Myanmar Army Seizure of Alleged Arakan Army Training Camp Draws AA Denial

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Wooden rifles are among the military training equipment seized by Myanmar forces at what they said was an Arakan Army training camp in the hills east of Pan Myaung village, Mrauk-U township, western Myanmar's Rakhine state, April 13, 2019.
Wooden rifles are among the military training equipment seized by Myanmar forces at what they said was an Arakan Army training camp in the hills east of Pan Myaung village, Mrauk-U township, western Myanmar's Rakhine state, April 13, 2019.
Photo courtesy of Myanmar's Commander-in-Chief's Office

Myanmar troops seized an Arakan Army training camp the hills of turbulent Rakhine state’s Mrauk-U township on Saturday, finding weapons, ammunition, and food reserves, a government military spokesman said, though a representative for the rebel group denied the claim, suggesting that it was a fabrication.

Brigadier General Win Zaw Oo, spokesman for the military’s Western Regional Command which is responsible for Rakhine state, told RFA’s Myanmar Service that the AA set up the base east of Pan Myaung village as a temporary camp while fighting government soldiers.

“We have been trying to capture the facility step-by-step since March 19 during clearance operations,” he said. “We first had armed engagements with them before we captured it around 2:30 p.m. yesterday.”

“As it was announced, we found huts and residential facilities for 200-300 people and trenches,” he said. “We also found some equipment used for training.”

Win Zaw Oo said the seizure of the camp was the second training facility the Myanmar Army had captured during hostilities with the AA which escalated early this year after Arakan fighters carried out deadly attacks on police outposts in northern Rakhine.

Myanmar forces took hold of the other camp east of Mrauk-U's Tain Nyo village in March.

“We captured a small training facility with food, rice, and pots for cooking that were used by AA members,” he said.

Residents of Pan Myaung village and other communities in Mrauk-U informed Myanmar military columns about the locations of AA training grounds and camps in nearby ridges and said they were subjected to threats and assaults by the Arakans, state-run Myanmar News Agency reported Monday.

Myanmar forces searched the ridges near the village and began armed operations against the AA on March 19, engaging in 20 battles in a campaign that ended in the capture of the temporary training ground on April 13, the report said.

AA soldiers stationed at the training camp then fled to the southwest and northwest, it said.

'Lying to their superiors'

AA spokesman Khine Thukha denied the military’s claim, saying that the Arakan force did not set up any training facilities at the location east of Pan Myaung village mentioned in an announcement by the Myanmar military.

“[Regarding] what they mentioned in the announcement, they might be referring to huts built by some woodcutters and local villagers for hunting activities,” he said.

He also charged that Myanmar military officials made up the story, asserting that they often fabricate tales about victories during clashes when they report to their superiors to avoid being reprimanded by the top brass.

“The death toll from the military has been high, especially in the past few months,” Khine Thukha said. “Some soldiers were killed in battle, but they were [falsely] listed as deserters. There are cases where the commanding officers were punished for showing so many deserters.”

“A commanding officer and a tactical operation commander were recently reprimanded for this charge,” he said. “Top leaders of the military are lying to the state, while the officers at the bottom are lying to their superiors. I think this announcement is exactly what that is.”

The Myanmar Army has yet to disclose how many of its soldiers have been killed in the hostilities.

Khine Thukha also noted a similar announcement by Myanmar forces about capturing AA training facilities in the Yan Chaung area of Mrauk-U township.

“In reality, there are no training facilities in that area,” he said.  “It is the same in this case. We don’t have any training facility in the Pan Myaung area.”

Reporting the truth

But Win Zaw Oo countered that Myanmar soldiers have been reporting the truth to their superiors and that the two seized camps — the one east of Pan Myaung village and the other one east of Tain Nyo village — definitely had been set up for training purposes.

“We have reasons to conclude it is a training facility,” he said, pointing to military training equipment found at the site near Pan Myaung village and to the testimony of people the Myanmar Army recently captured as suspected AA soldiers supporters following a deadly attack last week by the Arakans on a police battalion headquarters and residential unit in Mrauk-U township.

“[After] a large force of AA members attacked our police facility and then dispersed, we arrested 23 people suspected of being AA members,” Win Zaw Oo, adding that four other were later apprehended, bringing the total to 27.

“According to the testimonies of these detainees, we could confirm that many local villagers had had received [some kind of] training at that facility,” he said.

Reported by Nay Rein Kyaw for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Ye Kaung Myint Maung. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

Comments (4)

Sai Lin Kan

@Henery. You know nothing about Burma. BIA is the Burma Independence Army that was formed by our leader late Gen Aung San father of Daw Aung San Su Kyi in 1941. BIA was formed in to remove the British colony Government from Burma soil. The BIA defeated the British Colony Army and the British had to flee to Calcutta, India. However, the Japanese Government didn’t keep its promise to give the Burma Independence. BIA was reformed as BNA (Burma National Army) under Japanese rule and declared war against the Imperial Japanese Army on 27 March 1945 because the Japanese Government refused to give true independence as it’s promised before. Gen Aung San was showered with highest the Order of the Rising Sun award and rank, but Gen Aung San didn’t care those awards and rank. He only cares for his peoples and his country. The BIA was very honorable Army.
BIA is nothing to do with the today Burmese Military (Tatmadaw).
Do you think ethnic minority peoples are supporting their ethnic Army in their area?
You’re wrong if you think their ethnic peoples support them in their area. Ethnic minority armed groups are as bad as the Burmese Army and its soldiers.
However, the Burmese Military and its soldiers were disciplined and taken action if they have done wrong in front line since the NLD and Daw Aung San Su Kyi Government came to the power.
I have been involved in Burmese politic for nearly 50 years now. My brother was jailed in 1969 for leading students in 1969 Southeast Asian Peninsular Game student movement. I was too jailed for my political activity in 1988.
I’m not blindly supporting the Burmese Military. Also, I believe the Burmese military is changing it attitude and Army officers and soldiers were more discipline than former dictator Gen Than Shwe and former President Gen Thein Sein. Some officers and soldiers may have committed war crimes in ethnic minority area but it was not wide-spread as foreign journalists reported.
There are many honorable, good and braved officers and soldiers in today Burma Army. Than Shwe was most corrupted General and worst military dictator in Burmese history. Than Shwe and his family were still protecting by network of his loyal Generals even though he was retired decade ago.
Than Shwe had completely destroyed the honor of the Burmese Military and the Army combat quality as well as ethical and morality of soldiers.
We need to see a clear view about past and current Burmese military. The Burmese Army was one of the best Army in the world. However, we saw the Burmese Army combat quality and morality was slipping away under former dictator Gen Than Shwe and former President Thein Sein because the Army had forcefully recruited under age child soldiers and many convicted illiterate criminals into the Army. Also the Gen Than Shwe had allowed the military officers to commit corrupt and crime as long as they support him. Today, you’re reading stories about the Burmese (Myanmar) Military (Tatmadaw) and not about BIA (Burma Independence Army).
Current the AA strategy and policy is trying to divide between Rakhine peoples and Burmese peoples, destabilized the Rakhine region by attacking on Police station which do not clash or attack the AA. The duty of the Police and border guards is protect civilians from the Islamic terrorist group the ARSA members whom they cross from the Bangladeshi border into Burma for steals farmers’ livestock and to kill Buddhist Rakhine and other Buddhist ethnic minority villages. The AA spoke person Khine Thu Kha is running the AA propaganda machine and he is the biggest liar. The AA was spreading rumor and faked story for destabilizing in the region and creating distrust between Rakhine and Burmese community. The AA wills never success to declare independence autonomy state because the federation system is only peaceful transition for all Burmese ethnics. Today, the AA was strong because of the KIA supplied them with weapons and ammunition as well as money.
If the AA wants to be a real ethnic Army, which fighting for their rights and then the AA must change its attitude like sending bullets to News Agency, the Journalists whom report the AA as a terrorist organization in the their news. The AA murdered Buddhist Rakhine villages’ heads and Police officers. Also, they sent parcel bomb and innocent Police officer’s wife was killed by the AA parcel bomb. The AA committed crimes, but their spoke person denied its involvement. The AA threatens to civilians who didn’t support or ignore their demand and later they were senselessly shooting by the AA soldiers as warning to all civilians and village heads not to oppose the AA. That’s why I call the AA activity was terrorism and not the revolution ethnic army. The AA must stop kidnapping civilians, killing village chief and innocent peoples, sending bullets to Journalists, village heads and Police station. If the AA wants peace and reconciliation between Rakhine ethnic and Burmese Government and then the AA needs to negotiate with the Government’s National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC).

Apr 19, 2019 02:30 PM


@Sai Lin Kan, everyone in Burma knows which army is behaving like terrorist organization. Burma Army (BIA) is Biggest Terrorist Organization because they are killing innocent civilians, burned down the villages . You need to listen what the local people are saying at warzone. What a shame on @ Sai Lin Kan. I can't believe you are supporting Burmese terrorist army ,the infamous ,brutal army. There is no doubt you are Burmese Army Soldier who is a murderer killing innocent children and pregnant women, the elderly.

Apr 17, 2019 03:01 PM

Sai Lin Kan

AA is becoming a terrorist organization rather than ethnic minority Army because the AA kidnapping civilians and senseless murdering of village leaders as well as attacking on Border guard post and Police Station.
AA spokesman Khine Thukha is a liar. I won't support current the AA policy and its action.
The Burmese military must understand the AA was declaring Guerrilla warfare and Media warfare against Burmese Army, Border guards and Police. The Army can trap the AA by using their informers. Arresting all the AA supporters won’t sort the problem. The Burmese Army should not arrest the AA informers and supporters but they should be put under surveillance and feed them mix information and trap the AA.The Burmese military used to have many bright and brilliant officers for such operation.

The important thing is the Burmese military needs to cut the AA’s ammunition supply route from KIA. The AA has to attack weak Police Station for to get their ammunition and weapons if they can’t get their need from the KIA.
The AA victory in Rakhine state is short-lived. Burmese Military should avoid confrontation with ethnic Rakhine peoples. The Rakhine peoples believe the rumor they heard from the AA source. The AA has winning Media war over the Government and the Military at the moment.
Currently, the AA has a huge supporting from the Rakhine peoples and they believe the AA can achieve an independent Rakhine state by fighting against Burmese military.
The Military needs counter Psychological warfare against the AA and in the Rakhine state. The Burmese military needs cleaver strategy to win war over the AA.

Apr 17, 2019 11:09 AM

Anonymous Reader

It is a very funny story created by Myanmar Military as AA training Camp.

Apr 16, 2019 06:42 AM





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