War In Kyauktaw, Rakhine State Edges Nearer to Town

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Fighting between the Burma Army and Arakan Army broke out in northern Rakhine State’s Kyauktaw Township on Monday, with explosions being heard in Kyauktaw town.

Nyi Pu, the chair of the Phyusin Metta volunteer association, said that the clashes broke out near Ting Ma village at around 11:00 a.m.

“We heard sound of gunfire around Ting Ma village in Kyauktaw Township today,” Nyi Pu told NMG on Monday. “I heard some civilians were injured. I haven’t gotten detailed information. The Burma Army has put security checks on every road in downtown Kyauktaw.”

Kyauktaw resident Kyaw Hla Myint said that he heard explosions at around 1:00 p.m., after which the Tatmadaw tightened security in the area.

“Police and soldiers are deployed in markets and streets. They interrogate local people,” Kyaw Hla Myint said, adding that the increased military presence has scared locals.

Another local told NMG on the condition of anonymity that he heard gunshots exchanged around Ting Ma.

“One side continued shooting indiscriminately there. The Tatmadaw is continuing to shoot out there,” he explained.

A shell landed in Peik Thae ward in Kyauktaw town on February 22 and three civilians were injured. According to Phyusin Metta Volunteer Association, two of those injured are still in critical condition: 50-year-old Hnin Hlaw Wait and her 17-year-old son Maung Gyi.

“A son, her mother and a neighbor were injured in the incident. Two critically injured people were transferred to Sittwe hospital,” the organization’s chair, Nyi Pu told NMG. “[The woman’s] son’s right leg was broken. Doctors will try to put a steel rod [in his leg]. If it’s not going well, his right leg will be cut off. Shrapnel hit his mother’s stomach. Her situation is still in critical. The doctor told us that her situation has still not improved.”

NMG called representatives from the Burma Army and the Arakan Army for comment but had received no response at the time of reporting.

Local civil society organizations have said that more than 100 civilians have been killed in the recent fighting in Rakhine State.