The Tanintharyi Township People’s Defense Force in Tanintharyi Region has issued an apology for mistakenly attacking a Myat Mandalar Tun express bus on Saturday night, resulting in two fatalities and injuries to five other civilians, including two monks.
The Myat Mandalar Tun express bus was heading from Myeik to Kawthaung in Tanintharyi Region with about 16 passengers on board when it was shot at by allied People’s Defense Forces between Lae Taung and Ta Moat Chone villages on Pyidaungsu Road at 8pm on Saturday. A six-year-old boy and a woman in her 40s died in the attack.
The Tanintharyi Township People’s Defense Force said the road had been temporarily closed following clashes between regime troops from 558 battalion and the PDFs earlier in the day.
According to the PDF’s statement, the resistance fighters were waiting for junta reinforcements to pass by and were not expecting a bus carrying civilians.
“Because the vehicle didn’t stop when ordered, it was thought that the bus was being used by the enemy,” the Tanintharyi Township PDF said.
The resistance force apologized to the families and said they were deeply saddened by the loss of the people in the accidental shooting.
A resident from Tanintharyi region said similar incidents frequently occurred in the region and local people were wary of being shot at in error.
“If the resistance forces want to attack the regime troops, they should only do so if they have accurate information. Otherwise, people’s trust in the revolutionary forces may decline,” a Tanintharyi resident told The Irrawaddy.
In February, a civilian vehicle was mistakenly attacked with a mine by the Yebyu Township PDF in Tanintharyi Region, leaving a monk and a woman dead and six other civilians injured. The resistance group issued a formal public apology to the victims’ families three days after the attack.
In another incident, a vehicle belonging to the Thanlyin Thabawa Dhamma Center in Yangon traveling from Myeik to Yangon was mistakenly shot at by allied Palaw resistance forces in late November, resulting in the death of a monk.