paik villages where the conflict continues.

Junta forces are still enforcing a blockade on the city of Sittwe by stationing soldiers at the city gates on Sittwe-Yangon road. Passage in and out of the city is still tightly restricted after fighting broke out this morning, said a Sittwe resident, asking to remain anonymous. 

“The entrance and exit of Sittwe city has been forcibly blocked by barbed wire. Cars, motorbikes and pedestrians are blocked, and military vehicles are also placed there,” he said. “There are a large number of [junta] police and soldiers. I think they blocked the gates following the fighting.”

Neither the Arakan Army nor the military junta have released any information regarding Monday morning’s battle. The fighting comes nearly a year after the Arakan Army and junta’s clashes in November 2022, breaking a ceasefire between the two sides, called for humanitarian reasons.