Four Burmese soldiers have been killed after their column came under attack during a patrol in the country’s western Arakan state.
Fighting between the army’s Light Infantry Battalion 55 and the Arakan Liberation Army (ALA), which operates in the region, lasted around one hour, according to Khine Thukha, joint secretary of the group’s political wing, the Arakan Liberation Party.
The column had been patrolling in Latpanwa, an area close to Paletwa on the Bangladeshi-Burma border, on 3 January when fighting broke out.
“It was an intense fight that lasted for about one hour,” Khine Thukha said. “Four enemy soldiers were killed and two were injured, while their outpost also took heavy damage.” He added that one ALA solider was killed.
The attack was launched “to signal that we have to continue our fight for independence and to stress that the ALA will be stepping up its military action in 2011,” he continued.
The ALA was formed in the late 1960s with the assistance of the Karen National Union to push for autonomy from the central government. Eruptions of fighting such as this in Arakan state are, however, rare.