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Rakhine rumbles amid tensions between Myanmar's military and rebels

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Recent clashes between the Arakan Army and the military have prompted concerns about the year-long ceasefire's stability.

The historically restive far-western state of Rakhine has remained largely tranquil since Myanmar's military staged a coup against Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government on February 1, provoking huge rioting.

Recent clashes, however, have sparked fears that an informal truce established in the long-troubled area in November last year is breaking down, even as armed insurrection spreads across the country.


While fighting was reported on several days in the second week of November, Arakan Army (AA) Spokesperson Khaing Thu Kha only stated that the rebel group was involved in a single two-hour conflict on November 9, when regime troops "deliberately" invaded an AA-controlled territory.

"There was a brief clash to defend the territory," Khaing Thu Kha stated, adding that the situation had cooled down and the military did not appear to intend to press further.


The military, for its part, has denied any clashes with the AA, claiming that it instead fought with the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), the same Rohingya armed group that attacked a police outpost in 2017, sparking a brutal counterinsurgency that sent over 700,000 Rohingya civilians fleeing to Bangladesh.
The crackdown is currently being investigated as genocide by the International Criminal Court.

On November 10, military spokesman General Zaw Min Tun told Radio Free Asia, "It did not happen with the AA."
ARSA announced on November 15 that it has engaged in combat with the military on November 7, 9, and 11.


The AA is a more formidable opponent than ARSA, having battled the Myanmar military to a standstill after two years of harsh fighting, which many have described as the country's bloodiest civil war in decades.

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