The group denied it had a camp in the area, where clashes between the two sides have been frequent in recent weeks.
The Arakan Army (AA) has denied reports that one of its training camps has been captured by the Burma Army, calling the claim “propaganda” intended to mask the high rate of casualties among government troops.
“They are intentionally spreading this propaganda because there have been many casualties on their side. They are doing this to encourage their soldiers,” AA spokesperson Khine Thukha told NMG.
On Monday, the office of the armed forces commander-in-chief reported that the Burma Army had seized an AA military-training facility located about 2km from the village of Chay Yar Taw in Rakhine State’s Rathedaung Township.
The camp, which the army said it captured last Friday, reportedly had six military trenches, three huts, and a variety of materials, including military uniforms and items of civilian clothing. Other items, including 500 wooden guns used for military training, food, and medicine, were discovered the next day, according to the office of the armed forces commander-in-chief.
The AA dismissed these claims, however, saying that it didn’t have a military-training ground in the area. “They didn’t seize a training camp. We had no training area there,” said Khine Thukha.
Attempts to reach Burma Army officials for comment went unanswered.
According to a statement released by the Burma Army, government forces continue to patrol the area, where the two sides clashed frequently in late July. In recent days, there have been reports of fighting in Rakhine State’s Minbya Township and Paletwa Township in Chin State.
Khine Thukha said that it was not the first time that the Burma Army had made similar claims.
He said that last April, when government forces were suffering heavy casualties, they reported the capture of an AA training camp in Minbya Township. (The office of the commander-in-chief also reported that an AA training camp had been captured on a hill east of the Kyauktaw-Mrauk-U road in February of this year.)
Similarly, he said, the Burma Army displayed bags of rice with the World Food Programme logo on it to visiting foreigners, falsely claiming that they had been seized from an AA military camp.
The AA is a member of the Northern Alliance, which has been negotiating with the central government for the signing of a bilateral ceasefire agreement.