Last updated on October 28, 2019
Myanmar’s military said it had rescued 14 individuals captured by insurgents in restive Rakhine state after Arakan Army rebels reported several dead in army strikes on ships carrying soldiers and authorities said it had shot offenders.
The escalation in bloodshed is among the greatest in the western country since fighting intensified early this season between the military and the rebels demanding greater autonomy for Rakhine.
“Of these abducted from the Arakan Army, 14 individuals have been rescued,” the army said in a statement late on Sunday. “The army is continuing a joint land and air operation to save the rest of the people abducted whenever possible.”
The cultural armed team on Saturday took captive over 50 individuals, most belonging to the security forces. It said troops opened fire Sunday on three boats in which the team has been hauled in Rathedaung township, sinking two and one.
There was no separate account of casualties.
Local members of parliament Khin Saw Wai told Reuters battling in Rathedaung was too extreme to move there on Sunday and lots of people had fled for neighboring villagers following jet fighters flew overhead.
Tens of thousands of individuals are displaced across Rakhine country since clashes started in December, bringing new chaos to a region where over 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled a military crackdown in 2017.
The Rohingya situation isn’t directly connected to the Arakan Army’s struggle to acquire greater autonomy for that which was for centuries a different kingdom.
The rebels draw deep-seated historical bitterness felt by some at Rakhine supporting the cultural Bamar bulk that overlooks the central authorities, and their awareness which Myanmar’s faltering transition to democracy hasn’t attracted enough advantages.
Sunday’s abduction has been the next in recent weeks from the rebel group, which recruits in the largely Buddhist neighborhood majority.