6 July 2022

Six members of the Arakan Army were killed when the Myanmar military carried out airstrikes on an AA outpost in territory of the Karen National Liberation Army’s Brigade 5, near the Myanmar-Thai border in Kayin (Karen) State. Some members were also injured, and a handful of buildings in the area were damaged or destroyed. The AA has vowed retaliation for the attack.

In the wake of the incident, and with tensions between the Myanmar military and Arakan Army simmering for weeks, DMG spoke to politicians, activists and political observers about their views on Monday’s fatal aerial assault.

Saw Mra Razar Lin || Vice Chair || Arakan Liberation Party

I am very sorry that Arakanese men died. It happened because of war. I don’t want to see the victims and damages of war any more. I want that [ending conflict] to be a high priority. I pray that similar incidents do not happen in the future. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased. Personally, I don’t want to see any fighting.

Ko Kyaw Naing Htay || Arakan Students Union

I feel sorry. The AA said the attack was deliberate. It appears that military tensions will further intensify. The attack is unacceptable. If the Myanmar military considers itself to be a standard army, it should have declared war before launching the attack. As our people died, we have to retaliate. Their attack undermines trust. It is a challenge while we are trying to build trust. Their attack destroys trust.

Daw Nyo Aye || Chairwoman || Rakhine Women’s Network

The attack happened not in a war zone, but far from the war zone. So, it was deliberate, I assume. It is not normal that they carried out an attack outside of Arakan State. According to my understanding, war must be declared [before commencing hostilities].

The attack is the second of its kind. The first attack took place in Laiza [in 2014, when eight AA cadets were killed in a military artillery shelling of a Kachin Independence Army training school in northern Myanmar]. I feel very sorry for them.
They came and attacked all of a sudden, so it is an assassination. As a civilian, I view it as a deliberate attack. It should not have happened. It is unacceptable that the Myanmar military has carried out an attack while inviting the AA to peace talks.

U Pe Than || Former Lower House MP

The Myanmar military’s bombing of the AA camp in Kayin State has disrupted peace efforts being shaped in Arakan State, which were built on mutual understanding and trust. Both sides [the military and Arakan Army] have built mutual understanding in Arakan State.

Fighting could resume in Arakan State as trust between the two groups is destroyed. The Myanmar military attacked the AA’s camp, but did not support the peace process. The Myanmar military bombed the AA base, breaking trust and damaging relations with the AA. Then there will be fighting in Arakan State. If there is fighting in Arakan State, it is a matter of concern for the people.

U Than Soe Naing || Political Analyst

In military terms, this kind of incident can happen when air operations are carried out. Recently, I have heard that junta jets mistakenly dropped bombs and fired guns at their own troops in Kayin State.

I don’t think the AA will have a significant response to the Myanmar military because of this bombing. When AA spokesman Khaing Thukha was asked for his opinion about the Myanmar military’s bombing of the AA camp in Kayin State, he said he would continue to investigate. It is safe to say that the Myanmar military’s bombing is not likely to lead to significant policy changes.

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