SITTWE, Rakhine State — Two Rohingya women were killed and seven others injured when an artillery shell hit Kin Taung in Rakhine State’s Buthidaung Township over the weekend during fighting between Myanmar’s military and the Arakan Army (AA).
One victim was 18 and the other was a 25-year-old mother, according to deputy administrator of Buthidaung Township U Hla Shwe.
“One died on the spot and the other died on her way to the hospital. We heard that artillery shells fell on the village amid the fighting,” U Hla Shwe told The Irrawaddy.
Seven injured villagers were sent to Buthidaung for treatment.
“They said an artillery shell fell on their village while they were sleeping. I don’t know which side was responsible. But the villagers said Battalion 551 [of Myanmar’s military] fired three shells and one of them fell on their village,” said U Hla Shwe.
Colonel Win Zaw Oo, a spokesman for the Western Command of Myanmar’s military, said there was an exchange of fire when the AA launched an attacked at around 1 a.m. on Saturday on Myanmar’s military and the border police at the Phone Nyo Leik Bridge. He said the military had received a tipoff that the AA would blow up the bridge.
“The AA troops have attacked the security forces at Phone Nyo Leik Bridge numerous times. Kin Taung Village is to the west and our forces were also in the west. How could a shell fired by us fall on that village? The directions are different,” said Col. Win Zaw Oo.
AA information officer Khaing Thukha blamed Myanmar’s military.
“The AA has no reason to target civilians. The Bamar army, whenever it commits a war crime, blames us to cover up its crimes,” he said.
“They are indiscriminately shooting with the intention of killing anyone in Rakhine State. Ask the villagers. They know which army was close to their village,” he added.
Four Rohingya children were killed and six others injured in a landmine explosion in Buthidaung Township on Jan. 7. Myanmar’s military claimed the mine was laid by the AA.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko
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