Two civilians were killed in a clash between Myanmar military regime forces and the Rakhine ethnic armed group Arakan Army (AA) in northern Maungdaw in Rakhine State on Monday night.
A 50-year-old vehicle owner and a 20-year-old civilian driver were killed when AA troops reportedly attacked the vehicle carrying wounded junta soldiers.
“We heard gunshots for some 20 minutes around 11 p.m. [on Monday]. As people were sleeping, we didn’t know what happened. The next morning, we were told by the police the female vehicle owner died in the shooting,” a villager from Phet Wun Chaung Village told The Irrawaddy.
Monday’s clash was the third since fresh fighting broke out between the two sides in Maungdaw last Friday. The AA said junta troops carried out a sneak attack on an AA outpost near the Letpan Mountains northeast of Mee Taik Village on Friday, killing an AA sentry.
On Monday, the ethnic armed group reportedly ambushed the vehicle carrying junta soldiers wounded in Sunday’s fighting. Some junta soldiers were reportedly killed and injured in the ambush. The Irrawaddy could not independently confirm the casualties.
When asked for comment by The Irrawaddy, AA spokesman Khaing Thukha said he had no knowledge of the ambush.
The military regime has blocked some roads in northern Maungdaw, forcing passenger buses to stop operations, leaving some places isolated.
Khaing Thukha said it would depend on Myanmar’s military whether clashes intensify in Rakhine State. The AA would respond as necessary, he added.
The military regime imposed a 9 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew in Kyauktaw, Minbya, Myebon and Mrauk-U townships earlier this month.
The AA and the Myanmar military have observed an informal ceasefire since the November 2020 general election after two years of intense fighting, but tensions have risen on the ground recently and renewed fighting broke out in Maungdaw in November last year.
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