Villagers At Site Of Army Killings ‘Struggling To Get Food’ Because Of Lockdown, Says MP

Members of Rakhine’s state parliament have visited the families of six villagers who died after soldiers opened fire on a crowd of people detained on suspicion of links to the Arakan Army last week.

Nine MPs were granted permission from the state government to pay a visit yesterday morning to Kyauktan village, which locals say was put on lockdown after the killings in the early hours of May 2.

U Htun Thar Shein, the state MP for Mrauk U township and one of those who visited, said yesterday that locals were still barred from leaving or entering the village, making it “difficult for them to get food and water.”

The MPs also met with villagers who were detained during the incident but have since been released. The freed villagers told the delegation that they were not beaten during their detention, U Htun Thar Shein said.

Brigadier General Win Zaw Oo of Western Regional Command denied that Kyauktan was still on lockdown.

People were only temporarily barred from leaving during the early part of the military’s investigation, and the prohibition has been lifted, he told Myanmar Now on Monday.

“Innocent villagers are not banned from wandering here and there,” he said. “They have been roaming freely.”

Soldiers rounded up 275 men and boys aged between 15 and 50 on April 30 and detained them in the village school for interrogations about suspected links to the Arakan Army.

They released more than 170 of the detainees starting from May 3, the day after the killings.

Details of what exactly happened during the shooting remain unclear. The military says soldiers were forced to open fire after detainees tried to seize their weapons.

But Tun Aung Kyaw, general secretary of the Arakan National Party, has dismissed that claim as “impossible” as the detainees were “heavily guarded while being detained and denied food and water.”

The remaining detainees are still being investigated for suspected connections with the AA, and they will either be released or charged depending on the investigation’s results, according the military’s True News Information Unit.


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