Arakan Army

Insurgent group active in Rakhine State, Myanmar

The Arakan Army, officially the Arakha Army is an ethnic armed organisation based in Rakhine State (Arakan). Founded on 10 April 2009, the AA is the military wing of the United League of Arakan (ULA). It is currently led by Commander-in-Chief Major General Twan Mrat Naing and vice deputy commander-in-chief Brigadier General Nyo Twan Awng. The Arakan Army states that the objective of its armed revolution is to restore the sovereignty of the Arakan people. In a February 2024 interview, Twan Mrat Naing claimed that the AA had grown to at least 38,000 troops. Anthony Davis, an expert of military and security, rejected this claim and estimated that it has at least 15,000 troops in Chin State and Rakhine State, in addition to around 1500 in Kachin State and Shan State. In the early 2010s, the Arakan Army fought alongside the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) against the Tatmadaw in the Kachin conflict. Following the 2016 outbreak of conflict in Rakhine state, AA became more heavily involved in the Arakan region. In 2019, AA would launch attacks on state security forces and the Myanmar Army would respond heightening clashes. The AA reached a ceasefire in late 2020 after eroding the central government's control in northern Rakhine. The power vacuum would be filled by the AA over the next 18 months with state-building efforts, like their COVID-19 vaccine rollouts.

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