FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM
The Arakan Army (AA) warned the public to remain vigilant and be on the lookout for Burma Army troops remaining in Paletwa after the southern Chin State township came under the control of the AA with the last remaining military outpost, Namada, being seized on Jan. 14.
“This is the result of the sacrifices and the bravery of our Arakan warriors,” the AA said in an online statement. It claimed that it now controls all military outposts in Paletwa along with the township’s border checkpoints with India and Bangladesh. The number of casualties has not been reported.
More than 40,000 residents have been displaced from their homes since the attacks started Nov. 13, 2023. “People are still afraid to return home and there are no people in the town,” said a Paletwa resident.
The Interim Khumi Affairs Coordination Council (IKACC), a Chin-based political organization, urged both sides to follow the Geneva Conventions and not to attack civilian targets. At least ten were killed and more than 20 were injured in the fighting between the AA and Burma Army in Paletwa Township, Chin World reported.
“The seizure of Paletwa will facilitate AA logistics through southern Chin into Rakhine. The army has now definitively lost that battle and this will undoubtedly impact the conflict,” said Anthony Davis, an independent security analyst that specializes in Burma’s conflict.
Davis told DVB that the fall of Paletwa to the AA will boost its confidence, propaganda efforts, and logistical capabilities in Arakan State.
Paletwa is one of the major terminals of the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP), a $484 million USD Indian-backed investment project that seeks to connect India’s Mizoram to the Arakan State capital, Sittwe, via the Kaladan River. The Sittwe port opened in May 2023 and is designed to facilitate direct trade between Myanmar and India.
Twan Mrat Naing, the AA commander-in-chief, called for the surrender of Burma Army troops on Jan. 15, the day after the fall of Paletwa to the AA. On Jan. 10, the AA claimed it seized a large haul of weapons when the Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 289 headquarters was brought under its control.