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What’s happening in Myanmar’s Rakhine State?

What’s happening in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State is worth your attention. The Arakan Army now controls 10 towns in Rakhine and one in southern Chin State. It has seized around 180 military outposts since it launched an offensive on Nov. 13.

TRANSCRIPT—What’s happening in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State is worth your attention.

The Arakan Army now controls 10 towns in Rakhine and one in southern Chin State.

It has seized around 180 military outposts since it launched an offensive on November 13th.

The AA took control of Buthidaung Township in northern Rakhine on May 18 – six months after fighting began. 

It forced all residents to evacuate the town. Buthidaung is home to an estimated 260,000 Rohingya. Many are accusing the AA of looting and burning down their homes.

Khaing Thukha, the AA spokesperson, denied these accusations and blamed the military and Rohingya armed groups.

The National Unity Government said the military was responsible for stoking communal tension between ethnic Rakhine and Rohingya.

Human Rights activist Yasmin Ullah called on the NUG to also mention the AA.

“Who can you protect really in this country? If you cannot utter the word in fear of upsetting an armed group, well then what are you good for as a government?”

Yasmin Ullah

Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, said that he is alarmed over violence against the Rohingya.

“We call on all military and political leaders, as well as community influencers to do their part to de-escalate and defuse attempts to reignite intercommunal tensions and to avoid the repetition of past human rights atrocities that we have seen in Rakhine State.”

Stephane Dujarric

Volker Türk, the UN Human Rights Chief, called on both sides to pause fighting. In order to allow aid organizations to access civilians. 

Internet access and mobile phone networks have been cut in most townships of northern Rakhine, states the Burmese Rohingya Organization UK. 

Residents of Thandwe Township, in southern Rakhine, said that electricity and telecommunications were cut on May 17. In villages north of Thandwe along the road to Taungup, the shutdown began May 15. 

Military analysts predict that Sittwe will soon fall to the AA. This would be the first state capital to be taken by resistance forces since the 2021 military coup.

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