Investigation into Military Raid on Rakhine Village to be Demanded

By Min Aung Khine 30 January 2019

SITTWE—Concerned lawmakers have said they will demand an investigation into the case after a seven-year-old boy died of wounds caused by an artillery explosion in an alleged military raid near his home in the village of Tha Mee Hla in Rakhine State’s Rathaedaung Township on Saturday.

A military column, identified by villagers as the 99th Light Infantry Division, raided the village and looted gold, jewelry, cash and dozens of mobile phones from the villagers on Saturday, according to a number of Arakanese lawmakers.

The wounded child was rushed to Sittwe General Hospital but died on Monday evening while being transferred by ambulance to Yangon General Hospital for treatment.

His body was taken back to Tha Mee Hla village and the funeral will be held on Wednesday.

“They can fight for their causes, but as a representative of the people, the bullying of innocent civilians is totally unacceptable to me. As locals have reported the incident to us, I will write to the authorities, requesting that they carry out an investigation into it,” Lower Hose lawmaker Daw Khin Saw Wai told The Irrawaddy.

While innocent civilians are suffering from the fighting, more are being charged under the Unlawful Association Act following clashes between Myanmar Army and the Arakan Army (AA) in the area, according to Daw Khin Saw Wai.

“The two sides should stop fighting and engage in negotiations to find a solution,” said the lawmaker.

U Than Naing, a regional lawmaker who went to the village and saw the bullet-riddled houses, said that he would raise questions about the raid at the Rakhine State parliament.

“The parliament will convene on Feb. 13. I have submitted a proposal for a ceasefire and I will talk about [the raid] there,” he told The Irrawaddy.

The soldiers raided and shot into the village after the military column was attacked with a series of remotely detonated mines near the village, according to U Than Naing.

Both Daw Khin Saw Wai and U Than Naing told The Irrawaddy that they will officially lodge complaints with evidence to the relevant authorities, including the commander-in-chief’s office.

The commander-in-chief office’s spokesperson Brig-Gen Zaw Min Tun has denied the allegations, saying there was no raid by the military on the ground.