The latest military situation in Rakhine and Kachin state

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – May 06 Scenes
MoeMaKa, May 07, 2024

The latest military situation in Rakhine and Kachin state

In Rakhine State, there is currently fierce fighting in Maungdaw Township, Buthidaung Township, Thandwe Township, and Ann Township. Recently, some military council forces from the border guard station in Maungdaw Township fled to Bangladesh for refuge. Additionally, in Buthidaung Township, a large number of troops, including the deputy commander of the Military Operations Command (SaKaKha), reportedly surrendered on May 5, based on a statement from the AA armed group. In Ann Township, where the Western Regional Military Command is based, the AA is attacking strategic camps and military bases. Another area of conflict is around the villages between Toungup and Thandwe, where the AA is attacking military council troops.

In Rakhine State, the townships that can be partially controlled by the Military Council include Ann Township, Sittwe, Thandwe, Toungup, Buthidaung, Kyaukphyu, Gwa, and Maungdaw, while the remaining areas are under the control of the AA.

News photos show that many Rohingya Muslims, including the deputy commander of the SaKaKha, have surrendered to the AA. It is unclear whether the Rohingya Muslims surrendering to the AA are those who received military training and joined the Military Council’s troops after the implementation of the military conscription law on February 10, or those recruited from Muslim refugee camps under the Military Council’s control prior to the law’s enforcement.

After a series of violent ethnic and religious clashes, including attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) in 2012, 2014, and 2016, the government forcibly separated Rohingya Muslims from communities and relocated them to refugee camps, where they have been confined for decades. In recent months, the military council forces have recruited Muslim youths from these camps by force, trained them, and used them in the armed forces.

The AA is now in a position to control many areas in Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships. They also intend to take over the Western Regional Military Command based in Ann Town, which is the largest military council base in Rakhine State, and are attacking nearby strategic hills and camps. In addition to Buthidaung, Maungdaw, and Ann townships, the AA is also attacking military council camps in Thandwe Township in southern Rakhine State. Hence, the AA is fighting in three regions simultaneously in Rakhine State.

In Kachin State, the KIA has seized Sumprabum in northern Kachin State, its nearby outposts, including an infantry battalion. Concurrently, the KIA announced that they had successfully captured the strategic stronghold on Gidung Hill, situated in Waingmaw Township, which provides a commanding position to fire on KIA’s headquarters in Laiza.

In Kachin State, the KIA has not yet tried to seize Myitkyina and other towns but is attacking and seizing military bases first. They have only attacked cities such as Mongmit and Mabein, on the border between Kachin State and Northern Shan, and the border of Sagaing Division. They have also captured the Lwegel trading post.

The KIA likely prefers to control the area rather than seize cities in Kachin State. As for the KIA, there may be issues that need to be negotiated with the armed groups that control areas such as Kutkai Township during Operation 1027, where many Kachin people have been living for a long time.

Another problem for the KIA is the Shanni regions that have been living in the state designated as Kachin State by successive national governments.

The areas controlled by the military council are rapidly decreasing in the border areas and ethnic areas, with a tendency to gather in central Myanmar. They are losing control significantly in Chin State, Kachin State, Karen State, Karenni State, North Shan State, and Rakhine State. The military council may be reorganizing its forces after continuing control over the southern coastal areas and central Myanmar. On the other hand, the strength and morale of the military council troops, which have been continuously surrendering and deserting camps in the ethnic areas of the border region, are rapidly decreasing.

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