Myanmar gov’t forces arrest five Rakhine rebels
Myanmar government forces have arrested five members of an ethnic armed group in the western Rakhine State of the Southeast Asian country.
The five were captured as government forces engaged in fighting with the Rakhine armed group at Pinlong village of the Paletwa area over the weekend, state-owned Myawaddy television network reported on Wednesday.
The report added that the rebels were caught in a hideout, from where arms and munitions were also seized.
Meanwhile, Rakhine rebels have been retreating from Paletwa area, and Myanmar government forces continue to comb the region in order to arrest remnants of the rebel group and also prevent any possible future confrontations.
The weekend clashes took place at the same time as Myanmar government forces were also battling ethnic Kokang rebels in the restive northeastern Shan State.
This file photo shows the rebel soldiers of Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) at a military base in Kokang region, Myanmar.
Myanmar has been wracked by unrest since its independence from Britain in 1948 as militancy flares among some minority groups demanding greater autonomy.
Last month, Myanmar’s President Thein Sein hailed a historic draft peace deal with a host of rebel groups to end decades of civil war.
Kokang militants were not part of the deal. The self-administered Chinese-speaking Kokang region has been in a state of emergency since fighting erupted in the region on February 9 between government forces and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), known as the Kokang army.
Another ethnic armed group in Shan State, which is involved in the peace talks with the government, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), has expressed support for the Kokang militants.
Although the Kokang rebels are not directly involved in the peace talks, the ongoing fighting has drawn condemnation from the coalition of rebel groups at the negotiating table, who are yet to formally ratify the draft of the ceasefire deal.