Burma

Five Civilians Injured by Shelling in Muslim Villages in Rakhine

By Min Aung Khine 13 May 2020

SITTWE, Rakhine State—Five civilians were injured by shelling in two Muslim villages in Rakhine State’s Kyauktaw Township on Monday evening.

Two women and a 16-year-old teenager from Pike The Village and two men from Let Saung Kauk Village were injured when artillery shells landed in their villages, according to local residents.

“A Mawlawi [Muslim religious scholar] and a school teacher were injured when the artillery shells hit our village at around 5 p.m. on Monday,” U Maung Phyu, a lower-ranking village administrator of Let Saung Kauk Village, told The Irrawaddy.

“Two women and a young man were also injured in Pike The Village. I didn’t see the shelling, but villagers said government troops fired from Kissapanadi Bridge [over the Kaladan River],” he added.

According to residents living near Kissapanadi Bridge, Myanmar military soldiers fired artillery after an explosion was heard while a military truck drove over the bridge.

The two civilians from Let Saung Kauk Village were seriously injured and were transferred from a local hospital to Sittwe Hospital, according to villagers.

The two Muslim villages are located to the West of the Kaladan River.

Myanmar military spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun claimed that the Arakan Army (AA) attacked Myanmar military troops with remote-detonated mines near Kissapanadi Bridge while they were transporting medical supplies for COVID-19 prevention.

“There was no clash around Kyauktaw on Monday. Pike The Village is close to Kissapanadi Bridge. We transported COVID-19 medical supplies to Kyauktaw Public Hospital and Kan Kyi Shin Pagoda. As the medical and security troops returned, the AA attacked them with two remote-detonated mines to the west of the bridge,” the military spokesperson told The Irrawaddy. He added that there were no injuries from the mine blasts.

Brig-Gen Zaw Min Tun did not, however, respond to the allegations of shelling in civilian areas.

Last Friday, a primary school teacher and a girl were injured when an artillery shell hit Taung Bwe Village, also in Kyauktaw Township. On April 3, three civilians were injured in a shooting around Kisspanadi Bridge, near the entrance to Kyauktaw.

On April 1, five civilians were killed and seven were injured in shelling and shooting in urban areas of Kyauktaw. On Feb. 3, a woman was killed and three men were injured when artillery shells hit residential wards in Kyauktaw.

On Dec. 28 of last year, four civilians were injured during fighting between the Myanmar military and the AA at the entrance of Kyauktaw. On Dec. 6, a 3rd grade student died and a Muslim woman was injured during shooting between the two sides in urban Kyauktaw.

The clashes between the Myanmar military and the AA in northern Rakhine State have forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes since November 2018.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.

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