The Arakan Army (AA) has set up parellel administration in parts of Myanmar’s Rakhine state , where it is locked in a bitter separatist conflict with the federal government and the Burmese army.
This is the first concrete step by the rebel group to translate its dream of Arakan independence , which they announced in no uncertain terms three months ago.
This also comes at a time when the Burmese army had made some claims of success against the AA rebels , including killing an underground colonel .
The AA will be collecting taxes and arresting illegal drug users — making good on a pledge to provide governance to underpin the ethnic Rakhine autonomy the armed group has been fighting for, RFA reported.
In December 2019, AA leaders announced the formation of a Rakhine People’s Authority to levy taxes on businesses to fund its operations and that of its political wing, the United League of Arakan.
They also said they will administer areas under its control in Rakhine state.
RFA was unable to determine how many people or what amount of territory is currently under AA administration in Rakhine, which has become largely off-limits to reporters.
Easternlink learns from its own ‘deep assets’ in Rakhine that AA has armed strength and popular support in seven sprawling pockets of Rakhine and neighbouring Chin state.
“The strategy of the rebels now is to launch tactical campaigns to join these liberated zones by establishing control over the link regions.
” It is straight out of Maoist playbook on protracted warfare but with suitable innovations to use urban guerilla actions of the Peruvian Sendero Luminoso mold,” said Myanmar watcher Subir Bhaumik, editorial director at Easternlink.