Rakhine Fishing Village Torched after Navy Vessels Attacked

A spokesperson for the Burma Army denied any knowledge of the attack on a village near where an army captain was killed days earlier.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

A fishing village in northern Rakhine State’s Myaebon Township was burned to the ground on Tuesday, days after an attack on two naval vessels used in the Burma Army’s offensive against the Arakan Army (AA) left an army captain and two naval personnel dead.

“Our village was set on fire at around 8am. We weren’t there at the time, because we had already left the village. But we could see the smoke,” said a man who had fled the village of Kyauk Maw Paik Seik last Friday after the navy boats were attacked earlier that day.

“We stayed a little bit away from there. We used to catch fish in Kyauk Maw Paik Seik. We left our boats, huts and fishing nets there,” the man told NMG.

Pe Than, the MP for Myaebon Township, said that the village was burned down a day after Tatmadaw, or Burma Army, troops arrived in the area.

“The place is where AA forces attacked the Tatmadaw’s naval boats with missiles on July 19. A Burma Army military column arrived there yesterday. Then the village was burned down this morning [July 23]. But I don’t have exact information about who set the village on fire. We don’t exactly know who is behind this,” Pe Than told NMG.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Brig. Gen. Zaw Min Tun, the secretary of the Tatmadaw’s True News Information Team, denied any knowledge of the torching of the village.

“I asked the Western Military Command’s headquarters about it. They said that there was no village burning in the area, but they confirmed that a Tatmadaw military column is patrolling the area for security seasons,” he told reporters.

After Kyauk Maw Paik Seik was burned down, residents of the neighboring village of Kyae Taw also fled when Burma Army military columns arrived as part of a security sweep of the area.

“Military columns entered Kyae Taw at mid-day [on July 23]. They [Tatmadaw soldiers] are going from village to village. When they entered Kyae Taw, all of its inhabitants were already gone. They fled to Kam Htaung Gyi, another village in the area. There have been clashes occurring in the area since July 18. Tatmadaw military columns have been patrolling the area until today,” said Pe Than.

AA forces attacked two Tatmadaw naval boats on the Taung Seik River between Myaebon and Ann Township on July 19. According to local people, Burma Army forces also entered the villages of Pouktuu Taung and Yay Khaung Chein as part of their effort to catch those who carried out the attacks.

The Burma Army reported that AA forces also attacked three naval boats on the Mayyu River in Rathaydaung Township on July 21.