Arakan Army says it shot down Myanmar junta helicopter in Chin State

Ethnic Rakhine armed group the Arakan Army (AA) on Wednesday confirmed it had shot down a Myanmar junta helicopter during the fierce fighting that raged in Chin State’s Paletwa Township late last year and early this year. The confirmation came several days after the armed group posted a photo of ethnic fighters standing next to the wreckage of a military chopper, The Irrawaddy reports.

“We shot down a helicopter during intense fighting in Paletwa Township. The helicopter crashed in deep forest near a junta outpost on Pi Mountain. We only found the helicopter after seizing the [junta] tactical command base on Kankha Mountain [on Jan. 13],” Khaing Thukha told The Irrawaddy.

The two mountains sit on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border north of Paletwa town.

The AA occupied Paletwa, which is located on the border of Chin and Rakhine states, in the second week of January after two months of fighting.

Together with the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, the AA is a member of the tripartite Brotherhood Alliance, which launched a large-scale anti-regime offensive known as Operation 1027 in northern Shan State in late October.

AA troops pose with a regime helicopter the group claims to have shot down in Chin State. / AA Info

As part of the operation, the AA launched an offensive against junta troops in Rakhine State in mid-November.

On Feb. 4, the AA posted on its Telegram pictures of fighters from the three armed groups standing beside a crashed chopper, suggesting that the two other groups are fighting alongside the AA in Rakhine. At the time, the AA did not make any comment about the chopper or how it was shot down.

The group has still not said what type of weapon was used to shoot it down.

In late January, a Myanmar junta military helicopter was shot down by an anti-regime Karen armed group and allied resistance forces in Karen State, killing a brigadier general and four other military officers onboard, becoming the third junta aircraft shot down by anti-regime resistance forces within a month.

So far, anti-regime resistance forces across the country have shot down three fighter jets and six choppers.

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