Eight Civilians Killed By Burma Army Shelling

By Network Media Group (NMG)
Wednesday, April 15, 2020

NMG spoke with Ko Khine Myo Tun, a human rights activist from Sittwe who visited Kyauk Seik, which was recently shelled by the Burma Army. Many civilians were killed or injured by the artillery attack on the village located in Ponnagyun township in Rakhine State, where intense fighting between the Burma Army and the Arakan Army (AA) has been breaking out. Villagers sought shelter from shelling in the neighbouring villages.

Can you talk about what happened when Kyauk Seik was attacked?

Eight were killed after the village was shelled and at least eight people sustained injuries. Four villagers died instantly when the shells struck the village. Two died in the Ponnagyun hospital and two died on the way to Sittwe hospital after (Burma Army) soldiers stopped them at a checkpoint for one hour.

What are the medical conditions of the injured villagers?

Two are in critical condition and receiving medical treatment in Ponnagyun hospital.

Why was Kyauk Seik shelled?

On the day shelling happened there was no fighting happening in the area. The LIB-550 (Burma Army), based in Ponnagyun, started firing heavy weapons indiscriminately from its mountain base, and this went on for 2 to 3 days. Kyauk Seik was hit by shells on April 13.

Did all the villagers flee Kyauk Seik after it was attacked?

Nearly 200 women and children sought refuge in the nearby villages. Some are sheltering in Gangan Khami. Kyauk Seik lies on the banks of the Kalandan River, close to the Yangon-Sittwe highway, and Gangan Khami is on the west bank.

Is there enough food to feed the villagers that are displaced?

All the IDPs (internally displaced persons) in Buthitawng, Maungtaw, Mrauk-U, Kyauktaw, Minbya and Ann townships are facing a food crisis and at the same time, they’re terrified of the coronavirus pandemic.

Where is the fighting between the Burma Army and the Arakan Army happening now?

Two days ago, the Burma Army launched air attacks on Phoung Seik, Letwel Sartaik and Pouk Tawpyin in Ponnagyun township. Villagers fled to Ponnagyun town, and the government set up an IDP camp just outside town.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Even though the coronavirus pandemic is happening ethnic people in Rakhine State are more afraid of the fighting because it’s something that can kill them right now. No-one is practising social distancing. Instead, they’re living together in crowded places like monasteries and the situation keeps getting worse. We want the president, the state counsellor and foreign embassies in Burma to find a way to end the war in Rakhine State so there can be peace.