Fighting between security forces and the Arakan Army, an ethnic armed group seeking greater autonomy for Rakhine, has forced some 5,000 civilians to flee their homes since early December, according to the United Nations.
The violence has brought fresh turmoil to the region, the site of a massive crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority in 2017, and represents another setback for the Buddhist-majority country’s embattled peace process.
"Between Jan. 5 and 16, 2019, there were eight clashes and five landmine explosions," said Major General Tun Tun Nyi, speaking at a rare press conference in the capital, Naypyitaw.
"Thirteen enemy bodies and three weapons were seized, and some soldiers died and were injured on our side," he said.
He declined to elaborate on the number of government troops killed, saying it was "not necessary" to give the figures.