Electricity Blackout, Shootings Plague Kyauktaw

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Locals in the town of Kyauktaw in Rakhine State have said that the electricity to the area has been cut and gunfire has forced many residents into hiding.

Both artillery and small arms were fired around the town at 7:00 p.m. on Monday. The incident follows “one-sided” gunfire shot by the Burma Army toward Kyauktaw from a pagoda outside the town over the weekend.

“I don’t know whether it’s a battle. I have heard the sound of artillery and small arms being fired,” a local told NMG on the condition of anonymity. “There is a power blackout in the town. The town is completely silent. People are hiding under their houses. The situation is not good. We are hiding in a bunker.”

During the interview the individual said that they needed to turn off their phone, fearing the light from the phone screen could attract attention and put them in danger.

Burma Army soldiers had reportedly occupied many locations around Kyauktaw by Monday afternoon.

“We have seen many soldiers in many locations in Kyauktaw town including on lanes and roads. I think there are more than 300 soldiers patrolling the town. People are really scared,” another local said on December 30. “We are automatically afraid of soldiers when we see them. They do whatever they want to do. They don’t care about the voice of the public. They often arrest and interrogate people. Many civilians have been killed. We don’t know whose ammunition hit those people.”

Kyauktaw parliamentarian Oo Tun Win confirmed the gunfire and power cuts, but was unable to verify whether there have been any recent casualties.

The shooting by the Burma Army from Maha Kangyi Shin pagoda on December 28 led to the injury of one woman and three men.

Burma Army and Arakan Army troops clashed near Ywarma primary school in Kyauktaw town earlier in December, leading to the death of primary school student.