Thursday, February 8, 2024

Fighters from Myanmar's ethnic minority seize control of the port town


BANGKOK: Warriors from a Myanmar ethnic minority furnished bunch have held onto control of a port town after over two months of extraordinary conflicts with junta troops, they said.

The Arakan Armed force (AA) said late Wednesday it "totally controlled" Pauktaw, a town of 20,000 individuals near a vital deepwater port in the capital of western Rakhine state.

AA warriors momentarily held onto Pauktaw in November, breaking a delicate truce that had to a great extent held since the tactical's upset in 2021.

Since then, residents have told AFP that the junta has strafed the town with gunfire from helicopters as well as artillery and naval ships.

New Google Earth pictures of Pauktaw showed a block of the midtown region diminished essentially to rubble and harm to a few structures close to its harbor.

A few structures in the police headquarters compound were obliterated as well.

AFP couldn't affirm the AA guarantee, and correspondences with Pauktaw stayed inconsistent.

A source near the AA told AFP recently that its warriors were leading "leeway tasks" in the town.

On Tuesday the AA said "extraordinary" conflicts were continuous in the town.

The junta hasn't said anything about the recent fights in Pauktaw.

Around 18,000 individuals had been uprooted from the area because of battling, the Unified Countries said in November.

Pauktaw is 25 kilometers (16 miles) east of the state capital Sittwe, home to a deepwater port halfway supported by India as it tries to develop financial linkages with Myanmar.

A junta-backed media report on Thursday said that earlier this week, Myanmar's chambers of commerce hosted talks with an Indian business delegation about "upgrading" operations at Sittwe port.

Go among Sittwe and Pauktaw was seriously confined by new military entryways and designated spots, a Pauktaw occupant as of now in Sittwe told AFP on Thursday, mentioning namelessness for the sake of security.

The AA said in a statement on Wednesday that "intense" clashes were going on in Rakhine's Mrauk-U, Minbya, Kyauktaw, and Rathedaung townships, without going into specifics.

The AA has battled an on-off battle for a really long time looking for more independence for the state's ethnic Rakhine populace.

It is one of many ethnic minority furnished bunches that have combat Myanmar's military since freedom from England in 1948.

Some groups want more freedom, while others just want the right to run the lucrative jade, drug, and timber trade on their land.

The conflicts in Rakhine come as the military and ethnic minority equipped gatherings in northern Shan state blame each other for breaking a China-handled truce.

Since the end of October, fighting had been going on along the border with China, and the military had lost control of several towns and important trade crossings to its northern neighbor.

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