RAKHINE STATE – Major General Twan Mrat Naing, the Commander in Chief of the Arakan Army (AA) said in an interview on February 1 that the hopes for the road to achieving the Arakan goal have become clearer.
After the battles started again in Rakhine State on November 13, 2023, the Arakan Army has captured one junta base after another in Rakhine State and has also successfully taken control of the Paletwa Region in neighbouring Chin State.
Major General Twan Mrat Naing said in the interview that this time, the hopes of completing the Arakan roadmap are almost tangible.
“Even during the toughest time, we tried our best. At a time like this, our hopes are much closer and much more clearer compared to before. Even the civilians directly suffering in the warzone are saying that their houses were burned down, their entire neighborhood was torched by the enemy, so just don’t cease the battle, that it will be over as long as we achieve the freedom so continue fighting the fight that needs to be done while standing united and strong. So, there is much more hope than in the past. We are also exerting more effort than in the past now,” said the AA Commander in Chief.
When asked if the Arakan dream could be defined as independent Rakhine rule, Major General Twan Mrat Naing replied that they had not mentioned about declaring independence before and do not plan to do so at the present.
He added that even though they do not have a plan to declare independence at the moment, they are aware that returning to the norm led by the Myanmar junta in the past 70 years will not be able to fully achieve their goals.
He continued that if they do not achieve the deserved limit regarding their goal, they might entertain other methods but that instead of just talking for the sake of taking, he would prefer to have a practical dialogue at the right moment after building up the basic strength to the best condition.
In response to the question about how much of the Rakhine State is now under control of AA, Major General Twan Mrat Naing said that “there are some items we can’t disclose but we will continue to battle to achieve our original goal of achieving complete control of the entire Rakhine State.”
The Three Brotherhood Alliance announced on February 1 night that the battles are becoming more and more intense by the day in Rakhine State between the Arakan Army and the junta council.
Currently, AA is engaged in intense clashes against the junta council in Ponnagyun, Kyauktaw, Mrauk U, Minbya, Ann, Kyaukphyu and Ramree Townships.
In addition, due to the tense military situation, the junta council has cut off all roads within the Rakhine State as well as the land and water routes connecting Rakhine State to the rest of the country and also cut off internet and telephone networks.