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Arakan Army claims control of Ramree Island town; More regime troops flee into Bangladesh

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Arakan Army claims control of Ramree island town

The Arakan Army (AA) claimed that it had seized control of Ramree on Monday. It claimed to have captured all military outposts in the town on March 11 after its first attack was launched on Ramree Island Dec. 18. At least six wards, including the market, were destroyed by retaliatory airstrikes, artillery and arson.

“My house and the market that I had worked at were burned down and I don’t know where to stay and what to do for a living. I was afraid of entering the town as landmines and explosives remain, but I wanted to check on my home,” said a Ramree resident. 

A search for Burma Army personnel and landmine clearance operations are underway by the AA. It requested residents not to return home until it finishes. The AA has taken control of seven townships in Arakan and Paletwa Township in southern Chinland since November. 

UN expresses concern over ‘grave’ risk to civilians’ lives 

The U.N. expressed its concern over the use of artillery in residential areas of Arakan State during fighting between the Burma Army and the AA. It has posed a risk to civilians as over 4,600 have been killed since the 2021 military coup. 

“On Saturday, a stray artillery shell landed in a residential area in the state capital Sittwe, killing at least eight Rohingya civilians and injuring 12 others, including five children”, said Stéphane Dujarric, the U.N. spokesperson. 

Artillery killed 21 civilians at Myoma market in Sittwe on Feb. 29. The U.N. added that over 300,000 people are now Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Arakan State. It stated that the fighting is hindering access for humanitarians to deliver aid to people in need.  

More regime troops flee into Bangladesh

At least 177 members of the regime’s Border Guard Police (BGP) based in northern Maungdaw Township of Arakan State fled into Bangladesh on Monday, via the Ashartali and Jamchari border crossings to escape from attacks by the AA, Narinjara News reported

Bangladesh media reported that a 43-year-old man on the Bangladesh side of the border was injured by gunfire coming from the Burma side. He is currently receiving medical treatment at a hospital. 

The AA stated that it has intensified its attacks against BGP outposts in Maungdaw Township since Sunday. A total of 330 BGP members that previously fled to Bangladesh were repatriated to Burma on Feb. 15. 

News by Region

Displaced residents in Tanintharyi Township are in need of food. (Credit: CJ)

TANINTHARYI—Local aid groups stated that more than 1,600 IDPs from Anouk Mawton village in Tanintharyi Township are facing food shortages. The IDPs have been displaced from their homes since 2021. Around 8,000 people from 17 other villages in the township were forced to flee their homes last September due to fighting.

“We previously provided each IDP with a monthly basket of rice but now we don’t have the budget to buy it anymore as the price of rice is rising. So, we temporarily stopped providing rice,” said the spokesperson of a local aid group. 

CHINLAND—Hakha Township residents said that two children were killed and three others were injured when a car owned by the Chinland Defense Force (CDF) exploded in Buamlon village on Sunday. 

“Five children were playing in [and around] the parked car. A child was killed in the explosion while another one died at the hospital,” said a Hakha resident. The injured are receiving treatment at Hakha hospital. 

KAREN—The Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) seized control of the Phalu military outpost in Myawaddy Township on Monday. “The KNLA started to attack the outpost that evening. It also simultaneously attacked two other outposts near Phalu,” said an unnamed source close to Karen National Union (KNU).

Fighting in Myawaddy Township has intensified since March 8, forcing residents to flee their homes and take shelter at monasteries and schools in Hpa-an and Hlaingbwe townships. Some have reportedly crossed the border into Thailand. 

SHAN—The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) stated that it will not break its ceasefire with the military despite the Burma Army reportedly expanding its presence in TNLA territory in Kyaukme, Thibaw and Nawnghkio townships. Residents of the townships are concerned fighting may resume.

“The agreement will not be broken unless the Burma Army violates it first,” an unnamed researcher who studies ethnic affairs in Ta’ang areas told DVB. China brokered the ceasefire between the military and the Brotherhood Alliance, which includes the TNLA, on Jan. 12.

YANGON—At least 18,951 students in Yangon are taking the nationwide matriculation exam from March 11-19 in order to apply for universities during the next academic year, regime media reported. 

It will be administered at 73 exam centers in the city. The results of the exam are usually announced in June. More than 160,000 students took the exam last year and over 150,000 passed. 

Watch DVB Street View and take a ride through Yangon’s Sanchaung Township. DVB English News is on X, Facebook, Instagram, Threads & TikTok. Subscribe to us on YouTube.

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