April 10, 2022
Sunday marked the 13th anniversary of the founding of the Arakan Army (AA), which was established by 26 young people on April 10, 2009, in Kachin State’s Laiza, the headquarters of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). The Arakan Army now counts thousands of soldiers among its ranks, and has established a strong presence in Arakan State, both militarily and administratively.
It has been more than one year since the Myanmar military and Arakan Army reached an unofficial ceasefire agreement, putting a stop to some two years of war in Arakan State. The AA has used the peacetime to build out a parallel administration in Arakan State, including a separate judiciary, revenue department, public security offices and other governing institutions.
On the ethnic armed group’s 13th birthday, DMG asked Arakanese people to share the thoughts and hopes for the Arakan Army.
Saw San Nyein Thu || Chairwoman || Rakhaing Women’s Initiative Organisation (RWIO)
I believe the AA is working in the interests of all Arakanese people and Arakanese politics. It is focused on the security, peace and development of Arakan State, and is an organisation the whole of Arakanese people rely on. On its 13th birthday, as an Arakanese resident, I wish the AA to make a greater contribution to the security, peace and development of Arakan State.
Ko Zaw Win || Resident || Kyauktaw Township
It is 13 years now since the AA embarked on its journey. We do appreciate what our forefathers did [for the interests of Arakan State]. However, what the AA has done under its current leadership is remarkable and we are only too glad to see it.
The AA is outstanding in military, political and diplomatic affairs. Its leaders are quite visionary. Some people may not like it, but it is undeniable that Arakan State now has an Arakanese government. We have to make collaborative efforts to make sure it is a good government, and focuses on the interests of Arakanese people. The AA was formed to serve the interests of Arakanese people, and I do believe those serving in the AA will consistently serve that purpose.
Daw Nyo Aye || Chairwoman || Rakhine Women’s Network
On its 13th birthday, may the AA go from strength to strength, and contribute a lot to Arakan State as an army representing the entire Arakanese people. I wish the AA greater military success. Arakanese people are in trouble in the post-conflict period. May the AA make greater contributions to the interests of Arakan State, and achieve greater progress in its works as an army representing Arakan State.
Ko Bekka || Resident || Rathedaung Township
The formation of the Arakan Army concerns the entire Arakanese tribe. It has been 13 years since the Arakan Army started to make sacrifices. Efforts by AA members have been successful and risky. All members of the Arakanese community in Arakan State, like me, welcome the 13th anniversary of the founding of the Arakan Army.
I also wish the Arakan Army to be a great army that can do a lot more for our country, our people, our tribes and the world. I believe the Arakan Army will continue to fight for the liberation of our country, without compromising its commitment to Arakan State and our people.
Ko Zaw Zaw Tun || Secretary || Rakhine Ethnics Congress (REC)
As an Arakanese, I am very proud to see that AA has been able to do amazing things in such a short period of time. However, the Arakan Army will continue to struggle to reach its destination. The Arakan Army is considered by all Arakanese people to be the single most reliable and dependable force in Arakan State. At the moment, we are on the path to revolution and we have great respect for the Arakan Army as a government trying to meet the needs of the Arakanese people.
The people have high hopes and high reliance on the Arakan Army. The people want the Arakan Army to continue to work hard to understand the feelings of the people and continue to work with them in a spirit of respect for the people and a spirit of greater self-sacrifice. The public understands that members of the Arakan Army are struggling, sacrificing their lives, with incredible capabilities. We pray for the success of the Arakan Army’s revolution in the near future, with the support of the people.