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1/10/2019 AA Frees 14 Police, 4 Women Captured in Attack on Border Posts

News

AA Frees 14 Police, 4 Women Captured in


Attack on Border Posts

 The 14 Border Police officers and some of the four women prisoners released by the AA in northern Rakhine State on Saturday / Arakan Army / Facebook

By MOE MYINT 5 January 2019

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1/10/2019 AA Frees 14 Police, 4 Women Captured in Attack on Border Posts

YANGON—The Arakan Army (AA) said on Saturday it had released 14 Border Police
officers and four civilian women captured during coordinated attacks on four border
outposts in northern Rakhine State’s Buthidaung Township a day earlier.

The group said it released the captives in line with international rules on the treatment
of prisoners of war.

The Ministry of Information (MOI) said yesterday that 14 policemen were killed and 9
wounded, and 40 firearms and more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition seized, when
the outposts came under attack by more than 300 AA rebels in Buthidaung early on
Friday morning. On Friday, the Army had initially reported that nine security personnel
had been killed.

According to a ministry statement, despite the arrival of reinforcements from the No. 8
Border Police Regiment and Myanmar military (or Tatmadaw) units, personnel stationed
at the outposts were unable to resist the massive AA attack and retreated to two other
outposts. The entire populations of four nearby villages fled to safer locations.
Authorities were trying to contact them on Saturday.

The MOI statement reads: “The AA’s actions tend to complicate and destabilize the
situation in Rakhine. Members of the security forces will take effective action against
the AA.”

The AA announced the prisoner release via its information page yesterday. It accused
the Myanmar military of using excessive force, including attack helicopters and heavy
artillery, and of bringing police regiments into conflict zones, in order to combat AA
units in Kyauk Taw, Rathedaung and Buthidaung, as well as areas along Myanmar’s
borders with Bangladesh and India, for almost two months.

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1/10/2019 AA Frees 14 Police, 4 Women Captured in Attack on Border Posts

The armed group said: “There is almost daily fighting in the Rakhine region, and the
number of internally displaced persons is mounting rapidly.”

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1/10/2019 AA Frees 14 Police, 4 Women Captured in Attack on Border Posts

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1/10/2019 AA Frees 14 Police, 4 Women Captured in Attack on Border Posts


One of the border outposts
attacked by AA fighters on
Friday / Ministry of Home
Affairs / Facebook

The military’s use of the “four cuts” strategy and excessive force on the battlefield had
forced it to mount the simultaneous attacks on the four border outposts in Buthidaung
Township on Friday, it said. The “four cuts” policy was developed in the 1970s during
the regime of the Burmese Socialist Programme Party with the intention of undermining
ethnic militias by cutting off access to food, funds, information and recruitment.

The AA also accused police in Rakhine State of arbitrary arrests and imprisonment of
Arakanese youth without proper reason, and of helping the military to implement the
“four cuts” strategy instead of confining itself to conventional police duties despite
warnings by the AA.

On Saturday, the Myanmar Army used two helicopters to retake the four border
outposts from AA troops. Some residents of nearby villages were reportedly injured in
the helicopter attacks on AA positions.

The AA has acknowledged that three of its fighters were killed and some injured in
recent armed clashes with the Tatmadaw in northern Rakhine.

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1/10/2019 AA Frees 14 Police, 4 Women Captured in Attack on Border Posts

Pro-military commentators and senior military personnel took to Facebook yesterday to


accuse the AA of forming in alliance with the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).
Some local publications also published the accusations, which appear to be hearsay
and not based in fact.

The AA categorically denied having any allies in its frontline activities in Rakhine, saying
it is implementing the Arakan National Movement, which it said was the dream of the
entire Arakan nation. It said the AA is the only armed organization fighting to drive
Burmese “colonists” from Rakhine.

According to local relief groups, internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the region now
number about 4,500. It is believed the actual figure could be even higher, however, as
some of the displaced villagers are not sheltering in designated IDP camps.

Topics: Arakan Army, IDPs, Military conflict, Rakhine, Tatmadaw

Moe Myint
The Irrawaddy

Moe Myint is  Senior Reporter at the English edition of The Irrawaddy.

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