Myanmar: Arakan Army launches deadly raids on police posts

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The Myanmar army has always been engaged in controversial operations in Rakhine state.

A United Nations spokesperson said earlier this week that some 2,500 people had been displaced in Rakhine since in early December, when fighting broke out between the Arakan Army and Myanmar security forces, also known as the Tatmadaw, according to Al-Jazeera.

The western state has been torn by violence once again since early December, when fighting intensified between government forces and the Arakan Army, which wants more autonomy for the Buddhist Rakhine ethnic minority.

India on Thursday deported a second small group of Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar after ordering the expulsion of members of the Myanmar minority group and others who entered the country illegally.

The separate conflict between the military and Arakan Army rebels forced 2,500 civilians from their homes by the end of previous year, according to the United Nations.

The AA are calling for greater autonomy for the ethnic Rakhine Buddhist population in what is one of the country's poorest states.

The attacks were a response to a Myanmar military offensive against the Arakan Army in recent weeks that had also targeted civilians, he said. Security forces were responding to the attacks and the armed forces will continue operating in the area for security, he said. "Today is not our Independence Day", he said, referring to the Rakhine who he said faced discrimination in Myanmar.

In Friday's attack, Khine Thu Kha told Reuters that the Arakan Army retrieved the bodies of seven "enemies" and detained 12 Myanmar security forces.

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"The army brought the police into the war two weeks ago", AA spokesman Khine Thukha said by phone, adding that the group had been under fire the whole day from army helicopters.

The army vowed to stop fighting for four months against a number of armed groups in Kachin and Shan states on the other side of the country.

The military's use of the "four cuts" strategy and excessive force on the battlefield had forced it to mount the simultaneous attacks on the four border outposts in Buthidaung Township on Friday, it said.

"Strong action will be taken against the AA insurgents by security forces as they are making things more unstable and complicated in Rakhine", it said.

Friday's violence erupted shortly after the national flag was raised across the southeast Asian country to mark 71 years since independence from Britain, but the Arakan Army spokesman denied any connection between the attacks and the anniversary.

"We are not independent yet".

The Ministry of Information (MOI) said yesterday that 14 policemen were killed and 9 wounded, and 40 firearms and more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition seized, when the outposts came under attack by more than 300 AA rebels in Buthidaung early on Friday morning.

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