Sunday, July 21st 2024

Junta designates Sittwe as last fortress town, intensifies military preparations in phases

Thinzar New, Narinjara News, 24 May 2024

The military junta has designated Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State, as the last fortress town to resist the offensive of Arakan Army (AA) and made extensive military preparations.

"The junta may soon relinquish control of Maungdaw. After it, the AA's offensive will turn to Sittwe. Understanding the development, the  junta forces have prepared to defend Sittwe. Reinforcements are being made through aircraft and military vessels," said a local resident.


The junta is probably preparing to defend Sittwe in two phases. The first phase involves reinforcing weapons, soldiers, and food supplies via aircraft and military vessels. On 21 May, a number of large military aircrafts landed and it continued for some days. Now there has been a notable surge in reinforcement of soldiers and weapons in recent days," he added.


The junta has also provided military training to more than one thousand  Muslims and they are equipped with weapons to understandably resist the AA fighters.

In the second phase, the junta forces are  planting landmines around Sittwe. They are also  placing naval mines in coastal area,  constructing bomb shelters, trenches and bunkers within the military battalions and finally renovating military buildings to fortify them against the bomb attacks.


"Many navy ships from Yangon arrived here carrying arms & ammunition, food supplies, as well as construction materials like gravel, iron and cement bags. Many bunkers and trenches are being constructed,” he stated.


The  AA fighters are yet to attack Sittwe town, but they have occupied three townships under Sittwe district namely Rathedaung, Ponnagyun and Pauktaw.


"Being the capital, Sittwe has many battalions and a civilian population. I believe the AA fighters will carefully consider their actions to avoid civilian harassment,” said veteran Arakanese politician U Pe Than.

The residents of Sittwe are concerned about the reports about the AA’s probable plan to attack Sittwe before the rainy season.


"Now all roads are closed in Sittwe and none can escape by the land and waterways. Escaping to rural areas by boat is no longer an option due to landmines on the shores. Common people cannot afford flying to Yangon. We are in a helpless situation,” said a female resident.


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