SITTWE, Rakhine State — At least two police officers were among those killed in an attack on a police convoy on the main road through northern Rakhine State’s Ponnagyun Township on Wednesday night, according to police, local residents and photos on Facebook.
Residents of Pan Nilar Village said they heard a loud explosion followed by multiple rounds of gunfire that night and that they visited the site this morning.
One villager, who asked not to be named, said he saw six dead bodies — four of them badly burned — inside a total of four vehicles.
Other local residents also said they saw dead bodies at the scene, as well as a damaged police van that appeared to have caught fire and civilian car. They said they saw two more damaged police vans about a mile south down the road. They said the vehicles were travelling from Kyauktaw Township toward Sittwe, the state capital.
Photos of the scene circulated on Facebook show a white sedan with multiple bullet holes and the bodies of two men in police uniforms.
Ponnagyun Township police Maj. Nyein Chan confirmed that the convoy was hit by an explosive device but declined to comment further because the attack was still under investigation. Rakhine State police chief Col. Kyi Lin also declined to comment.
Locals said some Pan Nilar residents have left the village for fear of being arrested on suspicion of collaborating with local rebel groups. They said soldiers and police were at the scene of the attack and searching the area with landmine detectors.
U Min Aung, a state lawmaker representing Taungup Township, denied rumors spreading on Facebook that Rakhine State Chief Minister U Nyi Pu was in the convoy and killed in the attack. He said the chief minister was safe and not part of the convoy.