Hundreds of Burma Army soldiers have defected to the Arakan Army (AA) and are being provided humanitarian assistance, AA spokesperson Khaing Thukha announced during an online press conference today.
“We have hundreds of junta troops defecting to the AA. We are providing care for these people. We cannot provide the exact number of soldiers that have deserted, but will do our best to help and accommodate any other soldiers that come to us,” he said.
The comment was given as a response to a reporter who had asked if defectors were being provided with “as much humanitarian assistance as possible”.
The junta’s deputy commander-in-chief, Soe Win, yesterday visited battalions stationed in Rakhine’s Sittwe and Buthidaung townships and met with soldiers and their families.
The vice-senior general is believed to have given a speech to the military community in which he claimed that the SAC was “prepared for war” in the state.
Despite still nominally observing a November 2020 ceasefire, skirmishes between the AA and the junta have recently broken out in the strategically important Chin State township of Paletwa. Recent reports reaching DVB suggest that the military is significantly increasing the presence of its security forces within Rakhine.