Arakan Army (AA) militants released 12 out of 31 civilian hostages to community leaders in Mrauk-U at around 17:00 (local time) on Sunday, October 27. The 31 hostages were kidnapped from a passenger bus in Mrauk-U on Friday, October 11, following rumors that the military (Tatmadaw) has been sending troops disguised as civilians.
Further attacks and kidnappings are possible in the region over the near term.
Violence resumed in early December 2018 between Rakhine separatists and the military. The Arakan Army seeks greater autonomy for Buddhists in Rakhine state. According to the Myanmar office of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), about 7500 displaced people are scattered across 29 sites in Rakhine due to the violence and 730,000 people in neighboring Bangladesh.
Individuals in Rakhine state are advised to monitor developments to the situation, report suspicious objects and behavior to police, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
Travelers are advised to avoid all but essential travel to Rakhine state, except the southern townships of Kyaukpyu, Ramree, Munaung, Toungup, Thandwe (including the tourist resort of Ngapali), and Gwa.
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