Nine-Year-Old Schoolboy Dies From Alleged Myanmar Military Gunfire in Rakhine State

By Min Aung Khine 6 December 2019

SITTWE, Rakhine State—A 9-year-old boy was killed by gunfire allegedly from Myanmar military troops temporarily stationed at a monastery in Kyauktaw Township’s Pike The quarter in Rakhine State on Friday morning.

Maung Kyaw Min Myat, a third grade student, was running from school back to his home when witnesses heard the sound of an explosion. He was hit by bullets shot by Myanmar soldiers on the road next to Shwe Kyaung Monastery, according to Daw Cho Cho Aye, the boy’s aunt.

“My nephew and other students were running back home just after they had arrived at school at 9 a.m. There was the sound of an explosion and they all rushed back home,” she said. “There were three soldiers shooting on the road. My nephew was hit when he was about to enter our home. He died in my hands. I am angry that the students were shot.”

Maung Kyaw Min Myat lived with his aunt’s family because his parents are working in Malaysia.

U Maung Maung, Rakhine State parliamentarian from Kyauktaw, said he also heard the explosion, followed by gunfire. “At about 10 a.m., I heard a child was hit. I went to the Kyauktaw general hospital and saw the boy had died from five bullets wounds.”

The hospital’s morgue is still processing the boy’s medical records.

Colonel Win Zaw Oo, spokesman for the military’s Western Command, said the soldiers on security patrol near Shwe Kyaung Monastery were attacked by an RPG from the Arakan Army (AA) at 8:30 a.m. and returned fire. He said the RPG fired by the AA hit a tree inside the monastery.

AA spokesman Khaing Thukha told The Irrawaddy his troops neither went to Kyauktaw on Friday nor were they fighting near Shwe Kyaung Monastery. He added that the Tatmadaw, as the military is known, says the AA was attacking them whenever Tatmadaw troops kill civilians.

“They are still brutally killing civilians and committing war crimes even when the country is going to face the court case at the ICJ [International Court of Justice],” he said.

Earlier this week, three civilians died and 12 were injured by artillery explosions in Rakhine State’s Mrauk-U Township alone.

Three Mrauk-U township residents—a month-old girl, a 4-year-old boy and a 30-year-old woman—died and four others were injured when an artillery shell struck their community in the Ale Zay quarter of Mrauk-U Town on Monday afternoon after 4 p.m.

On the same day, three civilians were injured when an artillery shell fell on the village of Na Leik, also in Mrauk-U Township.

On Sunday, five civilians, including three children, were injured after the Myanmar military allegedly shelled Yar Shay Pyin Village in Mrauk-U Township.

The fighting between the military and the Arakan Army has been intensifying for more than a year and civilian casualties and arrests are increasing.

In late September, the Rakhine State parliament approved a proposal by lawmaker U Tun Tha Sein urging the government to investigate civilian deaths amid clashes in Rakhine State. As of Dec. 2, the state government had yet to give any response to the proposal, according to U Tun Tha Sein. He said in September that 82 civilians had been killed and 126 had been injured since January. More recent figures are not available.

Translated from Burmese by Nyein Nyein