Armed Group Pledges To Safeguard Its People

After meeting with the government for peace talks the Arakan Army (AA) reveals aspirations of establishing permanent bases in Rakhine State.

By Network Media Group
March 23, 2019

Leaders from Arakan Army (AA), which is currently fighting with the Burma Army, said they want to establish bases in Rakhine State to protect their people after meeting for peace talks in the National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC) in Naypyitaw,

“Only the Arakan Army can take responsibility for the security and development of the Rakhine people,” AA spokesperson Col Kyaw Han told journalists waiting outside of recent peace talks in the nation’s capital.

All eight armed organizations not in nationwide ceasefire agreements (NCA) with the government were invited to join the meeting.

In the past, the Burma Army refused to meet with AA that formed in 2012, and several other NCA non-signatories that also took up arms around the same time.

Tin Myo Win, deputy chairman of NRPC and senior leader from ruling NLD party, called Rakhine State a “white region.” Armed groups are trying to establish a military presence in the state and its forced the government to implement security measures, he said.

“Regarding this opening speech, what I understand is the Burma army doesn’t accept the existence of Arakan army in Rakhine state,” Col. Kyaw Han said.

Clashes have intensified in Arakan State since AA attacked police stations on Independence Day.

U Zaw Htay, director general of Burma President’s office, said despite all that has happened the door is still open for peace negotiations with the AA.

“The (AA) attacks occurred when we were negotiating for the signing of NCA. As the government we are doing two tasks at the same time and will never close the path for negotiation. We will continue to discuss and negotiate with them. We are doing what we can to restore regional stability and peace,” U Zaw Htay said.

Fighting between AA and the Burma Army has moved to the ancient city of Mrauk-U in northern Rakhine State. Late last year, the government sent an application to UNESCO to have it recognized as a World Heritage site.

Locals were terrified when the Burma Army started searching their homes looking for AA soldiers.

Clashes have also been happening in Paletwa township in southern Chin State and four other townships in northern Rakhine State.