Myanmar Military Kills Villager, Injures Another in Northern Rakhine State

By Min Aung Khine 16 October 2019

SITTWE, Rakhine State—One civilian was killed and another injured in a shooting by the Myanmar Army, or Tatmadaw, in the village of Shwe Lai in Rakhine State’s Kyauktaw Township on Tuesday. 

U Kalar Maung, a 50-year-old man from Sitt Aung Village, which neighbors Shwe Lai, was killed and Ko Ne Hsan Win, a 24-year-old university student from Shwe Lai, was injured, according to local villagers. 

“It was not a clash. There is a village called Sitt Aung near our village. It appears that they [the Myanmar military] brought U Kalar Maung from Sitt Aung village, and he ran away upon reaching Shwe Lai. The soldiers shot him. At the time, my son was taking the car out of the garage to go to Sittwe University. He was shot and the car was also damaged,” U Maung Poe Kyaw, father of Ko Ne Hsan Win, told The Irrawaddy. 

Colonel Win Zaw Oo, a spokesperson for the Myanmar military’s Western Command, said soldiers who were conducting a patrol spotted U Kalar Maung using a telephone near a lake at Shwe Lai Village. As they took him for interrogation, he ran away and was therefore shot, the colonel said. 

“Our troops saw him at the lake in Shwe Lai Village. We wanted to know to whom he was talking. As we asked him, he ran away. So, our troops shot him in order to arrest him. About the other one who was injured, as he was near the car, bullets hit the car windows, and he was hit by shattered glass. He was not shot by us,” Col. Win Zaw Oo told The Irrawaddy. 

The commander of Division 22 said he would pay compensation for damages caused, U Maung Poe Kyaw said. 

“The troops who shot in our village belong to Division 22, and the name of the commander is Zeya Aung. He left his phone numbers with us,” U Maung Poe Kyaw said. 

U Kalar Maung was a rice trader, according to local residents. Col. Win Zaw Oo however claimed the victim had ties to the Arakan Army (AA), which the Myanmar military considers an insurgent group. 

Apart from a grenade, soldiers seized from him two cell phones containing messages to the AA, Col. Win Zaw Oo said. 

Local villagers said the shooting took place in the middle of Shwe Lai Village, and that U Kalar Maung was arrested in Sitt Aung Village, not near Shwe Lai Village. 

“While we are working to establish a genuine federal Union, such incidents hurt society, and we feel like they just breed bitter hatred and grudges,” Lower House lawmaker U Oo Tun Win of Kyauktaw Township told The Irrawaddy. 

Ko Ne Hsan Win was being treated at Sittwe Public Hospital. 

Civilian casualties and injuries have been on the increase in Rakhine amid heightened military tensions between the Myanmar military and the AA. 

The Rakhine State Parliament last month approved a proposal urging the Rakhine State government to form an investigation committee to probe civilian deaths caused by the fighting. 

At the time, lawmaker U Tun Tha Sein said 80 civilians had been killed and over 120 injured between January and Aug. 29. Additional cases of civilian deaths, injuries and detentions have been reported since Aug. 29, but the latest figures are unknown. 

Fighting remains intense across northern Rakhine State in Kyauktaw, Ponnagyun, Rathedaung, Buthidaung, Mrauk-U, Minbya and Myebon townships.

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