Myanmar air force drops bombs on Bangladesh border after Arakan army seized outpost

Two shells fired from a helicopter of Myanmar army fall inside Bangladesh territory in Naikhongchhari, Bandarban. Photo Twitter

Myanmar’s military carried out a sustained air assault against the Arakan Army in northern Rakhine State’s Maungdaw Township over the weekend, according to local sources.

Residents of the area near Milestone 40 on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border said the attacks began at around 9am on Saturday and continued through the day.

Last Wednesday, the AA seized control of a base near Milestone 40, killing 19 junta troops and capturing one who was injured in the raid, the group said in a statement released at the time.

“They started firing from helicopters this morning. They came two at a time. The first two came and left, then another pair arrived. They’ve been firing non-stop,” a local told Myanmar Now on Saturday evening.

The area under attack extended from Milestone 37, which is near the villages of Thinbaw Hla and Mee Taik, and Milestone 40, which is located near the Waila hills, the local said.

“The fighting is very serious. We’ve been hearing heavy artillery going off all day,” he added.

According to a resident of Buthidaung, where military command no. 15 is based, a fighter jet was also involved in the aerial assault.

“I saw a jet leave here and head towards northern Maungdaw at around 5pm,” he said.

On Friday, state-controlled media reported that the military was seeking to regain control of the base after it fell to the AA two days earlier. 

Bangladeshi news outlets have also been reporting on the conflict, which has put border authorities in the neighbouring country on high alert. 

One outlet, Cox News, said that the airstrikes could also be seen from the Bangladeshi side of the border.

It also stated that Lt-Col Fayzur Rahman of Border Guard Bangladesh had deployed troops to the area amid reports that Myanmar’s military was violating Bangladeshi airspace to carry out attacks on the AA.

Bangladesh’s Foreign Ministry also summoned Myanmar ambassador Aung Kyaw Moe on Sunday, for the third time since last week, to protest the aerial incursions and the landing of shells in Bangladeshi territory, according Turkey’s Andalou news agency.

The AA said that it carried out the attack on the Milestone 40 base to avenge the killing of at least three civilians, including a four-year-old child, in the village of Kin Seik in Mrauk-U Township.

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