India-Myanmar border pillar at Behiang (Photo: Bidhayak Das)

Myanmar town bordering India, Bangladesh seized by ethnic armed group

The Arakan Army (AA), an ethnic armed group operating in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, has declared its control over the vital port town of Paletwa, situated along the Kaladan River and sharing borders with India and Bangladesh, according to a report on Monday.

On January 14, AA spokesperson Khine Thu Kha addressed concerns about border stability, emphasising the group’s commitment to cooperation with neighboring countries. The AA announced its intention to assume control over administration and law enforcement in the Paletwa region. Despite efforts to seek comments from the military junta regarding the situation, there has been no response.

It is important to note that the report has not independently verified the claim made by the Arakan Army. This incident follows the recent takeover of Laukkai town in northern Shan State by the Three Brotherhood Alliance, another rebel group.

China facilitates ceasefire between Brotherhood Alliance and military

Recently, the military junta reached a ceasefire deal with the TNLA in the region along the China border. The talks, brokered by China in Kunming on Jan. 11, saw the participation of Chinese government officials and five members of the National Solidarity and Peacemaking Negotiation Committee (NSPNC). Leaders representing the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), along with seven members each from the Arakan Army (AA) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), engaged in discussions. The Brotherhood Alliance, through Operation 1027 launched on Oct. 27, has successfully seized over 300 military outposts and 15 towns in northern Shan State.

However, the rebel coalition reported on Sunday that junta forces are violating the ceasefire, conducting assaults in multiple townships within Shan State.

Myanmar confronts a widespread insurgency as anti-junta groups, backed by a pro-democracy parallel government, assert control over military posts and towns—the most significant challenge to the junta since the 2021 coup.

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