Locals report new clash between Arakan Army, military in Maungdaw

Locals told Myanmar Now that gunfire and heavy weaponry heard in northern Maungdaw Township, Rakhine State on Tuesday was likely a confrontation between the military and the Arakan Army (AA). 

A man from the ethnic Dainget village of Yay Nauk Ngar Thar—off of the road connecting the towns of Maungdaw and Kha Maung Seik to the north—said residents heard up to four shells being fired at 11am from the forest around five miles away. 

“Even the ground was shaking,” said the man, describing the artillery blasts. 

He said the fighting broke out after military troops crossed into AA territory, and lasted around 15 minutes. 

Another resident of the area said he heard the gunfire. 

“I think the AA clashed with the military. The source of the noises was quite far from the village,” the second local said. 

Villagers from Northern Maungdaw said that they witnessed the military sending reinforcement troops to the region on Tuesday afternoon after the alleged clash, and were worried about battles resuming.

AA information officer Khine Thukha told Myanmar Now that he had received no information on the fighting but confirmed that a clash would have broken out if the military had trespassed into AA territory.  

Myanmar Now was unable to obtain further details about the incident. 

The AA and the military negotiated an informal ceasefire in November of last year after two years of escalating battles that displaced more than 200,000 people, according to Rakhine civil society estimates. 

Around 200 locals were arrested by the military during this period, suspected of having connections to the AA. Many are still facing charges.

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