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Myanmar Army Kilos Rakhine City Throughout Clashes

Myanmar’s navy is finishing up a sustained offensive involving fighter jets to regain management of a key city from an armed ethnic minority group, its fighters and residents stated on Wednesday.

The Arakan Military moved into Pauktaw, a city of 20,000 individuals near a vital deepwater port within the capital of western Rakhine state, on November 15.

It opened a brand new entrance in an offensive by an alliance of ethnic minority teams throughout northern Myanmar that has shocked the nation’s junta, minimize commerce routes to neighboring China, and led to greater than 330,000 individuals being displaced since final month.

Pauktaw has change into one of many key battlegrounds, and residents contacted by AFP on Wednesday reported heavy battles in and across the city, which is 25 kilometers (16 miles) from Sittwe, the state capital.

“They (the junta) have been firing heavy weapons on the city constantly,” one resident advised AFP by cellphone, requesting anonymity for safety causes.

“Yesterday a jet fighter dropped two bombs that began a hearth,” stated the resident who stated they have been sheltering in a close-by village, including the blaze was nonetheless burning.

AFP has reported combating in Pauktaw over the previous two weeks, however the accounts from the residents, in addition to an announcement from the Arakan Military (AA), offered probably the most detailed accounts of the battle for management of the city.

A resident of Sittwe stated the navy was shelling Pauktaw from bases round Sittwe.

“They’re firing artillery from Sittwe in direction of different cities particularly Pauktaw each day, day and night time,” a resident advised AFP, additionally requesting anonymity.

“We are able to’t sleep effectively at night time because the sound of shelling wakes us up at midnight,” one other resident stated.

Footage launched on AA’s Telegram account confirmed plumes of smoke rising from Pauktaw and included the sound of gunshots.

The AA stated it was “rescuing” civilians nonetheless trapped.

The United Nations stated 18,000 residents of Pauktaw have already fled the city.

Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun on Tuesday stated the navy was engaged in combating round Pauktaw however didn’t give particulars.

The AA has for years fought an on-off battle for the autonomy of the state’s ethnic Rakhine inhabitants of their dwelling close to the Bangladesh border.

It’s certainly one of dozens of armed ethnic minority teams which have battled Myanmar’s navy since independence from Britain in 1948.

Some teams need better autonomy, whereas others merely need the proper to run the profitable commerce in jade, medication, and timber of their territory.

Final month, the AA joined forces with the Myanmar Nationwide Democratic Alliance Military (MNDAA) and the Ta’ang Nationwide Liberation Military (TNLA) in an offensive in opposition to the junta throughout northern Shan state, which borders China.

Analysts say the present combating is the largest navy problem to the junta because it seized energy in a 2021 coup.

Virtually 200 civilians, together with youngsters, have been killed because the offensive started on October 27, in line with the UN.