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One killed in clash between ALA and Burmese Army

Dhaka (Mizzima) – A Burmese Army soldier was killed when the Arakan Liberation Army (ALA) clashed with junta's forces in Paletwa Township, Rakhine State, said an Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) statement on February 12.

Fifteen soldiers led by ALA Company Commander Lt. Khai Kyaw Moe Tun had a run in with about 20 soldiers led by 2nd Lt. Zarni Tun under the command of the Infantry Battalion 263, Column 2 headed by 2nd–in-Command Maj. Soe Aung of the Burmese Army on February 11 at about 1 p.m. near Pyai Soe village, Paletwa Township. The gun fight raged for about an hour.

"The clash lasted for about an hour. We have two mobile units in Rakhine State," Khai Tun Lin, Information Department In-charge of ALP, the mother unit of ALA, told Mizzima.

He said intercepted messages and local sources suggest, one Burmese Army soldier was killed and two were injured.

This is the first clash between ALA and Burmese Army troops this year. There were nine clashes in 2009 and seven clashes in 2008.

The IB 263 has its Operational Headquarters in Kha We village, Kyauk Taw Township and launches military operations in the area. ALA claims to have its headquarters with 400 soldiers near the triangular border of India-Burma-Bangladesh. Similarly, the ALP claims that over 200 of its soldiers are based on the Thai-Burma border. It conducts hit and rain raids from there. However, the claim could not be verified.

The ALP came into being in 1967 and has been waging armed struggle against successive military regimes.

As part of its military expansion plans, the Burmese Army stationed an artillery battery and the No. 1 Strategic Command in Paletwa in late September last year. The No. 3 Strategic Command is based in Pay Chaung village, Kyauk Taw Township, along with the No. 2 Strategic Command and another artillery battery, military analysts on Burma’s border said. It now plans to have another military base near Taung Pyo Town, Maungdaw District, it is learnt.

"Bulldozers are in use for earthwork for nearly a month near Taung Pyo. The ground is being leveled and we heard that there are plans to have a new Strategic Command there. But we don't know yet whether the new strategic command will be from 'Na Sa Ka' (Border Security Force) or from Infantry or Light Infantry battalions," a village head from Taung Pyo Township said.

Though in terms of administration Paletwa is in Chin State, military operations here is controlled and commanded by the Ann based Western Command headquarters, a staff member said.

The expansion of army bases and army units in the western border of Burma, where only a few rebel groups are into an armed movement, may be due to the recent border dispute with Bangladesh apart from elimination of armed groups operating there, Khai Tun Lin felt.

Ethnic Rakhine armed forces of ALP and the Democratic Party of Arakan (DPA), Chin ethnic force, the Chin National Front (CNF), Rohingya's ARNO and RSO and Indian separatist rebels ULFA and NSCN are based and are launching military operations along the triangular border of India, Burma and Bangladesh.

(Edited by Ye Yint Aung)


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