Myanmar military intensifies attacks on Arakan Army
The Myanmar military has intensified its attacks, involving its ground, air and naval forces, against the Arakan Army, reported The Irrawady, amid concerns that civilians in Rakhine are becoming victims of the conflicts.
Locals reported that two Myanmar military fighter jets carried out aerial attacks at three different times, while ground troops and naval vessels provided supporting artillery fire against the Arakan Army (AA) in mountains near Aungtharzi Village Rathedaung Township of Rakhine state on Tuesday morning.
On March 23 this year, Myanmar's government designated the AA and its political party United League of Arakan as terrorist organisations.
All this is happening even as Myanmar faces a genocide case at the International Court of Justice for a military crackdown that drove out some 750,000 Rohingyas to Bangladesh in 2017. No Rohingya refugee could be repatriated in more than three years as they say there is no guarantee of safety and citizenship.
Upper House lawmaker U Khin Maung Latt of Rathedaung said Tuesday's clash was probably the fiercest in Rathedaung so far. In previous clashes, the Myanmar military only used helicopters to drop bombs, but they even used jet fighters this time.
"The navy also joined the attacks, and ground troops shelled with artillery."
Locals from Aungtharzi and nearby villages have been fleeing their homes since last month due to the armed conflicts in their area.
From October 3, the two sides engaged in three days of fierce fighting for control of a strategic hill near Aungtharzi between Kyauktan and Hteeswe villages.
According to the Rakhine Ethnic Congress, over 30,000 people have been forced from their homes in Kyauktaw, Rathedaung and Mrauk-U townships over the past two months. More than 226,000 people have so far been displaced since fighting between the Myanmar military and the AA broke out in 2018.
The Myanmar military has declared a unilateral ceasefire across the country, but excluded Rakhine State, citing the risks posed by terrorist groups in the area.
In a statement on October 12, Amnesty International called for the UN Security Council to urgently refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court.