22 June 2022, Sittwe
The Arakan Army (AA) has called on the people of Arakan State to be wary of the military junta, which it accused of stoking racial and religious tensions in the region following the disappearance and apparent kidnapping of two educators in Maungdaw Township.
Principal U Bo Win and schoolteacher Daw Ohmar Kyaw were travelling to Maungdaw from Thinbaw Hla village on June 16, after they were summoned there by the township education office, when they went missing.
The Arakan Army said in a statement that it was important to learn from past ethnic clashes and be careful not to fall into the enemy’s trap.
Tensions between Buddhists and Muslims have risen over the June 16 kidnapping of two educators in Maungdaw Township.
Locals say the Myanmar military’s local battalions and the Border Guard Force (BGF) have not helped in the search for the two missing.
The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) has denied allegations that it was behind the kidnapping, after the Arakan Army chief called out the group on social media.
The Myanmar military, meanwhile, has tightened security and made a series of arrests of civilians in Ponnagyun, Kyauktaw, Mrauk-U and Minbya townships after two junta soldiers were detained by the Arakan Army in Kyauktaw on June 11. The military has arrested at least 20 civilians in Ponnagyun, Kyauktaw, Mrauk-U and Minbya since June 16, and sent at least seven detainees to interrogation centres, according to DMG sources.
AA spokesman U Khaing Thukha told media at a press conference on June 14 that the ethnic armed group had detained junta soldiers in retaliation for the regime’s arrest of AA members.
The Arakan Army also met with representatives of the National Unity Government (NUG) last month, in a virtual gathering that observers say did little to ease growing tensions between the AA and military.