Conflict Alerts

Conflict Alerts # 69, 15 April 2020

Myanmar: Conflicts in Chin and Rakhine rage, despite the Corona threat
Aparupa Bhattacherjee

In the news

On 8 April, seven civilians were killed and nine injured in Paletwa Township of the Chin state, due to airstrike by Tatmadaw.  This was due to ongoing conflict between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army (AA) in the Chin and Rakhine States. The ongoing violence has also led to the burning of several homes and rice mills in these villages.

Issues at large

The internal conflict in Chin and Rakhine States will be detrimental to Myanmar's fights against the COVID-19. Myanmar has confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on 24 March, amid growing skepticism on its previous claim of no cases being reported. Currently, there are 74 affected and four deaths; however, there are complaints that the test conducted is low and inadequate. 

In the face of the pandemic, other armed groups have shifted their focus away from the fighting.  Groups such as the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), the National Democratic Alliance Army-Eastern Shan State (NDAA) and the Kachin Independence Army have taken up the role of monitoring, disseminating information and conducting temperature checks in their areas and doing the maximum with their limited funding. In the Wa region, the armed group has banned its wildlife market and closed its border with China. These groups seem to have decided to fight the pandemic as their common enemy rather than continuing their conflict with the Tatmadaw. 

The above is not the case in Chin and Rakhine States where the clashes have continued. AA, an ethnic Rakhine Buddhist rebel group was formed in 2009 and was initially operating from the Kachin state. They were trained and heavily supported by the Kachin Independence Army. The conflict started since their shift to Rakhine in 2018. The reason for this strife lies in the historical notion of the superiority of Arakan Kingdom and the failure of Aung San Suu Kyi's leadership. The selection of Barmar party leader from the Rakhine State and the erecting of statues of her father Aung San flared the conflict. This led to thousands of deaths and displacements in Chin and Rakhine State. The two-year-old fight between the Tatmadaw and the AA in Chin State and the northern Rakhine State has cost several lives and displaced many. 

In perspective

First, the continuation of violence will pose a bigger problem in fighting the pandemic. Adhering to the necessary precautions like social distancing and hygiene is difficult. In Paletwa, there are around 45 people, of which several returnees from China, Singapore, and Qatar, are home quarantined. In case any of them test positive, or there is an outbreak in the area, it will be difficult to control the outbreak and treat the patients. 

Second, the problem will worsen, as these states lack medical facilities to treat those who are injured, adding to the number of fatalities. For example, the Paletwa public hospital lacks surgeons and blood banks for transfusion.  Given this condition, it will be difficult for these hospitals to take care if there is a case of COVID-19. Even at the national level, there is a shortage of doctors and health facilitators. Additionally, the ongoing conflict has disrupted road connectivity. This will heavily deter any help from the rest of Myanmar. 

Last, the active role of the armed groups in the rest of Myanmar and Tatmadaw's retaliatory attacks may escalate the ethnic communities' anger against the centre. This will not assist Suu Kyi and her party's return in the next tenure. Given the upcoming elections, it is high time the NLD and Suu Kyi take their role seriously and play a much more active role in these ethnic regions. 

September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 437
Brazil: Protestors call for the impeachment of Bolsonaro
September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 435
Guinea: Another coup in Africa

September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 431
Climate Change: Hurricane Ida destructs the US Gulf Coast

August 2021 | Conflict Alert # 422
Europe: Measures to curb pandemic trigger protests
August 2021 | Conflict Alert # 418
Peru: Protests a sign of challenges facing Castillo
July 2021 | Conflict Alert # 411
Wildfires: Siberia to the US

July 2021 | Conflict Alert # 409
Bosnia: 26 years after the Srebrenica Massacre
July 2021 | Conflict Alert # 405
Colombia: Two months of protests
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 399
Myanmar: New UNGA resolution

June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 397
Myanmar: The Aung San Suu Kyi trial begins
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 390
Burkina Faso: Another massacre in Africa
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 386
Nigeria: Another mass abduction grips Niger state
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 385
Colombia: The protests continue
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 382
Israel-Hamas ceasefire: The long road to peace
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 380
Colombia: Three weeks of protests
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 378
Israel-Palestine: Who wants what?
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 374
Yemen: The Battle for Marib rages on
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 371
Pakistan: Meetings with Afghan leaders

April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 369
Israel-Syria: Continuing Missile Strikes
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 362
Iran: Another act of
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 358
India: Another Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 356
Global Gender Gap Report 2021: Main Takeaways
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 353
Niger: 137 massacred in the latest attack by gunmen
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 351
Yemen: Saudi Arabia announces ceasefire
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 347
Australia: Women fight against sexual violence 
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 345
The US: The George Floyd trial begins
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 340
Syria: UN report calls for a complete ceasefire

February 2021 | Conflict Alert # 333
South Korea: The 'Comfort Women' issue returns to haunt
January 2021 | Conflict Alert # 222
Russia: Pro-Navalny protests turn anti-government 
January 2021 | Conflict Alert # 220
COVID-19: The Vaccine Wars

December 2020 | Conflict Alert # 200
India: Farmers' protests intensify as deadlock persists

November 2020 | Conflict Alert # 191
Pakistan: Anti-French protests called off
October 2020 | Conflict Alert # 174
Bangladesh: Protests intensify against sexual violence
October 2020 | Conflict Alert # 167
India crosses 6 million-mark in COVID-19 cases
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 166
Pakistan: The persisting polio problem
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 156
Pakistan: Targeted Violence continues in Waziristan

September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 154
The anti-Racist Protests in the US: Between
August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 148
Israel and UAE normalize relations

August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 146
Bolivia: Protests against the Election postponement
August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 138
In Iraq, the protestors return to the streets 
July 2020 | Conflict Alert # 118
J&K: Geelani's Exit and Continuing Violence
June 2020 | Conflict Alert # 105
Black Lives Matter brings the US to its knees
May 2020 | Conflict Alert # 86
Libya: Khalifa Haftar announces ceasefire 
May 2020 | Conflict Alert # 81
India: The surge in violence in J&K
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 71
Afghanistan: 300 Taliban prisoners released

April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 67
Syria: New UN Report on Idlib
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 64
A lethal impact on the Refugee/Migrant Camps 
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 63
Indigenous Communities battle a complete wipeout 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 51
Coronavirus & China: Fall in numbers 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 47
Coronavirus & Nepal: In the second stage, cancels
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 44
Two Presidents in Afghanistan
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 42
'Aurat March': A New beginning across Pakistan 

March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 38
Sri Lanka withdraws from 30/1 Geneva Resolution

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 35
A ceasefire between Israel, Islamic Jihad in Gaza
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 34
Libya: rivals withdraw from Geneva peace talks

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 33
India: Violence in Delhi
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 32
Afghanistan: Seven Days of Peace
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 31
Climate Change Fallouts: Impacts the Bird population
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 28
Pakistan: Court convicts LeT founder Hafiz Saeed
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 27
Pakistan: Suicide terrorism returns to haunt Quetta
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 26
Afghanistan: The US-Taliban Seven Day Deal

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 24
Israel: Violence in post  Trump-deal
January 2020 | Conflict Alert # 20
Kenya: Al Shabab and a week of killings
December 2019 | Conflict Alert # 19
Citizenship Amendment Bill:2019
November 2019 | Conflict Alert # 18
Lebanon: PM Hariri quits, but protests continue 

October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 16
Bolivian unrest
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 15
Hundreds protest in Haiti
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 14
Protests rock Chile

October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 13
Hong Kong Violence: A divide within
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 12
Spain: The trouble in Catalonia
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 11
Turkey's Offensive in Syria
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 9
Africa to be Polio Free
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 7
Myanmar: Teenage girls traded as brides to China
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 6
Moscow Protests: Thousands rally in Moscow

August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 3
Jordan Restores diplomatic ties with Qatar