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Hundreds of Myanmar junta troops surrender near Bangladesh border

At least 200 Myanmar junta troops have surrendered after an ethnic minority army captured their headquarters in Rakhine State, near the Bangladesh border, the anti-junta organization said on Monday. 

The Arakan Army, which has been fighting the military regime for territory since a year-long ceasefire ended in November 2023, captured a junta camp in western Myanmar’s Rakhine State, near the Bangladesh border, last Thursday.

The No.15 Operation Command Headquarters fell to the Arakan Army after a 12-day battle, the latest in a series of setbacks for the junta that seized power in a coup in 2021.

The insurgent force released video footage of hundreds of soldiers and others surrendering.

Some of the 200 soldiers pictured in the videos were captured from five battalions in late March and April, the Arakan Army said in a statement, identifying the battalions as the 552, 564, 565 and 551.

“All of these battalions were captured by a heavy offensive attack between March 25 and May 3,” the group said.

Junta soldiers as well as some Rohingya Muslims could also be seen in the video footage released by the Arakan Army. Some Rohingya have complained of being forced into the junta’s army.

The Arakan insurgent group did not say how many junta troops it held but said they had surrendered because of its blockade of their Operation Command Headquarters.

Junta troops and family members under No.15 Operation Command Headquarters surrendered to the Arakan Army, released on May 6, 2024. (Arakan Army Information Desk)

Rakhine State’s junta spokesperson, Hla Thein, did not answer his telephone when RFA tried to contact him for comment by the time of publication. 

Of the 12 military council battalions in Buthidaung township under the No.15 Operation Command Headquarters, five, including the No.15 Operation Command Headquarters, have been captured.

Since November, the Arakan Army has captured nine townships across Rakhine State. Fighting continues in Ann, Buthidaung, Maungdaw, and Kyaukpyu townships.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Kiana Duncan and Mike Firn.