Small Wars Journal

The Growing Emergency on Myanmar’s Newest Battleground

Sun, 03/08/2020 - 12:00pm

The Growing Emergency on Myanmar’s Newest Battleground by Esther Htusan  - The New Humanitarian

Conflict in Myanmar’s Rakhine State is escalating, while severe humanitarian restrictions and a sweeping internet blackout are squeezing both aid and information to a trickle, local groups warn.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in western Myanmar’s Rakhine State over the last year as clashes between the military and the insurgent Arakan Army trap civilians in the middle.

At least 17 students were injured last week when an artillery shell hit a school in a northern township, according to state-run media. The UN says there are near-daily reports of civilians killed or maimed, but aid access is curtailed in about half of Rakhine.

Rights groups accuse the military of committing war crimes that mirror army tactics used against insurgent groups or civilian populations on other fronts – including the military purge of more than 700,000 Rohingya from the state in 2017.

Local organisations say the conflict is reaching dangerous new heights away from public scrutiny: the government has imposed an internet blackout across nine conflict-hit townships in Rakhine and neighbouring Chin State…

Read on.