Military, Arakan Army confront each other near Kyauktaw 

Members of Myanmar’s military and the Arakan Army (AA) faced off against each other in northern Rakhine State’s Kyauktaw Township on Monday, according to local sources. 

The two sides ran into each other at a crossroads between three villages about 5km from the town of Kyauktaw, resulting in a standoff that lasted until the junta troops backed down in the afternoon, the sources reported.

No shots were fired during the confrontation, according to people who witnessed the incident.

After the encounter, the column of around 40 regime soldiers retreated to a monastery in Win Su, a village less than 2km away, a local man told Myanmar Now.

“They retreated, but now they’re stationed at the monastery in Win Su. The AA troops are still at the crossroads,” he said.

“I heard that a military officer and an AA leader spoke over the phone and that the officer said they were going to the monastery to cook and eat their lunch,” he added.

According to the man, a number of pregnant women and mothers with small children left the area after the incident amid fears that it could lead to a full-blown clash.

Another local resident said the situation was calm at the moment but could change drastically if the junta troops don’t leave the area.

“It depends on whether or not they retreat. If they stay at the monastery, fighting is very likely to break out. I also heard some villagers fled to Kyauktaw,” he said.

The incident occurred amid recent reports that a military vessel had been sighted on the Kaladan River east of a Korean-built waterfront development in the state capital Sittwe.

The military has also been active in other parts of northern Rakhine State, according to locals.

Two years of often fierce fighting between the AA and the military ended in early November 2020, just before that year’s general elections were held.

Almost exactly a year later, however, the two sides clashed again when junta troops entered AA-controlled territory in northern Maungdaw Township.

Dozens of Kyauktaw villagers were abducted by the military in 2019, at the height of the conflict. Most are still missing and presumed dead.

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