Arakan Army launches deadly raids on police posts

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Arakan Army kills 13 policemen, injure 9 in predawn raids amid intensified fighting with government forces. Buddhist Rakhine fighters have killed 13 policemen and injured nine in attacks on police posts in Myanmar‘s troubled Rakhine State, the official news agency said.

The official Myanmar News Agency said four police posts in the Buthidaung area in northern Rakhine came under attack from hundreds of Arakan Army (AA) fighters after daybreak on Friday.

Arakan Army

The western state has been torn by violence once again since early December, when fighting intensified between government forces and the AA, which wants more autonomy for the Buddhist Rakhine ethnic minority.

Rakhine State was where a brutal military-led crackdown in 2017 drove hundreds of thousands of the mostly Muslim Rohingya into bordering Bangladesh.

The recent fighting with the AA forced 2,500 civilians to flee their homes by the end of last year, according to the United Nations.

Khine Thu Kha, spokesman for the rebels, told the AFP news agency, that AA fighters retrieved seven corpses of “enemies” and took 14 members of the security forces captive during the raids.

He told Reuters later that the rebels had freed at least 12 members of the security forces it detained in the fighting.

Khine Thu Kha added that the attacks were a response to a Myanmar military offensive against the AA in recent weeks that also targeted civilians.

‘Clearance operations’

Last month, the military announced a four-month halt in fighting in the north and northeast of the country to kick-start peace talks with multiple armed groups fighting for ethnic autonomy, but that announcement excluded Rakhine State.

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The AA has said the army is using the truce elsewhere to focus efforts on Rakhine.

But observers say no major troop redeployments have yet taken place.