Members of the Arakan Army (AA) and residents of Zaydi Taung village in Rakhine’s Buthidaung yesterday received COVID-19 administered by the township’s military-administered healthcare department, according to an official.
“The vaccination drive started today after the AA asked permission to receive the jabs,” an official from the Buthidaung administration department told DVB.
An official from Buthidaung township healthcare department also confirmed the news, but said that they were unable to ascertain the total number of those vaccinated.
The AA fought what is considered by many to be a victorious war against the Burmese military between 2019 and 2020 and is currently observing an increasingly tenuous ceasefire. The EAO has officially stayed out of the post-coup conflict, and has spent the year since February advancing its own administrative structures, especially in the north of Rakhine; the AA’s commander, Maj. Gen. Twan Mrat Maing, recently told the Asia Times that his group is now in complete control of 60 percent of the territory.
The vaccine drive is reportedly the sixth to be held in Buthidaung township. Rakhine-based media outlet, Narinjara, India’s Covishield — a vaccine gifted to the junta early last year — was provided to members of the AA.
16 groups of people — including EAO members, the disabled, and the elderly — will be given priority from the 230,000 vaccines said to have currently been provided to Rakhine state.
AA spokesman, Khaing Thu Kha, told the media that residents of Min Bya, Mrauk-U, Kyauk Taw, Buthidaung, Yathae Taung, and Maungdaw townships will be vaccinated by Burma Army soldiers.