Dhaka: The Bangladesh military authority confiscated 183 sophisticated weapons and 24,144 rounds of ammunition from areas near the Burma border during last year.

According to a local newspaper source on 10 May, 2005, seized weapons included auto matic assault rifles such as AK-47 rifles and M-16 rifles as well as a large amount of ammunition and other explosive devices. The seizure also included some heavy weapons such as a six rocket launcher and two 60 mm mortar.

During February of last year, a team of American arms experts visited the regions to inspect seized arms, which included a large number of American-made weapons. However, the American experts did not make any comments on the possible origins or on how these weapons arrived in Bangladesh, said the report.

These weapons were apprehended in eastern hill tracks regions where Burmese insurgent groups have been active.

Most of these weapons were recovered during operations against the Arakanese insurgent groups. During one of the operations, a few senior members of the Arakan Army were detained in Baisary, Naikhongchhari Township, in south-eastern Bangladesh. The Arakan Army was forced to surrender most of their weapons to the Bangladeshi authority as a condition of their leaders’ release.

The Arakan Army is a renegade group of the National United Party of Arakan.

Since the Bangladeshi Army has managed to seize such a large number of weapons from the Burma-Bangladesh border, many of the Arakanese armed insurgent groups are facing a decline in their strength and their activities against the Rangoon regime, said a member of an insurgent group based in the border area.