Civilians Casualties Increased in Rakhine State Despite of US and European Ambassadors Pressure

A child injured from Myanmar jet fighter bombing

 Sittway. April 7, 2020
US State Department and sixteen ambassadors from Australia, Canada, and European nations issued separate statements on March 26. The statements were in collaboration with the UN Secretary General called for armed group across the world to impellent a global ceasefire in the middle of coronavirus threat.

The ambassadors statement raised deep concern of higher level of civilian casualties and internally displaced in Rakhine and Chin states and called for lifting internet ban.

The US State Department stated that The United States was deeply troubled by the escalation of violence in Rakhine and Chin, where many civilians were killed and thousands of people displaced. US also called for protection of civilians as well as cessation of fighting and pursuit of peaceful dialogue. 

Despite of the international community pressure, Myanmar army is increasing the troops and aggressive military operation conducting in Rakhine state by resorting airpower, navy, and ground forces. 

Jet fighters have been bombing villages, mountains, and forests while helicopter gunships pounding the same and different locations. Artillery shells are fired directly to the villages and mountains from the navy and military bases. The bombing campaigns are carried out in the townships of Buthedaung, Minbya, Kyauktaw, Maybon, Mrauk U, and Paletwa in Chin State. 

As a result, hundreds of civilians were killed, injured, and missing. Several villages were burned down. Dozens of mountains and forests were bunt and deforested. 

The recent deployment of Myanmar troops in Ponnaygun township is escalating more fights and civilian displacements. 

Three navy ships landed in Kyauk Site village near Ponnagyun on April 3 and dropped off 500 sliders. There were brought to Stittway by private and military planes before the landing. Then the soldiers headed to Towphya Chung areas. 

Arakan Army attacked the military conveys near Letway Sardile village and destroyed one of the trucks on April 3. A score of soldiers were killed during the attack. The attack sparks heavy fighting in Tawphya Chung areas, resulting several villagers killed and injured and thousands of civilians displaced. The figjting is still going on. 

In March alone, higher numbers of civilian casualties break the record. Arakan Information Center (AiC) that documents civilian casualty reported the highest civilian casualty was recorded.  It stated 42 civilians were killed, 126 villagers injured, 36 men arrested, and 32 men and women disappeared including Rakhine, Rohingya, and Chin. 

Compare to the February report which said 18 villagers were killed, 71 civilians inured, and 13 men arrested. The civilian causalities increased 65 percent in March. 

The report said the most civilian were killed and injured by the jet fighters and helicopters bombing, artillery shelling, and gun firing directly into the villages. 

AiC recorded jet fighters intentionally bombed Wok Ma village in Paletwa township, Chin State, on March 14 and killed 5 villagers and wounded 12 residents including an eight years old girl. 

On March 13, government soldiers randomly fire their guns into Tin Nyo village, Mrauk U township, and Tha Rake Tabin village, Kyauktaw tonwhsip, and killed 2 villagers and wounded 11 civilians. They shot the villagers after a landmine was exploded and destroyed the military truck near Tin Nyo bridge. 

Twenty soldiers from LID 66 entered into Pha Pyo village while firing the guns on March 30. Then they set fire the houses. An 85 years old disable women was killed in the flame. The 50 years old man who attempted to rescue the disable woman was shot and then threw into the fire. 

Son in law of the deceased disable woman said, “I am laying down under the house. The soldiers open fire the guns and entering into the village. I cannot get up from the crunching under the house. They set fire May Bu house first. I am afraid to get up because the fire is going on. The soldiers get out of the premise after the fire is escalating. Thus, I can run away, but I cannot rescue my mother in law. She is casted in the flame and already died. What should we do about it now.”

Their bunt bodies and ashes were found in the ruin ground of the house on very inhuman way. It is terrible and inhumanly killing of Myanmar soldiers. 

Military analysts said Myanmar jet fighters directly aimed and bombed into the villages and targeted to the civilians are carried out because of the government and military hierarchy policy and approval. 

Their strategy of targeting civilians by killing bombing and firing into the villages is to make Rakhine people fear, displaced, and weaken in order to starve and die in which the generals believe Arakan Army will be diminished after massive displacements, enormous destruction of livelihoods, and ruin social and economy are completed. 

In fact, these state sponsored government security forces conduct of violent arbitrary arrests, arsons, and summary executions over the Rakhine people are definitely committing war crimes and crimes against humanity as they had done to Rohingya Muslim population in Rakhine state in 2017. 

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