SITTWE—A pregnant woman and a man were injured in shootings allegedly carried out by Myanmar military (or Tatmadaw) soldiers in Kyauktaw Village on on Wednesday, in the conflict-torn north of Rakhine State.
The two were injured in separate shootings in Maha Muni Village and neighboring Thayet Tabin Village, near the Yangon-Sittwe Road, according to family members. Soldiers allegedly shot from a pagoda precinct between the two villages.
Ko Kyaw Thet Tun, a 25-year-old resident of Thayet Tabin Village, was shot near the Maha Myat Muni pagoda, where his grandfather is chairman of the pagoda’s board of trustees.
“My son was biking clothes and medicine to his grandfather at Maha Myat Muni pagoda. He said he was shot by soldiers from the western gate of the pagoda. We don’t know why,” his father, U Maung Phyu, said.
In a separate incident, Ma Aye Aye Myint, 24 and pregnant, was hit by stray bullets while in her home in Maha Muni Village, her husband, Ko Zaw Zaw, told The Irrawaddy.
“We heard gunshots from the mountains to the northeast of the village around 5 p.m. on July 31. The shots ceased around 6:30 p.m., so we thought the clash was over and started preparing for dinner,” he said. “Then, soldiers from the pagoda precinct shot at our house. We lay prone on the floor, but my wife was pregnant and she could not. Then she was hit by a bullet.”
The two were rushed to Kyauktaw Public Hospital on Wednesday; on Thursday, Ma Aye Aye Myint—seriously wounded in her right arm—was transferred to Sittwe Public Hospital.
The Irrawaddy was unable to reach a Kyauktaw Township administrator or the head of the Kyauktaw Township Police.
Colonel Win Zaw Oo, spokesperson for the Tatmadaw’s Western Command, which covers the area, said that a clash took place near a dam northeast of Maha Myat Muni pagoda, but not at the pagoda.
“There was only a skirmish near Thit Ta Pon Dam, on the road to Paletwa. It was quite far from Maha [Myat] Muni pagoda,” he told The Irrawaddy. “No clash happened near Maha [Myat] Muni pagoda.”
However, Maha Muni Village locals claim that Tatmadaw soldiers fired at their village unprovoked, after locals had heard gunshots around 5 p.m. off in the mountains northeast of the pagoda.
Clashes between the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army have displaced over 50,000 people in Rakhine State. Since fighting broke out late last year, according to the Rakhine Ethnic Congress, 71 civilians, including eight Rohingya, been killed; 53 have been injured by land mines and remnant artillery shells; nine are missing; and 156 have been detained.
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