Ethnic rebel group the Arakan Army said it killed over 30 government troops in a clash in Burma’s west on Thursday evening. The Burmese army has not reported the fight or confirmed any loss of life.
The Arakan Army (AA) announced on Friday that it had ambushed a convoy of troop carriers belonging to the Burmese military’s 565th Light Infantry Battalion in Arakan State’s Butheedaung Township. An attack with rocket propelled grenade launchers at 5pm on 3 March left nearly 30 government soldiers dead and some injured, the group claimed.
Khine Thukha, spokesperson for the AA said the rebels have fought clashes with the Burmese Army in the area throughout the week.
“We saw our first clash with the Burmese Army on 27 February and then again on 1 and 2 March. In the evening of 3 March, troops from our Brigade-5 went to shoot up their convoy, destroying two trucks and killing nearly all their reinforcement troops,” said Khine Thukha.
The AA spokesperson said some AA members were injured in a gun battle that broke out in the wake of the ambush on the convoy. Khine Thukha said the AA is anticipating further hostilities as the Burmese Army sends reinforcements in the area. The rebel group accused the Burmese army of forcing locals to act as porters.
Also on Thursday, a local court in Butheedaung sentenced four people under the Unlawful Association Act for connection with the AA.
The quartet, including an AA lance-corporal and a private, was detained by a Burmese army column in June 2015. Each individual was handed a three-year prison term inclusive of the time already served.
Since March 2015, the Burmese government has detained more than 30 people accused of links to the Arakan Army, including civilians from Arakan State’s Sittwe, Butheedaung, Taunggup, Kyauktaw, Kyaukphyu and Ramree Island, as well as in Rangoon.