Monthly Report | November 2023

On November 14, the people in Ponnagyun township tried to extinguish a fire in their market caused by the Junta's heavy weapons. (Photo/Western News)

Arakan Under Siege: Widespread Insecurity as Arakan Conflicts Intensify

Monitoring of a brief situation of political tension, economic issues, social issues, and humanitarian issues in Western Myanmar in November 2023.

About report

This report is part of the CAS's monthly series, which delves into four key areas of the state of Arakan. The first section addresses political concerns, including the armed revolution, junta activities, and issues of political freedom. The second examines the state's economic climate, focusing on rising prices, declining demand, foreign direct investment, and border trade. The third and fourth sections cover social and humanitarian issues, respectively; these include education, health, migration, and the internally displaced persons (IDP) population.

Key data in the report are sourced from local media outlets, such as DMG, Western News, among others. The aim of this report is to shed new light on the situation for observers endeavoring to comprehend the dynamics at play in the region.

Key Remarks

The return of armed conflicts in Arakan has brought unprecedented momentum to the political scenarios in the state. Currently, the offensive military operations are being staged by the AA, while the junta forces are in defensive positions. Since military zones have moved into more urbanized and populated areas, there have been increased negative consequences for the civilian population.

The junta’s massive trade and travel blockade within Arakan state has crippled all economic and business activities, resulting in scarcity, and rising prices of basic commodities such as rice, fuel, chili, and betel nuts, etc. As a result, the ordinary and poorer segments of the population are the most affected in the communities.

Both political and community insecurity have increased in Arakan this month. Almost all family members in both urban and rural areas of the state have faced various degrees of insecurity, ranging from arrests and artillery attacks to gunshots. The farming community faces additional challenges as they cannot harvest crops, and similarly, businesspeople cannot open their shops.

HAccording to the CAS report, the total number of civilians affected since the return of armed fighting in November is 379, with 49 killed and 92 injured. Additionally, 236 were arrested this month. Moreover, the number of displaced people in the conflict areas has also increased, exceeding 40,000 in the state, who are in urgent need of emergency humanitarian assistance.

Table of Content

  • Part- I: Political Affairs
  • Part- II: Economic Situations
  • Part- III: Social Issues
  • Part- IV: Humanitarian Issues
  • Part- I: Political Affairs

    In November 2023, the resurgence of armed conflicts between the junta regime and the Arakan Army (AA) occurred just before the one-year anniversary of the previous ceasefire that began in late November 2022. Consequently, local media agencies were filled with news related to the political situation, including armed conflicts, civilian casualties, and other emergency humanitarian issues.

    Starting with the activities and movements of the junta in Rakhine State, on November 4, it was reported that the junta’s military preparedness had seemingly increased. Four days later, they intensified checks on water travelers across the state. On the same day, fishermen in Thandwe township were barred from going to sea for three days due to a planned military exercise with Russia. As of November 8, the head of a local police unit in Ann Township was arrested by the junta. The junta military also continued live-fire drills in various areas of the state.

    On November 13, the AA initiated an offensive military operation, leading to the surrender and abandonment of many junta bases in several townships. The following morning, six residents of Thandwe were arrested by junta authorities. Additionally, it was reported that the junta military lost about 40 camps in Rakhine State and around 10 soldiers were captured by the AA. As of November 15, approximately 100 junta police officers abandoned the Tin-Nyo police station in Mrauk-U township.

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    The CAS is an independent, non-partisan and research-oriented group conducting research and analyzing issues related to Arakan/Rakhine affairs.

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