Civilian Dies, 6 Hurt as Villages Shelled in Clash Between AA, Myanmar Military

By Min Aung Khine 16 September 2019

SITTWE, Rakhine State—One civilian was killed and six others were injured in a clash between the Myanmar military (or Tatmadaw) and the Arakan Army (AA) in Kyauktaw Township, Rakhine State at around 1.00 a.m. on Sunday.

U Ni Tun, 70, was struck in the leg by shrapnel when an artillery shell hit his house in the village of Kan Thone Sint, north of Kan Sauk hill in Kyauktaw. He died of blood loss while he was being taken to a hospital.

“An artillery shell fell on U Ni Tun’s house at around 1 a.m. [on Sunday]. He died en route as we were taking him to the hospital in a motorboat,” Kan Thone Sint village administrator U Hla Maung told The Irrawaddy.

The artillery shell was fired from east of the village, and villagers kept the shrapnel, he said.

In another incident, six civilians were injured when artillery shells struck their houses in Thingana and Sabel Hla villages on the Kalandan River, local residents said.

“The fighting took place at around 1 a.m. [Sunday]. Tatmadaw Navy [ships] heading to Paletwa [in Chin State] along the Kaladan River were fired upon from the forest. The Navy returned fire, and [an artillery shell] hit our village,” Ko Kyaw Thaung, a resident of Sabel Hla Village, told The Irrawaddy.

According to locals, the AA troops were in Apauk Wa Village near the Yangon-Sittwe Road when they opened fire on the Navy vessels. Artillery shells struck the villagers’ houses as the Navy returned fire, the villagers said.

Three people were injured in Thingana Village and three in Sabel Hla Village. Two of the victims—one from each village—were seriously injured and rushed to Sittwe Township Hospital, said chairman Ko Nyi Pu of a community-based blood donation group in Kyauktaw Township.

When asked for comment on Sunday, Colonel Win Zaw, a spokesperson for the Myanmar Army’s Western Command, told The Irrawaddy he had no knowledge of the clashes. The Irrawaddy could not reach AA spokesman Khaing Thukha.

The two sides also engaged in serious clashes in mountains north of Pyin Yaung Village in Minbya Township on Saturday. They also clashed near Amyet Taung Village in Buthidaung Township.

The Myanmar government, the Tatmadaw and three members of the Northern Alliance—the AA, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army—are set to meet on Tuesday in Kengtung, Shan State to discuss a ceasefire.

Government spokesperson U Zaw Htay said the clashes are likely to escalate if the meeting yields a poor result.

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