YANGON: Myanmar‘s junta detained around 50 people and left an unknown number of others feared dead in western Rakhine state after a clash with an ethnic armed group, local media reported on Friday.
Arakan Army (AA) fighters launched attacks on security forces in the west of the country this week, opening another front as the military battles opponents in the north and east.
On Thursday, junta troops shelled the town of Pauktaw and shot at it from helicopters after AA fighters seized the police station, residents told AFP.
The military took control of the town later Thursday, and on Friday, local media cited residents saying that around 50 people had been detained and an unknown number were feared dead.
Thousands had already fled the town of around 20,000 people, the residents said.
The junta has said its forces have taken control of the town but gave no details on casualties or deaths.
AA fighters are also battling the junta across northern Shan state as part of an alliance of ethnic minority groups that has seized towns and blocked vital trade routes to China.
The AA said on Thursday that an unspecified number of “civilians of Pauktaw” had been killed by the military after troops entered the town.
It pledged to “retaliate”.
A ceasefire between the junta and the AA in Rakhine had held until this week, despite the ongoing clashes in the north.
The junta on Wednesday said the AA was “destroying its Rakhine people and regional development” following AA attacks on security forces.

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