Casualties in Ponnagyun and Minbya Following Intensified Conflict

Thursday, August 22, 2019

A police convoy was attacked in Rakhine State’s Ponnagyun Township on Tuesday, killing one police officer and injuring four others.

Although Col Win Zaw Oo, spokesperson of the military’s western command region, confirmed the incident, the attackers were not named.

“The attack occurred at the border of Kyauktaw and Ponnagyun townships… Four police vehicles were ambushed. These vehicles used to be stationed at the Shwe Kyaung Dhamma monastery in Kyauktaw—they were not from the Kyauktaw police battalion,” a Ponnagyun local told NMG, adding that there reports that the police commander in Kyauktaw had been stabbed.

Locals also added that a series of landmine explosions and shellings had been ongoing in Minbya Township. Mines went off and guns were shot between Tankhuntai and Kalama Taung villages also on Tuesday, causing villagers to flee the area.

“Local people called me and reported that landmines were exploding and that the army was shooting,” Hla Thein Aung, a Minbya Township parliamentarian, said. “The army has checked family registration documents and the population list [for the area]. The villagers are currently afraid to travel around.”

One person was reportedly killed and another wounded on Monday after a shell landed in Minbya.

“A shell landed near a monastery in Singyi Pyin village in Minbya Township on the night of August 19. There are six to seven houses around the monastery. A man was killed and his wife was injured. She was transferred to Minbya hospital,” Thein Tun, who is working for Kyan Yeik Garuna Foundation in Minbya, told NMG.

The man was allegedly a Burma Army sergeant from LIB-537 in Rathedaung Township, Hla Tun. His wife is Daw Than Than.

Khaing Thukha, who is in charge of the Arakan Army’s (AA) information department, also confirmed that clashes are ongoing in Buthidaung, Minbya and Ponnagyun townships. The AA reported that they fought the Burma Army in Kalama Taung, Aungtai and Shwe Tama villages in Minbya and Goungtai in Buthidaung on Tuesday.

According to AA reports, they also clashed with government forces on August 19 between Shwe Kyin and Tharsi villages in Minbya.

Officials from the Northern Alliance of ethnic armed groups—of which the AA is a member—said that there have been nearly 40 clashes between the Tatmadaw and joint forces belonging to the AA, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and Ta’ang National Liberation Army in northern Shan State during the five-day period from August 15-20.