Villagers Flee as Clashes in Kyauktaw Intensify

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

More than 100 villagers have sought safety elsewhere as clashes between the Burma Army and Arakan Army continue in Rakhine State’s Kyauktaw Township.

The fighting has been occurring for nearly two weeks around Ting Ma village, some 15 miles from Kyauktaw town. Shells have landed in the village, leading locals to flee.

“My family has arrived at my relatives’ home in Kyauktaw. We fled through a jungle road,” a woman who lived in Ting Ma told NMG on the condition of anonymity. “The [Burma] Army opened fire both at night and in the morning. There is no safety in our village. Our villagers are afraid to stay, so they have fled,” she explained.

While some of the internally displaced people (IDPs) have gone on to stay with relatives, others have gone to the town of Kyauktaw. Since the ferry service in the area has been suspended due to the armed conflict, villagers had to leave through the forest.

Still others have sought refuge in Kyin Gyi village, also in Kyauktaw.

“I heard that more than 100 villagers have arrived in Kyin Gyi village in Kyauktaw township. They are IDPs,” a local told NMG. “They told us that fighting broke out near their village. The clashes occurred on Tawng Shay mountain between Khabaw and Ting Ma village.”

The area of the fighting is between the Kaladan River to the west and the Kyauktaw-Paletwa highway to the east.

The local confirmed that shells had landed in nearby villages, including in Wet Ma, where a cow was killed in the incident. Another landed in the compound of the Ting Ma monastery on February 11 and damaged buildings and nearby homes. Two villagers were injured, the local said.

NMG reported that 50-year-old Mya Win Yee of Ting Ma was shot through the leg while carrying water from the well to her home, and was sent to Kyauktaw hospital for treatment. Another woman in Long Shay village was injured by gunshots on February 20. A man from Ting Ma was injured by shrapnel on February 18.

On its official website, the Arakan Army reported that clashes continue around the Burma Army’s artillery camp near Mee Chaung Bridge in Paletwa and around the area between Wet Makya and Ting Ma villages in Kyauktaw on Sunday and Monday.

NMG tried to call both the Burma Army and Arakan Army for comment on the fighting in Kyauktaw but no one answered at the time of reporting.