8 villagers wounded, groceries looted by ‘security personnel’

by Thein Zaw, 3 September 2019

At least eight villagers were hospitalized after they sustained bullet injuries yesterday during the army retaliation against the members of Arakan Army (AA) in Kyauk Taw township, 80 miles north of Arakanese capital city of Sittwe.

During the period, there are allegations that security personnel vandalized some groceries on Sittwe- Yangon

According to local witnesses, the Tamadaw started firings at 2 pm soon after an explosion that took place on a bridge near to  Thayet Tapin village, located in between Kyauk Taw and Mahamuni ancient temple, when the army convoy was passing through.

As the security forces started retaliatory firings in the nearby localities, those eight villagers received bullet injuries. They were immediately sent to Kyauk Taw township hospital by the ambulances, informed U Bo Aung Thein, president of Shwe Garunar social organization.

Among those wounded there is a three years old girl from Yay Bet village. Others hail from Shwe Talay, Thayet Tapin, Ray Bet and Kyauk Talone villages under Kyauk Taw township.

Ko Than Wai (30), who hails from Shwe Talay  and received minor injuries said, “We were inside of our residential compound, when a shell struck near to our house. The burnt pieces hit my knee joint and my youngest brother also got injuries because of it. I am sure it was fired by Myanmar Army personnel.”

Meanwhile, grocery owner Daw Khin Than from Thayet Tapin village alleged that some soldiers were involved in vandalizing few stores and also stealing gold jewelries, phone sets and cashes from there during the period.

The grocery owner Daw Khin Than said, “We had to leave our stores suddenly after the firing and could not have time to close the doors properly. Taking advantage of the situation, some soldiers entered into the shops and snatched away 65.312 gram gold jewelries, 4 million Kyat with few other items. I was looking at the solders from a distant place.”

The western command spokesperson Brigadier Win Zaw Oo however denied the allegation that a section of soldiers were involved in vandalizing or looting the shops. He argued that the fighting took place outside the village and there was no possibility to vandalize anything inside it by the soldiers.

“Our soldiers were engaged in firing soon after the landmine attack on our convoy by AA members on Monday. Our point is clear, if the villagers do not want such incidents again, they should ask AA not to target security forces nearby their villages.  Otherwise, we cannot refrain from actions as the life of every soldier is precious.”