|Chan Thein Maung, 48, killed by artillery shell fired by Myanmar army. Family giving last respect.|
Sittway. 24 Nov. 2019
Myanmar army has arrested 45 villagers, killed 2 men, and wounded 5 in Rakhine State between November 11 and 22. The massive arrest of civilians happened 10 days after Gambia filed Rohingya genocide case against Myanmar at International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Myanmar government responded Gambia Aung San Suu Kyi would defend the case.
Analysists warn she is part of the problem because she previously denied all accounts of UN and cooperation. Therefore, her representation at the ICJ is not very much helpful.
The behavior of Myanmar leaders does not change any respect of human rights and prevention of further violation of international humanitarian laws. Their habit of blanket denial and cruel attitude toward other races and religions is main factors of crimes against humanity.
In this week and along with the Gambia lawsuit, Arakan Information Center that closely monitors human rights and war crimes in Rakhine says, “Tatmadaw and government leaders show no sign of restraint targeting civilians. More rights violations and war crimes are committing after the lawsuit.”
Severely torturing, randomly arresting, and indiscriminately shooting at civilians are increasing.
Zaw Win, a volunteer of the local charity organization, said, “Police hand cuffed a man and brought to the hospital. He was severely tortured and injured in his head, nose, and face in the custody. His eyes were almost blinded.”
The injured man is Maung La Yaung and got arrested along with other five villagers in Thayat Tapin village on November 13th. After a landmine exploded and killed the commander of Battalion 374, the soldiers rounded up and arrested the villagers.
Myanmar solders also arrested 12 villagers from Thar Zay Gon village in Rathedaung township at 11 AM on November 20. The soldiers entered into the village while firing their guns aimlessly and then arrested the people.
“There is an explosion and then broke out gunfight between AA and Myanmar army for 2 hours near the village. After it, the soldiers came and arrested them,” one of the villagers said.
Families do not get any news where they are being held but worried they might be killed.
A shell landed in the house and killed a 48 years old man and injured another elderly man in Rathedaung township on November 21. The shell was fired from the government artillery base in Rathedaung in the evening.
Similar aimless firing happened in several villages and injured a half dozen civilian in Kyauktaw and Minbya townships. The shells also killed several villagers.
The violent and atrocity of killing and arresting in Rakhine State is nonstop and every business of Myanmar Tatmadaw. They will never change their behavior of violent unless there is someone to stop.
|AA Commander Gen. Tun Myat Naing sister Yamin Myat told the press, "Is it fair to arrest relative of Tun Myat Naing"|
Myanmar Government Lashed Out Prisoners Exchange in Rakhine
“Some family members who spoked to our news agency want government to negotiate with AA for their loved ones’ freedom.”
Naypaytaw, 16 November 2019
Myanmar President Office Spokesperson Zaw Htay lashed out the offer of Arakan Army for prisoner of war (POW) exchange. He told the press in Naypaytaw yesterday it was non-sense. He did not recognize the arrested 17 officers as POW.
He continued and said President has given order Tatmadaw to launch counter insurgency operation against AA, and he blamed the army it had to do its job effectively.
He was referring the counter insurgency operation to the order given by Aung San Suu Kyi in January when AA attacked several police outposts.
Arakan Army recently released a statement and urged the government and army to exchange 17 officers with the Rakhine prisoners and accused.
The statement said Myanmar army wrongfully arrested many Rakhine people by accusing either affiliated with or members of AA and wished to exchange.
These officers were arrested from Shwe Nadi speed boat in October. The statement said the detainees were well taken care off and would be released according with the exchange agreement.
Arakan Information Center (AiC) documented 350 civilians have been imprisoned since January 2019. Some are under ages.
UN and human rights organizations reported the detainees were tortured and some were killed by severally torturing.
One of the military officers who had been in Rakhine State told our news agency previously the arrested were forced to sign on the papers they were members of AA after cruelly torturing and beating.
AA spokesperson Khaing Thu Kha said Myanmar soldiers randomly arrested the villagers and tortured them to force to admit. They had to choose between death or jailed.
The government spokesman denied AA claim of wrongful arrests and said the Rakhine accused were punished accordingly with the due process laws.
The wife of the police officer from Sagaing Division talked to Open Myanmar News TV and she said, “None of the government officials contacted me and explained how the government was trying to rescue my husband.” She continued, “My husband and other officers are not included in the list of prisoners released by AA. He might be killed and I want to know what happennd to my husband. And, I appeal Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President to help freedom of my husbands and other police officers.”
Myanmar Army Spokesperson Col. Zaw Min Tun told the local news outlets Tatmadaw would rescue the detainees by effective military operations.
Arakan Army attacked three military bases in Rathedaung in the night fall of November 15. Local people reported there were many casualties in attacks.
Leaders of the government and army determine they will rescue the POW by increasing more military operations and use of air powers.
Ma Yamin Myat, sister of AA commander, told the press during her appearance in the court in Yangon on November 15, "Is it fair arresting relatives of Tun Myat Naing.?
She is charged with center terrorism laws. She was arrested at the airport last month when she came and pick up her husband, Kyaw Naing, returning from Thailand.
Her brother Aung Myat Kyaw is also charged with center terrorism laws after he was deported from Singapore in July.
|NLD Chairwoman Aung San Suu Kyi|
Wrong Move of NLD
Kuala Lumpur, 15 November 2019
After decades of parish state under the brutal military dictatorship Snr. Gen. Than Shwe and his predecessor former military general President Thein Sin, Aung San Suu Kyi is elected unanimously along with her party, National League for Democracy (NLD), to govern the country.
Rakhine people hoped she would respect basic rights and reconcile with the ethnic people. The nation would be prosperity and increasing foreign investments. But her attachment on deeper centralized power and ignorance of individual and collective rights widens gaps between the ethnic people and her party.
On November 13, Parliamentary Member DR. Hla Moe submitted a motion in the parliamentary session. He told the Chairman orally the parliament should condemn Arakan Army (AA) that arrested U Whea Tinn, an MP and member of NLD from Paletwa township, Chin State, on November 3.
He said the arrest of the MP is hindering national reconciliation and peace process. Hla Moe is also a member of NLD.
AA released a statement and said the arrested MP was working with Myanmar army and disrupted AA activities and created hatred between the Rakhine and Mro ethnics in Chin State.
Political analysts reckon NLD makes a wrong move. It will help neither the freedom of MP nor reconciliation between the NLD and Rakhine people.
After Dr. Aye Maung, also an MP, was sentenced for 22 years in prison for his free speech, Rakhine people reacted strong resentment toward the NLD. They believed the cruel punishment was politically motivated.
Rakhine people perceive NLD is more racist and Burman nationalists.
The violent killing over the peaceful protesters in Mrauk U in January was unbearable suffering unjust among the Rakhine people.
After Myanmar army launched heavy military operations since January that killed hundreds of civilians, massive arrests, and forced relocating over 70,000 people but silence of Aung San Suu Kyi and her party on the violence, Rakhine people lost all trust and ability of NLD governing.
The recent move and debate on the condemnation against AA will definitely interact Rakhine people more genitive. It will hamper reconciliation and peace with the Rakhine people.
Some Rakhine parliamentary members suggest NLD should debate on how to restore peace in Rakhine State and sharing natural resources instead of condemning AA and co-opted.
|Villagers from Myabon are ruling out of the villager after a pregnant woman was shot and killed and arrested 5 villagers|
A New Phase of Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide Campaign in Rakhine, Myanmar
“In fact, it is leading to a new phase of ethnic cleansing and genocide campaign against the Rakhine ethic, but international community and UN are fail to prevent it.”
Kuala Lumpur, 14 November 2019
Arrests, killing, bombing, force relocations, and disappearance by Myanmar army are increasing in the beginning of dry season in November in Rakhine State. The violence are parts of ethnic cleansing and genocide campaign against the population after Rohingya in 2017. Both the army and elected government are in the same page of genociding the Rakhine people.
November and December are very valuable times for all farmers to cultivate and crop their paddies and rice. However, the heavy military operations and constant attacks on the villagers deter the farmers for copping and earning for living.
Arakan Information Center recorded increase of rights violations on November 1-14: 20 men arrested, 2 men disappeared, and 2 people killed including a pregnant woman and a 70 years old elderly man. Three villagers are injured. Eight hundred villagers are forced to displace.
The military helicopters are bombing and firing missiles in Kyauktaw, Minbya, and Maybon townships consistently. The navy also shells to Muzay Island. All villagers run out of the village after some shells are landed.
On November 10, soldiers shot and killed a 32 years old pregnant woman in Maybon township after she and her husband were coming back from selling fishes in another village. Her husband was also shot in the legs.
Her mother in law told our news agency, “They were very poor. They earned money by selling fishes. They were called by the soldiers near the village to stop. But they did not hear the calls because of the noise of the engine. Then the soldiers shot her chest directly and she died on the spot. The soldier did not do any warning shoots first, but they shot her body instead. ”
No one was accountable for the unlawful killing.
An elderly man of 70 years old was found in burning ground and in the ashes in Htee Sway village, Rathedaung township. U Maung Thein, the volunteer of Buddhist temple and clack, was disappeared since November 1st. His wife and almost villagers have moved to the IDP camp for several months. But he came back to the village to look after his house.
Then the soldiers came to the village. His wife believed he was arrested and killed by the soldiers. Thus, she went to Battalion 551 and other petrol units and asked whether her husband was with them. She got no answer.
But some villagers later found pieces of burning bones, watch, and nail cutter in the ashes near the Buddhist temple.
“There was an old temple and some left over woods. He was placed in the woods and then burned him down. That was what happened to him,” one of the villager told our news agency.
Charity workers and the death woman husband were severely beaten by the soldiers at the Yaw Chung Bridge in Maybon township on November 12. They came by car to Min Phu village, Minbya township, and carrying a death body of his wife from Yangon. Then the soldiers stopped the car on the bridge at 12 mid night.
Then the soldiers quested them and forced them to sit down on the ground and then beat them by rifles. All together of eight people including elderly men who guarded the corpse were also beaten. The driver arm was broken. They were accused of members of Arakan Army. A couple hours later, they were released.
Killing, arresting, and forcing is everyday life of Rakhine people. It will not stop soon.
In this week, a parliamentary member in Naypaytaw submits a motion in the session. The motion is to condemn Arakan Army for arresting a Chin ethnic member of parliament, U Whea Tinn, and a member Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, National League for Democracy (NLD).
The motion said the parliament condemned AA violently arresting the elected MP and disrupting national reconciliation process. The members will debate and condemnation AA in the parliament.
Arakan Army issued a statement and gave the reasons for arresting the MP. The statement said he was working for Myanmar army to cleansing Rakhine population in Paletwa township, Chin State.
AA spokesperson said it is a wrong move of the parliament and supporting the army violent crackdown on the Rakhine. He also said the parliament should treat the similar concern on Rakhine MP Dr Aye Maung, who is sentenced to imprison for 22 years.
Now, every government apparatus becomes in the same machinery of military oppression. Union parliament recently joins with the Tatmadaw to condemn the AA instead of debating on root cause of conflicts and path way for peaceful solution. The motion will definitely support the army to kill more people.
In order to initiate bilateral peace talks, Arakan Army released a statement and called the government and the army to exchange 17 POW, army and police officers, with 350 prisoners of Rakhine people.
But the army spokesperson lashed out the calls of prisoner exchange. He said Tatmadaw would free the POW by harder military operations.
Hardliners and racist officers in military are real problem of conflict increasing in Rakhine. Even worse, every department and ministry including judicial, information, transportation, health, education, home, police, firefighter, and immigration department involvement and working with the army is leading to a police state.
After the speed boat incident, military officers instructed the police to arrest 7 staffs of Shwe Nadi speed boat that was stopped and abducted 50 passengers by AA and later released but kept the members of security force. Then the police brought the accused to the court. Then the government prosecutors filed the cases. The judge easily accepted the prosecution without questioning, and trials will be conducted soon. And then the judge will impose harsh sentence on the 7 staffs in the end.
A lawyer who does want to publish his name said, “This is like an operating machine. The soldiers, police, prosecutors, judges, and government staffs share the same philosophy and believe in which they have to support the army."
He continues and says the government leaders ignore the facts and reality on the grounds, but stay with the same old tribal methods.
When asked him how peace would be restored, he said both the government and army leaders would not be regret at all even if entire population were wiped out of the Rakhine.
Hundreds of people are already killed. Many have been arrested and disappeared, and over 70,000 people are forced to become IDPs in 9 months of operation.
More soldiers are sending to Rakhine, and they will kill more civilians and force to relocate many residents.
Both the government and the army do not have any immediate policy and plan to deal peace with AA, but they believe harder military operation will solve all problems at once.
"In fact, it is leading to a new phase of ethnic cleansing and genocide against Rakhine ethic, but international community and UN are fail to prevent it," the lawyer said.
|Grand mother of killed girl by artillery shell in Pan Myang village crying|
Cruel Violence Increasing in Rakhine State, Myanmar
Kuala Lumpur, 9 November 2019
Violence in Rakhine state has become wild, cruel, and inhumane during the military operation.
Myanmar soldiers killed180 civilians, injured 250, arrested 400 arrested so far. The army forcefully displaced 70,000 villagers. More villagers are taking shelters in this week due to the military clashes between Arakan Army and Myanmar army. It is very much rampaging cruel violence and targeting civilians.
The violence includes decapitated, unlawful cremated, seppuku, tighten up, beaten, and arson.
Two months ago, two men in Kan Htung Gyi village in Maybon township were beheaded, seppukued, and displayed in the market in one morning. The villagers were shock for seeing such inhumanly killed these two men.
They were the residents of the village and very poor casual labors. They disappeared from the village for two days. Then they were displayed with beheaded and put their heads on the seppuku bodies.
Similar beheaded man was displayed in the one the villages in Ann township on the same day.
Our information center sent two reporters to investigate the cruel violent killing but got no specific answer.
Some local people said they were killed by professional and special trained Myanmar soldiers in order to make the community scare and discouraged the local people for supporting AA.
Other said they might be killed by rebel force.
Other than these hearsays, there is no concrete evidence of accountable perpetrators. Our center is still investigating it to get the facts.
In March, one of the members of AA was captured by Myanmar soldier in Pannaygun township. He was killed by stabbing and then opened his belly by Myanmar soldiers. The photos of the violent killing displayed on Facebook. The purpose of the photos displayed were to make the local people discouragement and submission.
But Rakhine public reacted with anger toward the Myanmar army. Some even wrote on social media that they would counter produce the same violent against the security force.
Not so long from the violence photos were seen, some reactionary people stabbed and killed police officers and retired military men in Rakhine state. Several police men and former soldiers were killed violently. But no suspect was being arrested so far.
In addition, five bamboo cutters in Mrauk U township got arrested by Myanmar solider in April. Their aches of cremated bodies were found in the forests where Myanmar soldiers temporarily stayed. Families complained the authority for justice. But none of the perpetrators were found and charged with murder cases.
Very recently, Kyaw Win Naing, 24, and the member of AA, was beheaded and cut of his hands and legs and displayed in the market place in Myitwa village in Paletwa township, Chin State.
He was arrested in a border town of India near the Myanmar border by Indian soldiers and Arakan Liberation Army, one of the rebel forces that signed ceasefire agreement with Myanmar government. He was handed over to Myanmar army before he was killed on October 6.
People in the village were shocked and very scared of the violence.
Very disturbing and shocking violent video was displayed on social media last week. No party took responsibility.
In the video, several men with guns beat up a man with bamboo stake on the bank of buried ground. They beat him until he was completely drained and death. He wished before he died, “My soul returns to my mother and brother and wish AA in peace.”
He died in misery.
This inhumane violent killing video shocked up entire nation. All parties including Myanmar army and AA denied the killing as well as Aarakan Liberation Army.
The most responsible party to investigate and bring the criminals to justice is Myanmar government. It should investigate and charge the crime in court instead of showing it on Facebook.
Moreover, the families of the killed suspects from Lakkar village in Mrauk U township in April told our information center how their loved ones were tortured and killed.
A wife, she does not want mention her name for her own safety, whose husband was killed during the custody told our reporters her husband was hanged and killed after he consistently refused to sign a paper that he was a member of AA. He was tortured and beat for several days by iron bars and wooden rots. He was not fed foods and water for many days. He was forced to drink his own urine.
Last two weeks, our reporters had a chance to interview a military officer who involved in the military operation in Kauktaw and Mrauk Oo townships. He does not want his name published told us the soldiers stopped motorbikes and arrested several villagers. The soldiers arrested them when they carried drinking water bottles. He said it was easy to accuse them when they carried goods and water that were thought to supply to AA. After they got arrested the solider beat them to admit they were members of AA.
He said no one could resist the force admission after harshly torturing even though they were nothing to do with AA. Then the army officer reported to their command center they got AA. Thus, the commander was very satisfied.
The officer said it was part of their campaigns targeting the civilians and made the commander happy.
At one occasion, he told us a man who carried a fired nobble box got arrested after 7 at night. The man explained the soldier he bought the nobble for his sick mother. The officer of the battalion said it did not matter what he brought to his mother, as long as he carried the food at night time, he could be charged with supporting and feeding AA. Since then, the village was disappeared forever.
How many people were disappeared like these we really do not know since there is no internet access and our reporters cannot reach to every village in the rural areas.
In fact, humanity is gone in Rakhine State.
The humanity we believe is symbolism of human loves and compassion towards each other, and this is the way community can survive.
Violence is always counter production of inhumane extremism. The purpose of violent is overt and intentional physically aggregately harming another person and destroy life, liberty, religion, culture, and property in order to achieve one’s wants and desire of submission.
Myanmar soldiers are trained for violence against the rebel forces and the supporters. It mostly leads to killing and torturing civilians. It will not end unless they are deterred and incapacitated by the government and parliamentary law making.
The dry season is coming ahead, and Myanmar army is reinforcing with outnumber of troops to Rakhine State. More fighting and more violence are yielding and unstoppable.
|Arakanese villagers hiding in the forest when Myanmar solider entering into their village|
Essence of Arakan Army Formation, Rationale of Armed Struggle, and What Next
Bangkok, 7 November 2019
Essence of Arakan Army Formation:
Google chat box was alerted and seen a message, “Bother…I am on the run. I get to run to the border.”
It was the summer of 2009, and the chat box message was from Ko Tun Myat Naing, present time Arakan Army Commander General Tun Myat Naing.
Myanmar spies were looking for him and his friends to arrest, suspecting on recruiting young men to form an armed organization. One of his friends was arrested in Kyauk Myaung ward in Yangon when they ran an English speech class that led him for hot pursuit.
His wife gave birth a baby girl for only two months when he was on the run. My concern was his new born baby girl and his wife survival when she needed for his support, mentally and physically.
He asked me how he would be able to get supports from Karen National Union (KNU) and New Mon State Party (NMSP) if he reached to Thai-Myanmar border. My answer was somehow discourageable.
I told him NMSP had signed ceasefire agreement with the military junta, State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). It was difficult for him to get support from the Mon. KNU would be vehemently opposed by Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), an Arakanese armed organization that has allied with and sit in the Karen state for decades.
A couple days later, I got his last message from Myitkyina , the capital city of Kachin State. He wrote me he would not be able to communicate for sometimes, and said, “Good bye.”
Three years later, I met him in Thailand when he came to attend an ethnic conference in 2012. We longingly hugged each other and joy with excitement for seeing again. I noticed his personality he was firm, confident, and full of dream with modest political and military strategies.
At one point, he told me it was easy to penetrate his fighters into Arakan State. I wondered how he would do it since our modern Arakan revolution history showed three attempted were fail. All leaders were killed in misery.
First one was Arakan Independent Organization (AIO) led by university professor San Kyaw Tun. He was killed by Myanmar army ambush in Chin State in 1970s when his troop were going back to Arakan. Similarity, Khaing Moe Lun, leader of ALP, was killed along with his fighters in the battle on India-Chin State order areas. Lastly, Bo Razar, commander of Arakan Army, was shot and killed by India army in Adman sea along with his Karen colleagues in 1998.
For now, over 7,000 young and well trained fighters of AA have been operating in Rakhine State and fighting against the Myanmar army in a dozen of townships, covering one and half million rural people.
Rationale of Armed Struggle:
Ko Tun Myat Naing’s dream is always big and interesting. First time, I met him on Thai-Myanmar border in 2004. At that time, he was working with Arakan Students and Youths Congress (AASYC) for Shwe gas movements, a huge amount of gas with billions dollar worth found in Arakan offshore and tried to pipe it out to China. He was collecting fact of rights abuses and land confiscations by the Myanmar government in Kyaukphyu. In his heart, he felt hurts because Arakakn people were left out of benefits sharing.
Then, I met him again at the Arakan National Council (ANC) Conference in New Delhi in 2006. I vividly recalled at that time he complained me I was not a supporter of armed struggle but political solution. But his interested in ANC was very grim later on.
Arakan National Council was formed with armed organizations, political parties, students, youths, women, workers, and Buddhist monk associations in 2004 in India. Its aim was a preparation of a united platform to have dialogue with Myanmar government for federation and self-rule. Its theme was, “From ANC unity to emerge Arakan National Congress with all walks of life, and then from Arakan National Congress to form an Arakan National Government in order to manage the state affairs as self-rule under the federated nation states.
The news of ANC formation attracted a huge attention in Arakan State by youths, students, politicians, and rural populations. They hoped ANC might fulfill their historic request for freedom and prosperity. They had never witnessed such a big unity with all armed organizations and civil societies and stood up together. They believed it must be something changing in history.
Several educated young men came to India-Myanmar border where one of the ANC member’s armed groups had a military outpost. They came from Sittway and wanted to get military training and guns. Some stayed for years and waiting for ANC approval. They told the council almost every young man and woman was interested in for armed fight against the Burmese and that was the only option to regain the freedom.
Ko Tun Myat Naing was not a short one giving attention on the ANC. He was a university student and general secretary of Rakhine student union at that time. He and his friends worked very hard and recruited over three thousand students to join ANC if it called for armed struggle.
Members of ANC split in the second conference on the agenda of formation of an armed wing. ALP opposed the idea of formation when Democratic Party of Arakan (DPA), Nationalities United Party of Arakan (NUPA), and AASYC agreed. Arakan League for Democracy (ALD) in exile sit neutral ground on the debate.
He observed the conference resolution and felt exhausted on it.
ANC was broken up into two groups in 2009, disagreement in political leaderships and resignation of ALP from the council. Now, it is almost nonexistent.
Ko Tun Myat Naing and his friend went back to Myanmar after the conference by land routes and shortly stopped by in Kachin State where one of his colleagues had already had contacted with Kachin Independent Organization (KIO).
Three years later and when ANC was weak, he showed up in Liza, the headquarter of KIO. Then he and his colleagues of nine started rationalizing on formation of Arakan Army.
Along with 29 members, he found the AA in 2009. Now, it has 10,000 regular volunteer fighters and 10,000 reserved fighters, some remaining in Kachin and Northern Shan State.
It was an interesting time in Myanmar for peace talks. The political landscape had been changed in Myanmar in 2010. SPDC transferred power to the elected government under the leadership of President Thein Sein. He opened peace talks with the ethnic armed organizations in 2012.
Arakan Army actively participated in the peace talks, but it was excluded to sign the nationwide ceasefire agreement in 2015. Then, AA had no other choices but to face the harsh treatment and discrimination by the government and army. AA leaders made double efforts to recruit more young men and women for their army.
AA sent more troops to India-Burma border in 2016. One of the remarkable fights was broken out in thick jungles and in high mountains in Taw Phya Chung area in the summer of 2018, between Kyauktaw and Pannaygun township in the north. Some local people told at least 800 Myanmar soldiers were killed during the weeklong fights. This defeated news of Myanmar army separated the entire state so quickly. People reacted with amazed and confident.
One of the law makers, who did not want to mention his name, explained the event as Russians were defeating Germans in Stalingrad. He said Rakhine people felt like, “Wow..wow…we can kill Burmese soldiers. They die with our bullets. They are no longer immortal men we used to afraid of. We get power; we get AK47.”
On the Peace Talks:
Gen. Tun Myat Naing is proactive man of peace. He actively participated in a numbers of united effort and meetings that were preparing for peace talks and political dialogue with Myanmar government. He firmly stood on federalism.
The preparation meeting later led to Arakan National Conference in Kyaukphyu in 2014. AA deputy commander Dr. Nyo Tun Aung and Col. Kyaw Han attended in the conference.
That conference definitely opened up wider political eyes for the Arakan people. It proved it when Arakan National Party (ANP) won landslide victory in the 2015 national election. People hope it might be able form a state government and got self-rule as ANC had laid down its strategy of self-rule. But Aung San Suu Kyi picked up her own loyal man U Nyi Pu and put ANP aside.
I clearly recalled an event in Thailand in 2012. After the meeting was concluded with unanimous decision that all parties in the meeting agreed “Federalism” was every negotiator core aim for peace talks and political dialogue with the Myanmar government, we had a good dinner party at the hotel in Chiagng Mai. Everyone danced with joy like they forgot all environment surrounding because we achieved all parties united on federalism.
Gen. Tun Myat Naing gave a speech from the stage and thanked to ALP Chairman Khaing Ray Khaing for his approval for federalism. He said, “I will jump out of the window and kill myself if Arakan will get independence tomorrow that much I love my nation. But at right now, we have to stick on federalism that you (Khaing Ray Khine) agree with us for now even though you have stood up for independence for the rest of your life. Thank you, and I salute you.”
Everyone stood up and applauded for several minutes after his speech.
During the meeting, we had formed a national unity making committee and that committee held a number of parallel meetings. First work was to organize for national conference, and the second coordination was to unite all armed organizations under one banner while negotiating peace with the government.
Gen. Tun Myat Naing actively participated in some meetings and helped out for unity effort. But at that time, splinter of ANC did not participate in any meeting but separately negotiated peace with the government under the membership of United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC).
In all parallel efforts, only national conference was successful and able to hold it in Kyauk Phyu. The rest were fail.
ALP did not agree to form a united negotiation team under one banner, but it wished to allay with AA only. Then ALP signed bilateral ceasefire agreement with the government in 2015 without AA. Some observer said ALP played with a game whereas Gen. Tun Myat Naing was pushed on the corner of Arakan political theater and peace process.
The rest, DPA and NUPA, had no place for the peace talks and political dialogue. All the efforts to form a collative dialogue team for 3 years and money were wasted but learned a bad lesson of disunity.
Materialistic Figure of Tatmadaw:
Before AA was kicked out of the ceasefire agreement, I had given several options to Myanmar government. First, AA could be one of the good partners to help people and the government in transition time if it was allowed to participate in political dialogue process. Second, AA could be a border guard unit and could work with the government security forces. And the third, government should let them all come back to Rakhine State and provided a territory where they could stay and work with the people for infrastructure and social development projects.
But the government came up with a number of reasons. First reason was that AA was a newcomer and formed it during democratically elected government and transitional times; the second thing was AA members were workers in Jade mines and recruited. Third reason was that AA’s boss was KIO and when KIO signed the ceasefire agreement, AA would be kicked out of Kachin state and no place to run; forth, Tatmadaw could fight AA in Rakhine land very easily because it was unlike Kachin, Shan, and Karen states that are close to China and Thailand borders.
In my mind, it went like a shocking moment the leaders of military and the government, mostly Burmese, were judging on materialistic figure. They did not realize how deepest pain of heart the Rakhine people felt in neglected for long times. It is too hurt in their memory of oppression, marginalization, and exploitation. These gross unacceptance of central rule and strongest resentment of injustice resembled the finest opportunity for AA.
I had a chance to visit to the fighting ground in Pan War, yellow flower, in Bangladesh and near the Rakhine border in 2007. There was a small mountain called Dar Moe Taung, knife shell mountain it is meant, where Arakanese fighters overcame the Burmese troops and their brave and famous knight namely Maha Bandula, commander-in-chief of the Royal Burmese Force, in 1823. The battle was known as Pan War and Ramu war.
Pan War and Ramu provinces were parts of the Arakan Kingdom in 18 Century and later became parts of East India under the British rule. These villages are now under Bangladesh.
An elderly man from the village told me how Mahar Bandula was defeated. The Arakanese forces led by Prince Shwe Bam showed up his troops on hillside when other forces were hiding in Dar Moe Taung. General Bandula confronted the visible troops. Shwe Bam attacked the Burmese from the mountain and behind. The Burmese troops were heavily suffered and broken the formation. Then Mahar Bandula withdrew his troops quickly and went back to Danubyu to defend the royal army base. The British and Arakan combine force attacked Danubyu, and he was killed in the battle on April 1, 1825.
Similarly, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of Myanmar Armed Force, is defeated in Arakan State as his hero Maha Bandula happened while confronting with the Arakanese fighters.
Myanmar Time published a story on November 6 by army spokesperson Zaw Min Tun quotes. He admitted Myanmar army could not win the war against AA. He said the army would easily defeat AA if it was regular formation and had bases in the mountains. But AA members were mixed with the villagers and town people. At the same time, the army had to concern international laws, humanitarian laws, and human rights and that was why it could not achieve its goal even though the army has been fighting for almost one year he said.
His revelation is true fact that Myanmar army is losing war in Arakan front. Local observers estimated over 3,000 soldiers were killed including many high ranking officers. Air supports and navy forces are also ineffective.
However, the commander-in-chief is still arrogant and refusing to admit the defeated.
According to reliable sources, Myanmar army is practicing Russian made jet fighters in Meiktila. The jets will be used to bomb in Arakan hills in this dry season. The army will increase six to eight jet fighters, adding up three to five more jets in the operation. They will use fire bombs to burn down thick forests and trees in the mountains. Then the ground forces will attack on AA bases.
Military analysts doubt the massive bomb campaigns will impact on AA but inviting international cretinism and violation of Bangladeshi and Indian air boundaries.
On the other hand, AA is preparing to defend the heavy attacks and will hold all the grounds. They will keep hit-and-run tactic and guerrilla warfare to make Myanmar forces impossible to advance.
Election in Limbo:
Myanmar government and NLD will be busy with preparation for 2020 national election. Let the army alone handle the military operation.
On the other hand, AA wants the election discontinue, especially in the northern constituencies where the armed clashes are persistent. It can show off influence of power on the central government and get international attention.
Election laws has a clause that the election commission has power to cancel the ballots when voters are danger and insecure.
Some political parties are concerned the election cancelation is bad for all, due the fighting between Myanmar army and AA.
But local people are not interested in the election. They think it will not change anything since 2008 constitution is still in place. President will pick up a loyal man from the winner party, mostly from Burman dominated party.
However, ANP believes it will win majority seats in the northern Arakan if the election is held. They believe there is an opportunity to bargain power sharing and formation of a state government.
For Myanmar government, holding free and fair election in Arakan State is a test. If the government could not carry out the election, its credibility was questionable. It would be a political epidemic to other conflicting regions such as Shan north and Kachin north.
Either United Nations (UN) or Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) can come up with lists of options including three months unilateral ceasefire agreement in the election periods and guarded by international observation volunteers on the ballots. Buddhist monks and respectable Rakhine elderlies can also go up in the middle for election period and a short ceasefire agreement and allow only the local volunteers to guard the ballots along with the election commission.
The best solution is to make ceasefire agreement with AA before the election and let the IDPs return to their villages. For this, NLD government has to work harder to achieve peace.
There is no way military solution will help peaceful election in the Arakan State. The people have already determined they will face all kinds of hardship and war circumstances unless they achieve the goal of greater autonomy and natural resources sharing.
If the NLD government is fail to act quickly in order to produce a pragmatic solution of having peace through dialogue, AA will step up and declare its own administration as semi government in its held territories. Then, more complication will be looming and creating political chaos.
Note Passing. The author of this article is Nyi Nyi Lwin and Executive Director of Arakan Think Tank and Arakan Information Center and Chief Editor of Arakan News.
|A Myanmar Army's high ranking officer photo, who killed in Rakhine frontline|
Vietnam Like War in Rakhine, Myanmar, Impending
Sittway, 3 November 2019
Myanmar army known as Tatmadaw leaders believed they would win easily the war against Arakan Army, a defiant armed organization of Rakhine ethnic in western part of Myanmar. Nine months later and met with major losses, they learned lessons, they would not win the war cheaply.
Tatmadaw has been reinforcing with Light Infantry Divisions (LID) such as 22, 33, 55, and 77 from Southern Shan State and mainland Myanmar, combining with the existing battalions in Rakhine State, in order to defeat the rebel group since January.
The military planners in Naypaytaw are under estimated the ability of AA fighting forces. First, the generals declared unilateral ceasefire for four months but excluded Rakhine State. Then they extended twice. On the other hand, they sent several LIDs to Rakhine and launched aggressive operations in Paletwa, Chin State, and several townships in northern Rakhine in earlier months of 2019.
At that time, AA troops were only operating near India and Bangladesh borders and in Chin State and Bbuthidaung areas. Some were operating in thick forests and high mountains in Ponnaygun township.
After AA faced major attacks on their bases in the borders and supported by air powers including jet fighters and helicopter gunships and well as multi rocket launchers, AA commanders restrategized and split its forces into smaller units with 50 and 150 fighters and assembled to Mrauk U, Kyauktaw, Minbya, Rathedaung, Maybon, Ponnaygun, Buthidaung, Maungdaw, and Ann townships. Then they launched hit-and-run attacks on the Myanmar soldiers.
Arakan Army fighters sometimes attacked on strategic artillery stations and navy. They also attacked on smaller police outposts.
The fighters once controlled over the strategic military station in Paletwa township in June. It also seized a couple of artillery bases in Mrauk U and Minbya townships in April and October.
It attacked police outpost in Yawtayoke and Mrauk U in last dry season, and a dozens of police were killed.
AA fighters use Wi-Fi and Blue Tooth remote control landmines and attack on Myanmar soldiers when the troops stay and block villages, aiming to deter AA members to enter into the villages to collect foods and rations.
These hit and run guerrilla tactics and Wi-Fi and Blue Tooth landmines attacks are very effectives. Many soldiers are killed and paralyzed the blockages.
The tactic of blocking and use of “4-Cut” strategy by Myanmar army is to cut AA collection of foods and contacts with the villagers in the raining season.
Sometimes, Myanmar army collectively attacks AA bases in the mountains and forests supported by helicopter gunships.
Both strategies are fail, but AA is surviving and even advancing its troops in the monsoon weather. The advance makes generals headache. In return, Myanmar army arrest villagers, burn the houses, and forces to relocate 70,000 villagers who live near the mountains and forests.
The most advantage of AA is its sophisticated communication system and support of local people. It gets news and information of Myanmar troop mobilizations in advance, mostly from the villagers and travelers even though Myanmar government cut off internet services. AA knows where the soldiers are heading to and stationing at.
In a minute of the soldiers move out of the villages by foots or by cars, the landmines are laid down. It explodes and kills the soldiers on the roadsides shortly.
Most coordinated attacks by Myanmar soldiers on AA bases are setback and withdrew confusedly. The soldiers even get surprise attacks in the middle of preparation.
For nine months of Myanmar army offensive, it cannot show and prove a single AA base is seized and destroyed.
For nine months of Myanmar army offensive, it cannot show and prove a single AA base is seized and destroyed.
One of the military analysists told our information center that some generals are disappointed the LID 22, 33, 55, and 77 that have been posted in Rakhine frontlines for almost one years. They are exhausted and tired. Their morale is very low. They do not want to fight anymore. They need to replace with other LIDs. But the generals have no other options. Tension is high between the Shan State Army and Tatmadaw in southern Shan State.
One of the military officers who had been Rakhine frontline and does not want to use his name for security reason told us Myanmar army is in fact losing wars in Rakhine. He said it is like Americans were losing war in Vietnam.
He said, air support was ineffective. Jet fighters had to fly from mainland Myanmar to Rakhine. It took at least 30 to 45 minutes to reach the fighting areas. At that time, AA fighters had already disappeared. Then the jets drooped all the bombs and fired missiles because the commanders were not happy if the pilots brought back unfired rockets.
The helicopters are the most ineffective ones, the officer said, because it cannot dock in Sittway and Buthedaung. When the helicopters are docked at that places, AA comes and attacks. Then shoppers have to fly from Ann military base. It takes at least 45 minutes or one hour to reach the fighting grounds. Then, the shoppers have to drop all the bombs and empty the rockets whether there are AA fighters in place or not. Most of the times, the pilots missed the targets.
He said when Myanmar army send the nary, it is attacked. Most rivers and brooks are narrow and shallow, he said
He said the highest-ranking generals in Naypaytaw know it well how many soldiers and officers are killed in Rakhine operation. But they are reluctant to admit it.
One day, they will come up and say Myanmar government will negotiate with AA. But it needs a third party for face saving, he told our center.
It is true, Rakhine war becomes exactly like Vietnam war. Rakhine people and AA fighters are unseparatable. They believe self-rule is the best answer for the quest of freedom and prosperity.