Asia-Pacific

Myanmar rebel army kills seven police

Myanmar forces in Rakhine state. Source: Getty

Seven Myanmar security force members have been killed by Buddhist Rakhine fighters in attacks on four police posts in troubled Rakhine state.

Buddhist Rakhine fighters have killed seven Myanmar security force members in attacks on four police posts in troubled Rakhine state, spokesmen for the military and the armed group say.

The western state has been torn by violence once again since early December, when fighting intensified between government forces and the Arakan Army, which wants more autonomy for the Buddhist Rakhine ethnic minority.

Rakhine was where a brutal military-led crackdown in 2017 drove hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims into bordering Bangladesh.

The recent fighting with the Arakan Army had forced 2500 civilians to flee their homes by the end of last year, according to the United Nations.

Rakhine ethnic people, who fled from a conflict area this week.
Rakhine ethnic people, who fled from a conflict area this week.
AAP

Arakan Army spokesman Khine Thu Kha told Reuters the group attacked four police posts and later retrieved the corpses of seven "enemies".

The group also detained 12 Myanmar security force members, he said. "We will process them according to international law. We will not harm them," he said.

The attacks were a response to a Myanmar military offensive against the Arakan Army in recent weeks that had also targeted civilians, he said.

The Myanmar military last month announced a four-month halt in fighting in the north and northeast of the country to kick-start peace talks with multiple armed groups fighting for ethnic autonomy, but that announcement excluded Rakhine.

Myanmar state media earlier reported an attack by the same group on Tuesday that seriously injured one policemen.

Myanmar military spokesman Zaw Min Tun told Reuters security forces were responding to Friday's attacks, which targeted police posts in the northern parts of Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships, a rugged area near the border with Bangladesh.

"The military will continue its operations in the area for security," he said, declining to confirm how many people were killed and captured by the armed group.

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