Clashes Between Burmese Navy and Unknown Armed Group in Arakan

Tun Tun

Sittwe: The Burmese navy reportedly had clashes with an unknown armed group on 15 July in a creek near Thaykhone Village in Pauktaw Township in Arakan State.

“It was learnt that the Burmese navy had launched a search operation on a tip that three engine boats had driven into Sitekay Village in western Pauktaw Township around 5:30 am last Sunday and confronted a boat that was supposedly one of those near Thaykhone Village. We heard that the men from the boat started to shoot at the navy and one of them was injured on his chat after the navy retaliated,” said a resident of Pauktaw as he heard about the incident.

The boatmen also reportedly surrendered to the navy by throwing their arms into the creek after one of them was injured.

“We have heard that there were eight men on board and they surrendered to the navy after one of them was injured and they had thrown their arms into the creek. The injured man is now hospitalized and the rest are being held in prison in Sittwe. We also heard that the navy is now searching for their weapons that were thrown into the creek,” said Ko Khine Kaung San from Sittwe, the capital town in the area close to Pauktaw.

According to a report from Yangon Press International, the injured man was identified as 25-year-old Abdu Salam, who is now under medical treatment at the public hospital in Sittwe. There were eight men on board and the remaining seven are now under arrest. They are from Teknaf, a border town in southeastern Bangladesh.

They reportedly speak a little Arakanese and have answered the authorities’ questions during interrogations, saying they were sent by an organization from Bangladesh. “We have learned from authorities here that the arrestees have answered when they were questioned that they were sent by an organization from Bangladesh and that two mobile phones and some Bangladesh currency notes were also seized from them,” said Ko Kaung San.

The arrested men also reportedly disclosed during the investigation that there are more boats that had come together with them.

According to residents in Sittwe, the Burmese navy has stepped up its security in the waters nearby the town and successive gunshots were heard from the side of Laychantaung Island, which is situated near the town, around 9 pm last Sunday as well.

The authorities, however, have not officially publicized any news about the clashes, despite that reports are spreading widely in Sittwe and Pauktaw.