The Arakan Army (AA) has confirmed that at least six of its personnel were killed when military jets bombed one of its compounds in KNU Brigade 5 territory on July 4.
The bombing is the most explicit signal of intent from the military since tensions between the groups — who are nominally observing a Nov. 2020 ceasefire — began spiralling out of control last month.
Two jets bombed the AA outpost at around 12.25 p.m. yesterday, causing damage to a hospital, garment factory, and other buildings operated by the EAO.
A KNU source confirmed that the Karen National Liberation Army had sustained no injuries in the attack.
AA spokesperson Khaing Thukha told Rakhine-based Western News his organization believed the junta intentionally targeted the Rakhine armed group as there had been no prolonged fighting in the area.
Tensions between the two armies have risen dramatically over the course of the past two months: sporadic fighting between the AA and the military has again broken out in the strategically important Chin border region of Paletwa; while, across Rakhine itself, tit-for-tat detentions of respective security personnel have occurred following a military troop build up and accusations from the United League of Arakan that its members were being targeted in a spree of home invasions.
Khaing Thuka further claimed that Burmese jets entered Thai airspace shortly after the attack, something that DVB has been unable to verify. If true, it would mark the second time in under a week that Burmese MiGs have violated the kingdom’s border.
Thai authorities have yet to comment on this most recent accusation; Thailand’s Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, was quick to play down a June 30 incident which saw a Burmese fighter jet violate Thai airspace for over 15 minutes, stating that Burma’s military had apologized.
After Thai citizens expressed dissatisfaction with the response, the country’s air force this weekend claimed it was to continuously monitor the border.
On Nov. 19, 2014, 23 EAO cadets were killed after the military fired heavy artillery at a KIA training academy in Laiza, Kachin State. Of the cadets, 11 were from the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, eight had been attending from the AA, two were from the Chin National Front, and two had been sent by the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front.