Sittwe, Rakhine State — A civilian was killed and four villagers, including a police officer, were wounded when a Rakhine State village was hit by artillery shells at around 1 am on Wednesday.
A 90-year-old woman died, and three civilians — her 40-year-old daughter, a 13-year-old girl and a 42-year-old man — were injured in Amyint Kyun village. The village police chief, Lieutenant Myo Thet Tun, was also injured.
“We were sleeping and were woken up by a sound like thunder. We didn’t know what had happened. We woke the children, ran downstairs and lay flat. After the children arrived downstairs, my husband came down injured,” said Daw Phyu Che, the wife of U Kyaw Myint who was hit in his waist.
“We only heard gunshots and did not know what had happened as it was nighttime. We saw fireballs flying over the houses and some fell beside my house. At first, I didn’t notice my daughter was injured. She said she felt dizzy and only then I noticed that she was bleeding from her throat,” said U Kyaw Kyaw Win, the father of Ma Nandar Win who was hit in her neck.
Villagers claimed Myanmar’s military or Tatmadaw was responsible for the shelling. A villager, who asked for anonymity, said Arakan Army (AA) troops might have attacked two naval vessels heading from Sittwe to Rathedaung along the Minchaung River from a bridge near their village, prompting the ships to return fire.
“When we looked in the morning, people said the AA shot at the naval vessels from the bridge. So they returned fire,” said the villager.
Lt Myo Than Tun was injured at his police station.
“The chief of Amyint Kyun police was injured. He said he was hit after inspecting dugouts in the police compound,” Lieutenant Colonel Maung Maung Soe of Rakhine State police told The Irrawaddy.
Myanmar’s military spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun said the vessels heading from Sittwe to Ponnagyun returned fire after they came under attack by the AA near Amyint Kyun.
“The AA attacked the vessels with RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades] near Amyint Kyun at around 1 am on June 10 and the vessels returned fire. I don’t know about civilian casualties. But one of our personnel was slightly injured in the attack,” said Brig Gen Zaw Min Tun.
As the government has declared the AA a terrorist organization, The Irrawaddy was not able to contact the armed group for a comment.
The village is at the border of Sittwe and Ponnagyun townships, around 30 minutes’ drive from Sittwe with approximately 500 households.
U Kyaw Myint and Ma Nandar Win are receiving treatment at Sittwe People’s Hospital while the police officer is being treated at the military hospital in Sittwe. Another woman, Daw Ma San Yi, was only slightly injured and received treatment in the village.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko
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