The Arakan Army (AA) group issued a statement on Monday, October 19, claiming responsibility for the kidnapping of three candidates from the National League for Democracy (NLD) party in Rakhine state on October 14. The abduction occurred in Taungup whilst the candidates were campaigning prior to the general election on November 8. The AA has demanded the release of detained student protesters in return for releasing the abductees.
Security operations and attacks by the AA are possible as the election date approaches.
Violence resumed in early December 2018 between Rakhine separatists and the military. The Arakan Army (AA) 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.
Those in Rakhine state are advised to avoid the area, remain vigilant for militant activity, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.