Burma

Artillery Shell Kills Boy in Former Myanmar Tourist Hotspot Mrauk-U

By Min Aung Khine 21 October 2020

Sittwe, Rakhine State — A child was killed and two adults were seriously injured when an artillery shell landed on Rakhine State’s Mrauk-U Township on Monday evening.

Dhammayazak ward residents said a nine-year-old boy was killed on the spot and his father, 44, and neighbor, 50, were seriously wounded.

Ward administrator U Aung Thaung Tun said: “The artillery shell reportedly landed in front of their house at around 4 pm on Monday. His father and a woman from next door were seriously injured and taken to hospital.”

There was no fighting on Monday evening in Mrauk-U, said residents, adding that they did not know from which direction the artillery shell came.

Mrauk-U’s historic ruins have attracted large numbers of tourists in the past.

Rakhine State lawmaker U Tun Tha Sein for Mrauk-U Township said: “I visited the boy’s mother. There was no fighting on Monday in the area. It is said the shell fell on the field in front of their house. It is not clear from which direction it came.”

The boy’s funeral was held on Tuesday.

A 20-year-old primary school teacher was killed by an artillery shell in Kathittaw village, Rathedaung Township, on Sept. 29. He died on his way to hospital.

Despite the government’s COVID-19 stay-at-home order across Rakhine State, villagers are regularly forced to flee their homes due to clashes between Myanmar’s military and the Arakan Army (AA). Meanwhile, civilian causalities from shelling have risen.

The Rakhine Ethnic Congress said on Oct. 1 that more than 36,000 people have been displaced by fighting since August in Rakhine State, with the number exceeding 22,000 in late September in northern Rakhine.

Myanmar’s military says it has extended a unilateral ceasefire several times but exempted Rakhine State, saying it is fighting terrorists in the impoverished state.

As the government has declared the AA a terrorist organization, The Irrawaddy was not able to contact the armed group for a comment.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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