Large Military Exercise in Arakan

Narinjara News

A Burmese army military exercise has been underway in Arakan State with large numbers of army personnel participating since November; there have been no such large army exercises held in Arakan State in the past, said a source close to the army.

Over 1500 army soldiers from ten battalions under Sakhaka 5, Military Operation Command based in Taungup in the south of Arakan, are participating in the exercise.

The ten battalions participating are Light Infantry Battalions 373, 544, 562, 563, 566, 346, 5422, 543, 371and 372. Most of these battalions are stationed in the southern part of Arakan State.

The army exercise is being held in the mountains near Krain Daung Village in Maybon Township, an area of central Arakan that was an Arakanese rebel stronghold before Burma's independence.

A source said the exercise would end within this month, but there are no details on whether or not the battalions will be marching to the eastern frontlines near Thailand to wage war against ethnic rebels there.

To date, no battalions from Sakhaka 5 have been sent to the eastern frontlines; battalions from Sakhaka 15 based in Buthidaung are typically dispatched to the war zone in Karen State to the east.