Civilians in firing line as conflict returns to Myanmar’s Rakhine

An uneasy truce in the troubled western region appears to have collapsed with the military in open warfare against rebel groups. On the evening of September 25, in Nagara village in western Myanmar’s troubled Rakhine State, Bu Wine and her family went to bed early. But a couple of hours later, she was awake. “After hearing loud firing at midnight, I felt worried,” she told Al Jazeera, recalling how she planned to gather up her four children and take them somewhere safe. But then, an artiller

Shadowy pro-military militias target Myanmar’s anti-coup movement

A month ago, the body of a man was found dumped by the side of the road in Myanmar’s central city of Mandalay. The victim had been stabbed multiple times, and his hands tied behind his back. Attached to a lanyard around the neck of National League for Democracy (NLD) member Zaw Gyi the killers had left their calling card: a red circle depicting a warrior holding two swords. The circle is the symbol of a new pro-military death squad terrorising Myanmar called Thway Thauk Apwe, which roughly tr

Myanmar’s military coup prolongs misery for Rohingya in Rakhine

Bangkok, Thailand – In early August, military officials assigned to Rakhine State by Myanmar’s generals summoned leaders from the mainly Muslim Rohingya community in Buthidaung township to a meeting on the banks of the Mayu River. The officials came with a warning: Rohingya villagers should cut off any ties with the Arakan Army (AA), an armed rebel group fighting for self-determination for ethnic minorities in the country’s northwest. “Currently we are participating all-together in the AA’s ad

Rumbles in Rakhine amid strains between Myanmar military, rebels

Recent skirmishes between Arakan Army and the military have raised concern about the stability of an informal year-long ceasefire. Since Myanmar’s military staged a coup against Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government on February 1, triggering mass unrest, the formerly restive far-western state of Rakhine has remained relatively peaceful. But recent skirmishes have raised concern that an informal ceasefire agreed in the long-troubled area in November last year is starting to break down, even as

In Myanmar’s Rakhine, families of the disappeared seek answers

One evening, as Ma Nway* and her family were having dinner, soldiers from Myanmar’s armed forces, known as the Tatmadaw, came to her house and asked for her husband. According to her account, they blindfolded him, took out their guns and beat him in front of her. “At the time, I could only cry,” said Ma Nway, an ethnic Arakanese from Myanmar’s westernmost Rakhine State, who prefers not to reveal her identity for fear of reprisals. “I feared they would shoot me, so I held my tongue … I felt like they were the most brutal people in the world.”

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