63 Rakhine Civilians Killed Since Start of Year

The latest casualty is a man who died after being shot in the head by Burma Army forces earlier this week.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

A total of 63 ethnic Rakhine civilians have died so far this year due to clashes between the Burma Army and the Arakan Army (AA), according to statistics compiled by the Rakhine Ethnic Congress.

“It’s 63 people. In addition, another civilian died in Mrauk-U yesterday. Innocent civilians are being killed in the clashes in Rakhine State,” the group’s secretary, Zaw Zaw Tun, told NMG.

The figure for civilian casualties, which also includes at least 160 other people who have been injured due to the conflict, is slightly smaller than that of some other groups because it does not include non-Rakhine ethnicities.

“According to our data, 63 civilians have been killed so far, but other organizations have reported more than 70 civilians who have died. That’s because we can only collect data related to casualties from among the Rakhine and Rakhine sub-tribes. The death of other ethnic people and Muslims is excluded from our report,” said Zaw Zaw Tun.

On Tuesday, the latest casualty, Maung Than Tun, 22, was shot in the head while traveling by boat between the villages of Taung Myint and Kyar Kan in Mrauk-U Township. The incident occurred near Tein Nyo, a village where Burma Army troops are stationed.

“Ko Bo Than Tun died this morning [July 24]. His body is still in Mrauk-U Hospital. He died as we were preparing to transfer him to Sittwe Hospital. His family is very upset. He will be cremated tomorrow,” said a resident of Mrauk-U who spoke to NMG.

The victim’s family accused soldiers from the Burma Army of shooting him when they opened fire on his boat as it passed Tein Nyo with several passengers. The army has not reported the incident, and attempts by NMG to reach army officials for comment went unanswered.

Groups monitoring the situation in Rakhine State say that human rights abuses against civilians have been rife since the Burma Army began its current offensive against the AA earlier this year. Abuses include torture and murder in detention camps, forced portering, and illegal arrest. At least 55,000 people have been displaced by the conflict since it started.

Burma Army and AA forces have clashed in Mrauk-U, Kyauktaw, Buthitaung, Rathaytaung, Ponnagyun, Ann and Myaebon townships.