Nine Year-Old Killed in Rakhine as Myanmar Military Launches Air Strikes Against AA

By Min Aung Khine 25 March 2020

SITTWE, Rakhine State—A nine-year-old child was killed and 15 civilians were seriously injured in a village in Rakhine State’s Minbya Township in an air strike by the Myanmar military on Monday.

The Myanmar military responded with air strikes on Monday evening after the Arakan Army (AA) launched attacks on an advanced military training school in Minbya Township earlier that day. Bombs landed on Che Taung Village, where the majority of people are ethnic Chin, resulting in the child’s death and multiple injuries, according to villagers.

“My brother got serious injuries. His skin was burnt. One of his sons was killed on the spot and another was injured. He said his house was hit in an air strike,” Inga Oo, brother of Zani Aung, who was injured in the incident, told The Irrawaddy.

Zani Aung and his 13-year-old son were sent to Sittwe Hospital and other injured villagers are receiving treatment at Minbya Hospital.

Tatmadaw spokesperson Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun confirmed that the military used helicopters to return fire against the AA on Monday, but denied that they shot at the village.

“We have no reason to shoot where there is no fighting, and we have no reason to fire into villages. They said helicopters dropped bombs after the fighting. But that helicopter can’t be used for bombing raids. It is just propaganda,” he said.

The military spokesperson suggested that the injured villagers are in fact AA fighters who participated in the attacks on the military training school.

The Irrawaddy went to Sittwe Hospital on Tuesday evening and found that Zani Aung was in pain on his hospital bed, but that his son could speak a little.

According to the Myanmar military, around 300 AA fighters attacked the military’s advanced training school in Minbya between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Monday. The AA fighters approached the school through nearby villages, including Che Taung. The military also said that it used air strikes to attack the AA fighters as they retreated after suffering heavy casualties.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.

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