Nine Civilians Injured in Rakhine as Myanmar Military Shells Villages

By Min Aung Khine 17 March 2020

SITTWE, Rakhine State—Nine civilians were injured when artillery shells landed on their villages near the Kalanda River in Rakhine State’s Kyauktaw Township around 3 a.m. on Monday.

Three men from Oak Kyut Village, two from Yaung Sone Village, one from Ahla Madi Village, and two men and one teenager from Invari Village were wounded in the incident, according to Rakhine State lawmaker U Maung Maung of Kyauktaw.

“Villagers said artillery shells fell on their villages while they were sleeping. They said the navy fired shots from along the river. I don’t know the reason behind the shootings,” U Maung Maung told The Irrawaddy.

U Maung Phyu Hla, 68, from Oak Kyut was seriously injured and rushed to Sittwe Hospital from a local rural hospital.

“He was hit as he ran to hide under the house after hearing the sounds of shelling,” said his sister, Daw Ma Yin Sein. “He was injured in his belly, knees and shins. The shells came from the river. We don’t know what happened. We only heard gunshots.”

According to local residents, Myanmar navy ships traveled up the Kaladan River to Chin State’s Paletwa Township, firing shots along the river banks as they went.

“Three people were wounded in our village, two of them seriously injured,” U Aye Maung Thein, administrator of Yaung Sone, told The Irrawaddy. “We don’t know if there was fighting or what happened. We were woken up by gunshots.”

The two men in Yaung Sone, 60 and 39, are receiving treatment at a local rural hospital.

The Irrawaddy was unable to reach Tatmadaw True News Information Team spokesperson Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun, Western Command spokesperson Colonel Win Zaw Oo, or Rakhine State Security and Border Affairs Minister Colonel Min Than for their comments on the alleged attacks.

However, Arakan Army (AA) spokesperson Khaing Thukha claimed that there was no clash between the AA and the Myanmar military on Monday morning in the area.

The AA has been attacking the Myanmar military’s Meewa hilltop outpost, on the border of Paletwa and Kyauktaw townships, since February as the hill is strategically important for control of the Kaladan River, which flows through the two townships.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.

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