3 children, 2 women injured in Arakan artillery blast

Narinjara News, 2 December 2019

At least five persons, including three children, were presumed to be injured in an artillery shell blast at a village under Mrauk U township of Rakhine State on Sunday.

According to family sources, several pieces of artillery shells hit them as they were hiding in the house  of  U Aung San Chay of Shar Chay Byint village, a few miles north of Mrauk U downtown locality.

One of the artillery shells, fired by Myanmar Amy personnel, exploded on  the roof of U Aung San Chay’s house and few pieces of shells hit them, who are all relatives.

The house owner informed that the security forces initially fired small guns over a group of fleeing female workers. The women got scared by the presence of soldiers in front of them. Later the army column fired four rounds of artillery shells.

“Among those shells, the last one hit the roof of my house. It damaged the roof and some pieces of artillery shells came inside to hit my daughters and my grandchildren,” said U Aung San Chay.

Initially, they were sent to a nearby hospital at Tin Nyo village, but later the hospital authority shifted them to Mrauk U district hospital for batter treatments.

The victims are identified as Maung Htay Thant Kyaw (10 years old, son of U Aung Myint Naing), Ma Nin New Thant (13, daughter of U Aung Myint Naing), Maung Aung Phyo Tin (3, son of U Aung San Win) along with Ma Aye kyi Htay (22) and Ma Than Nyunt Htay (25).

Even though many villagers alleged that the artillery shells were fired by the soldiers,  Colonel Win Zaw Oo, spokesperson of western command had denied it. Rather he claimed that it was fired by Arakan Army members.

“When our soldiers arrived at the village, some AA members started firing over them. Then our troop retaliated. However our bullets did not hits the villagers. Actually they received bullet injuries because of AA members’ attack,” he asserted.

According to a villager source, the army column forced over 200 villagers to get inside a monastery for necessary interrogations.  The soldiers also searched several houses in the village and even took away 10 telephone sets, asserted the source.