Day-long battle rages near Tharapi village, Buthidaung

Kaing Lu Hla (Yoe Ma Myay)

Narinjara News, 29 July 2020

Fighting broke out between the Myanmar Army and the Arakan Army (AA) near Tharafi village in Buthidaung at around 9 am on Monday and continued late into the evening.

An elder from Tharapi village said, “They were fighting in the valley near the village. From 9am I could hear them shooting, it went on until this evening. We could hear the sound of heavy artillery fire,” he said at 6 pm today.

There are about 100 houses in Tharapi village with a population made up of Rakhine, Khami and Mro ethnic groups. Light Infantry Battalion 552 was not far away to the west of the village, he said.

“Currently villagers are still in the village. But everyone had gathered together in the monastery. The fighting was taking place close by to the village and everyone was scared, ”he said.

He said the area where the fighting took place was to the east of the village and that the army could be seen firing from the hillsides into the valley.

Rakhine National Assembly representative U Maung Kyaw Zan explained that villagers had informed him to say that fighting was taking place on the Tharagu side between Taungbaza and Buthidaung. He said further details were not yet available as villagers had turned their phones off.

Fighting also broke out near Kazukai in Ann Township, the western part of the country, injuring civilians. There are reports that civilians have been injured and that people are fleeing their villages.

Fighting between the Myanmar Army and the Arakan Army (AA) has been taking place in Rakhine State since November 2018, with current conflict occuring in ten townships. Over 200 civilians have been killed and nearly 600 wounded due to the fighting. The number of IDPs has risen to nearly 200,000, according to figures released by the REC (Rakhine Ethnic Congress).