Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UN: Fighting in Myanmar’s Rakhine state set to ‘intensify’




UN: Fighting in Myanmar’s Rakhine state set to ‘intensify’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Fighting in Myanmar’s northwest has displaced tens of thousands of civilians. AFP

UN: Fighting in Myanmar’s Rakhine state set to ‘intensify’

The UN called for “urgent measures to spare civilians” in Myanmar’s conflict-wracked northwest on Sunday, saying fighting has intensified between the army and insurgents.

The military has been battling the Arakan Army (AA) – a rebel group seeking more autonomy for ethnic Rakhine Buddhists – in Myanmar’s Rakhine and Chin states since January last year.

Scores of civilians have been killed in the area and tens of thousands displaced. The two sides have traded allegations of abuse.

Under lockdown and with an internet blackout across much of the conflict zone, reporting from the area is difficult to verify.

The UN expressed concern on Sunday over “reports of intensified fighting” in northwest Rakhine state’s Rathedaung township.

The area is home to more than 10,000 civilians, and local sources report they are either fleeing or are trapped by the ongoing conflict, said the UN.

Urging both parties to “take urgent measures to spare civilians”, the UN also called for them to respect international humanitarian law as well as reiterating the need for a ceasefire with the ongoing global pandemic.

The statement comes after local authorities issued a call last week to residents of more than 40 villages to evacuate ahead of “clearance operations”.

The term was used in 2017 before the army waged a brutal crackdown in Rakhine state against the Rohingya Muslim population.

More than 750,000 Rohingya fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, carrying accounts of violence that has led to charges of genocide against Myanmar at the UN’s top court.

But Minister of Border Affairs Colonel Min Than on Sunday said the order was “revoked” because the army was only targeting five villages, including Kyauk Tan, to flush out AA insurgents.

Min Than said: “It’s not a ‘clearance operation’, but a ‘military operation’.”

The wording changes little for residents, however.

Khaing Kyaw of Kyauk Tan village said his family had to flee their homes. “Artillery shells are fired from the town and the creeks to our village.

“We are all running and having difficulties with food,” he said.

Fighting in Myanmar’s northwest has displaced tens of thousands of civilians.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen says Kingdom not a 'satellite country'

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia had sent diplomatic notes to various embassies demonstrating its stance and clarifying allegations that the Kingdom is a satellite country of China which will allow it exclusive access to the Ream Naval Base in Preah Sihanouk province. The response

  • Vast Prince Manor fun park opens to much fanfare in Kandal

    Chinese-owned Prince Culture and Development Co Ltd officially launched the $85 million Prince Manor entertainment centre in Kandal province on Wednesday. Prince Manor is located along National Road 1, 20km from the centre of Phnom Penh. It is the first major theme park project in Cambodia and

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Cintri strike ends, workers’ contracts to be terminated

    CINTRI (Cambodia) Ltd rubbish collectors who have been on strike for the past 13 days agreed to return to work starting Wednesday evening after the company agreed to terminate their contracts at the end of January next year and provide seniority payments and other benefits to