Military blamed for Rakhine shelling that killed five, including two seven-year-old children

Two seven-year-old children are among five people killed by shelling in Rakhine that villagers have blamed on the Tatmadaw.

Nine others were injured when six explosions rocked Nyaung Kan village, in Myay Pon township, on Tuesday morning, a former village administrator said, requesting anonymity.

The village is about seven miles from a Tatmadaw base on a hill named Swi Chaung in Ann township, said San Phay, a Nyaung Kan villager. 

“They shot three times, and each time they did it two shells flew off,” he told Myanmar Now. 

“They hit the village directly, we could hear it. People died in their homes. But we don’t know why they fired,” he added.

Besides the two children, a 29-year-old primary school teacher, a 23-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman died.

Phay Than, an MP representing Myay Pon township, said there were no clashes with the Arakan Army (AA) near Nyaung Kan village on Tuesday. 

The village was usually peaceful and free of clashes, he said.

San Phay said: “The civilians were scared, and it’s tragic that they had to die when they had nothing at all to do with this situation. They went too far with this, shooting at civilians regardless of what’s happening between [the AA and the Tatmadaw].” 

Most of the Nyaung Kan’s 2,000 residents fled after the shelling, but about 100 stayed behind to take care of the village. 

Brigadier General Ye Yint Aung, of the Tatmadaw’s True News Information Team, said he was unaware of the shelling and would reply after speaking with people from the area.

Rakhine state’s security and border affairs minister, Colonel Min Than, and Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun from the True News Information Team did not answer calls seeking comment. 

The Arakan National Party has penned an open letter to President Win Myint, State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and commander-in-chief Ming Aung Hlaing calling for an immediate halt to the military’s attacks.

The AA, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army have announced a ceasefire from September 1 to November 9. 

The military has also announced one from September 1 until the end of the month, but that excludes the AA, a group it officially labels a terrorist organisation. 

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