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Saturday, September 5, 2015, Bhadra 21, 1422 BS, Zilqad 20, 1436 Hijr

Army, BGB force Arakan Army to retreat
Recent forays cut off separatists supply route
Published :Saturday, 5 September, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 60
Saleem Samad
The recent gunfight between Bangladesh paramilitary forces and the Arakan Army, a Myanmar separatist outfit, caused the insurgents to retreat.
A mule-train on 13 horses with supplies belonging to the Arakan Army's political wing through Boro Modak area of Thanchi upazila came at a flashpoint, triggering a gunfight with the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) patrol party in the shared Bangladesh-Myanmar frontier.
The insurgent fled the hotspot, leaving behind two dead horses and loads of crucial supplies mounted on the horses in the last week of August. The Arakan Army (AA) is an ethnic Arakanese Buddhist insurgent group formed in April 2009 'to protect Arakan people, and to establish peace and justice and freedom and development,' states their official website
The Arakan rebels fought shoulder to shoulder in the Kachin conflict alongside the Kachin Independence Army against the Myanmar military.
Arakan Amy has more than 1,500 troops and is based in Rakhine State bordering Bangladesh.
The Arakan Army is also based in Laiza in Kachin State, where the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) is headquartered, and has recently been engaged in fighting with government troops, along with the KIA and the Ta'ang National Liberation Army.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Army and BGB have launched a joint-operation along the Myanmar frontiers in Thanchi Upazila in Bandarban to neutralise the Arakanese separatist outfit, believed to have taken refuge in the wilderness of the hill forests.
A contingent of military reinforcement has been flown into the flashpoints to provide effective anti-insurgent operation drive. Later Chinese built Chengdu F-7 Airguard of Bangladesh Air Force joined the operation.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal briefing journalists said that the joint operation would continue to neutralise the separatist 'Arakan Army'.
In the wake of the skirmish, the Arakan Army has sought to reach out to the Bangladesh government to prevent further skirmishes. The Arakan Army deputy commander-in-chief Col Nyo Tun Aung, denied his group had encroached upon border outpost, which he mentioned to Myanmar daily The Irrawaddy on Thursday and said that they (AA) respected the latter's right to patrol the border and hoped dialogue would help avert further clashes.
According to an official Arakan rebel's statement, "The Bangladesh government should, on humanitarian grounds, [show] empathy?" The AA is trying to send a letter to the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and would like to say 'sorry for the conflict' and that 'we would like to prevent this happening again in the future,' Nyo Tun Aung said.
Recent hostilities by Arakan Army in Bangladesh hill forests do not reflect their overt political statement is peaceful. The organisation has flouted state sovereignty and integrity, said Dr Imtiaz Ahmed, a political scientist and Executive Director of Colombo-based Regional Centre for Strategic Studies.
The insurgent outfit's hidden agenda and covert activities are farfetched in their objective of the ethnic Arakanese, which they dream to achieve through aggression into Bangladesh territory for their political gain.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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