Arakan Army claims control of Paletwa, escalating Myanmar’s insurgency crisis

The AA spokesperson, Khine Thu Kha, stated that the group would cooperate with neighbouring countries on border stability and assume administrative and law enforcement responsibilities in the area. The military junta has not yet responded to the AA’s claim.

The Arakan Army (AA), an ethnic armed group in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, has declared control over Paletwa, a key port town on the Kaladan River bordering India and Bangladesh. This marks a major setback for Myanmar’s military government, currently grappling with multiple insurgencies across the country.

The AA spokesperson, Khine Thu Kha, stated that the group would cooperate with neighbouring countries on border stability and assume administrative and law enforcement responsibilities in the area. The military junta has not yet responded to the AA’s claim.

Myanmar is currently facing a multifaceted insurgency involving anti-junta groups supported by a pro-democracy parallel government. These groups have successfully seized control of various military posts and towns, posing the most significant challenge to the junta since its coup against the elected government in 2021. The Arakan Army’s capture of Paletwa follows another rebel group from the Three Brotherhood Alliance taking control of Laukkai town in northern Shan State on the border with China.

Notably, the Three Brotherhood Alliance recently entered into a ceasefire agreement with the junta for the region bordering China. However, the rebel alliance accused the junta of breaching the ceasefire on Sunday, launching attacks in several townships in Shan State. These developments indicate the complexities of the situation, involving rebel groups, the military junta, and neighbouring countries.

The fall of Paletwa has broader implications, particularly regarding trade routes and border stability. The Arakan Army’s commitment to cooperating with neighbouring countries hints at a dynamic where ethnic armed groups seek to manage border areas independently. This further challenges the military government’s authority and control over the country.

While international responses to Myanmar’s political turmoil have been mixed, with some engagements facilitated by China, the evolving situation raises concerns about regional stability. The insurgency and involvement of various ethnic armed groups underscore the deep-rooted challenges faced by Myanmar.