Myanmar rebel group claims to be in possession of Indian border town

The head of the Arakan Army, Twan Mrat Naing, called on Myanmar soldiers to surrender

Rebels in western Myanmar say they have taken control of a key town on a main road to India from the army.

The Arakan Army (AA), which is one of three armed groups, started a big attack against the military in October. They say they have now taken control of Paletwa in Chin State.

The group said on its messaging app that there are no more military camps in the whole Paletwa area.

Myanmar’s army has not said anything.

Delhi will pay close attention to the changes happening in Paletwa, which is near the border of Myanmar, India, and Bangladesh. The town is being improved by a big project funded by India to make it easier for people to travel to and from the area.

The AA is a new but well-equipped group of fighters from Myanmar. They have been fighting against the military in Rakhine State and parts of Chin State for a few years and have been making progress in their battles. Even before the army took control in February 2021, AA soldiers had made big progress in Rakhine. Two years ago, it said it controlled 60% of the state.

During the 2021 coup, the army decided to stop fighting with a group that was not involved in the coup, so they could focus on stopping anyone who was against it.

Last October, the AA said it was fighting against military rule with other groups and started to attack the military, which was already stretched thin by the opposition to its coup in many parts of the country.

In the last 11 weeks, the alliance has beaten the military along the border with China many times.

– Last Saturday, the AA took control of the last military post in the Paletwa township on the other side of the country. The hilltop base at Meewa had been difficult for them to take in 2020, but they were able to take it after 42 days of fighting now.

The AA now controls the port of Paletwa on the Kaladan River, which means they also control the roads and waterways to the Indian border. This gives them a base to plan more attacks in Rakhine State.

Losing any of the big towns in Rakhine to the rebels would be a really bad hit for the military’s power. They are using planes and helicopters with guns to stop the AA from getting to the town of Kyauktaw. Kyauktaw is on the main road that connects the Rakhine capital Sittwe with the rest of Myanmar.

We don’t know what the AA will do next. It may want to keep its progress and prevent more people from leaving. The group wants to be in charge of themselves in a country that is part of a bigger group, and they think it’s better to have a new elected government instead of military control.

After Paletwa fell, the main question is if the leaders can make their soldiers feel better and convince them to keep fighting against the opposition from different places.


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