Training in the dark
ARSA trains its foot soldiers in small, intensive sessions from 11pm to 1am or 2am. The training usually takes place near shrimp farms or in the forested hills.
Training is divided in two sessions – armed and unarmed.
Unarmed training involves martial arts, usually kung-fu and physical exercise involving calisthenics.
Armed training ranges from using firearms to preparing explosives – improvised explosive devices to be more precise.
The IEDs used by ARSA are made with urea, potassium chlorate, iron pipes as the container and metallic balls as shrapnel. The IEDs have an effective range of 45-90 metres.
The weapons they use
The video footage of ARSA training sessions showed they have very few weapons. Their firearms mostly comprise a few M-16 rifles, AK-47, G3 and G4 assault rifles.
Very few ARSA troops were carrying firearms during the October 2016 and the August 2017 attacks.
The October attack on the Myanmar Border Guard Police outpost gave them access to a huge cache of weapons – 61 assault rifles and 2,200 rounds of ammunition.
The August attacks on 25 police stations and army bases were not as successful, limiting their armed capability for the time being.
Those who do not have firearms use staves, swords, or other melee weapons.
The insurgent’s uniform
ARSA does not have any specific dress code, said the ARSA members. But all of the ARSA fighters usually wear three quarters and T-shirts during their training and operations. They also wear anklets or long socks on the feet and anklets also on the elbows.
Local supporters who also took part in ARSA’s operation are seen or heard to wear the normal Rohingya dresses which is lungi and T-shirt.