Two Civilians Die Amid Fighting Between AA and Myanmar Military

By Min Aung Khine 9 October 2019

SITTWE, Rakhine State—Armed clashes between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army (AA) have rocked Kyauktan Village in Rakhine State’s Rathedaung Township since Tuesday and the bodies of two local residents who died during the fighting still cannot be retrieved.

A 70-year-old woman died of a heart attack. A 17-year-old man also died but the cause of death is still unknown.

“Clashes erupted around 10 a.m. yesterday and continued until around 9 a.m. today,” Upper House lawmaker U Khin Maung Latt told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday. “A 70-year-old ailing woman died of a heart attack and a deaf man also died. Nobody dares to go and retrieve their bodies.”

The township General Administration Department, civil society organizations, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Myanmar Red Cross Society were working together on Tuesday to retrieve the bodies, according to the lawmaker.

“We cannot get there for the time being due to the situation,” said an official with the ICRC’s Sittwe Office.

Kyauktan residents fled to nearby villages following the outbreak of violence on Tuesday.

“Yesterday soldiers came from Aung Thazi Village to Kyauktan Village, shooting. As they left Kyauktan Village, a clash took place and a sick old woman died of a heart attack,” said Daw Aye Yi, a local resident. “Her family members dared not stay there. They all had to flee. The body is still in the village.”

Some elderly civilians are still trapped in the village, according to local residents.

The spokesperson for the Myanmar military’s Western Command, Colonel Win Zaw Oo, said no clashes happened near Kyauktan Village.

“Our divisions are not deployed in that area,” he said.

The Irrawaddy was unable to reach the AA for comment on the fighting.

In May, the military detained local residents from Kyauktan and six civilians died and eight were injured.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.

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