Myanmar army ordered to take offensive against Arakan Army

Myanmar army ordered to take offensive against Arakan Army
Maj. Gen. Soe Naing Oo, chairman of the Myanmar's military information committee, talks to journalists during a press conference at the Military Museum in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo)

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar’s military says the Arakan Army, a rebel group in the same region where the government conducted an brutal counterinsurgency campaign against the Muslim Rohingya minority, has been classified a terrorist organization after mounting a flurry of recent attacks.

A military public relations team said at a news conference in the capital, Naypyitaw, that leader Aung San Suu Kyi ordered security forces to launch an offensive against the Arakan Army in Rakhine state.

The insurgent group killed 13 police officers and wounded nine in attacks on Jan. 4.

A separate army offensive that caused more than 700,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh was triggered when a group of Rohingya guerrillas staged similar attacks in August 2017.

The Arakan Army represents anti-government elements among the area’s Buddhist Rakhine ethnic group.