AA vows ‘retaliation’ for Myanmar army’s mass killing of civilians

The political wing of the Arakan Army (AA) has declared that it will retaliate for the Myanmar military’s mass killing of civilians in northern Rakhine State’s Ponnagyun Township last week.

In a statement released on Friday, the United League of Arakan (ULA) accused troops from Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 550 of killing at least nine civilians, including elderly people, during a raid on the village of Sin Inn Gyi the day before.

Residents of the village said they found the bodies of nine people—mostly elderly residents and their carers who were unable to flee the attack—early Friday morning.

Junta forces from LIB 550 raided the village late Thursday after the AA ambushed two military vehicles in the area earlier in the day, local sources told Myanmar Now.

Soldiers torched several homes and shot the nine civilians dead before leaving the village, locals said.

The victims were identified as Sin Inn Gyi residents Ma Gyi, 86, Maung Kyaw Thein, 62, Kyaw Zan, 60, Khin Maung, 58, May Nu, 54, Mhe Ni, 45, Maung Maung Thein, 43, and Maung San Hla, 37, as well as Kyaw Naing, a 60-year-old traditional medicine specialist who was in the village to see a patient.

Villagers said they were only able to give the deceased makeshift burials due to the military’s heavy artillery shelling in the area.

In its statement, the ULA described the incident as one of the military’s “most inhumane war crimes” and called its forces cowardly for targeting unarmed civilians instead of engaging in combat with armed opponents.

There were also reports that shelling and drone and air attacks had left at least two other local civilians dead and five others injured.

“We will retaliate most seriously against the Ponnagyun-based LIB 550 for committing these war crimes and others who were involved in this incident,” said the ULA statement.

The AA said that it attacked the junta forces because the military’s recently imposed land and water travel restrictions in northern Rakhine State were causing undue hardships to the local civilian population.

According to residents of the state capital Sittwe, all traffic in and out of the city has been blocked since Thursday morning, leaving many buses and transport trucks from other parts of the country, including Yangon, stranded.

Myanmar’s military regime has not made any response to the ULA’s claims that its forces targeted civilians in last week’s attacks.

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