Asia

Myanmar government reports fierce fighting in Rakhine state

  • FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016 photo, Myanmar police officers sit in a truck as they provide security in Maungdaw, Rakhine State, Myanmar, a border town with Bangladesh. Myanmar's government on Sunday, Nov. 13 reported fierce fighting in the western state of Rakhine, where the army has been conducting counterinsurgency operations since nine police officers were killed in attacks on posts along the border with Bangladesh last month. (AP Photo/Thein Zaw, File)

    FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016 photo, Myanmar police officers sit in a truck as they provide security in Maungdaw, Rakhine State, Myanmar, a border town with Bangladesh. Myanmar's government on Sunday, Nov. 13 reported fierce fighting in the western state of Rakhine, where the army has been conducting counterinsurgency operations since nine police officers were killed in attacks on posts along the border with Bangladesh last month. (AP Photo/Thein Zaw, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Friday, Oct. 14, 2016 file photo, Myanmar police officers patrol along the border fence between Myanmar and Bangladesh in Maungdaw, Rakhine State, Myanmar. Myanmar's government on Sunday, Nov. 13, reported fierce fighting in the western state of Rakhine, where the army has been conducting counterinsurgency operations since nine police officers were killed in attacks on posts along the border with Bangladesh last month. (AP Photo/Thein Zaw, File)

    FILE - In this Friday, Oct. 14, 2016 file photo, Myanmar police officers patrol along the border fence between Myanmar and Bangladesh in Maungdaw, Rakhine State, Myanmar. Myanmar's government on Sunday, Nov. 13, reported fierce fighting in the western state of Rakhine, where the army has been conducting counterinsurgency operations since nine police officers were killed in attacks on posts along the border with Bangladesh last month. (AP Photo/Thein Zaw, File)  (The Associated Press)

Myanmar's government has reported fierce fighting in the western state of Rakhine, where the army has been conducting counterinsurgency operations since nine police officers were killed in attacks on posts along the border with Bangladesh last month.

An Interior Ministry statement said government troops were ambushed Saturday morning by about 60 attackers armed with guns, knives and spears. It said one soldier and at least six attackers died, adding that an army officer died in a later battle against 500 armed men, which ended when two air force helicopters joined the fight.

The attackers weren't identified, but the army has aligned with Rakhine Buddhists against Muslims of the Rohingya ethnic minority since violent intercommunal conflict erupted in 2012. Human rights groups have accused government forces of abuses against Rohingya civilians.