YANGON: Thirteen policemen were killed and nine injured in early morning attacks on Friday on police outposts in Myanmar’s Rakhine state by the insurgent Arakan Army, state media reported.
The Arakan Army is a rebel group seeking autonomy for Rakhine state from Myanmar’s central government.
It has no links with the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, a Muslim insurgent group whose similar attacks in 2017 sparked a bloody government counterinsurgency campaign against the area’s Muslim Rohingya minority, driving more than 700,000 to flee to Bangladesh.
While the Muslim ARSA group has become virtually inactive, the Arakan Army, which is aligned with the state’s Buddhist population, has taken advantage of the area’s instability to increase its military activities after training its guerrillas in regions controlled by other insurgent groups, including the Kachin in northern Myanmar.
There has been an upsurge in sporadic fighting between the Arakan Army and government forces since last month.
The state Myanmar News Agency said a total of 250 members of the Arakan Army took part in the attacks on three outposts in Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships.