In a move that could reshape the dynamics of the ongoing political crisis, the National Unity Government (NUG) has unveiled comprehensive plans to launch coordinated attacks on key cities, including Naypyidaw, Mandalay, and Pyin Oo Lwin, on Tuesday. Simultaneously, the Arakan Army (AA) declared triumph in Paletwa, intensifying the pressure on the military junta.
NUG reveals strategic offensive plans
Kyaw Zaw, spokesperson for the NUG President’s Office, announced the formulation of “strategic plans” for offensives targeting Naypyidaw, the capital, Mandalay, and Pyin Oo Lwin, home to the Defense Services Academy. According to Kyaw Zaw, the military’s fear is evident in Pyin Oo Lwin, where movement restrictions have been imposed. He asserted that the proximity of Pyin Oo Lwin and Mandalay to Naypyidaw provides multiple routes for advancing toward the capital, indicating a weakening military.
Additionally, Kyaw Zaw pointed out the increased presence of Ethnic Resistance Organizations (EROs) and the People’s Defense Force (PDF) near Naypyidaw, with anti-coup forces successfully capturing 30 towns across five states and regions since Operation 1027 began in October 2023.
Arakan Army claims victory in Paletwa, calls for military surrender
While the NUG plans its offensive, the Arakan Army, under the leadership of Commander-in-Chief Twan Mrat Naing, secured a significant triumph in Paletwa. Calling for the surrender of all remaining military troops in the region, the AA declared control over all outposts in Paletwa, including border checkpoints with India and Bangladesh.
Since the attacks commenced on November 13, 2023, over 40,000 inhabitants have been forced to evacuate their residences.
Paletwa serves as a key hub for the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP), a $484 million USD Indian-supported initiative connecting India’s Mizoram to Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State, via the Kaladan River. The newly opened Sittwe port, operational since May 2023, facilitates direct trade between Myanmar and India.
Following the capture of Paletwa by the Arakan Army (AA), Commander-in-Chief Twan Mrat Naing called for the surrender of Burma Army troops on January 15. Additionally, the AA asserted control over the Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 289 headquarters on January 10, seizing a substantial arsenal of weapons.