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Myanmar’s junta fires into Rakhine villages, killing 3 children

Junta bombing in western Myanmar killed four people, locals told Radio Free Asia on Tuesday.

Heavy artillery fired at Rakhine state’s War Shee Lar village on Monday evening exploded, injuring seven people. Five of the seven are in critical condition and were sent to Buthidaung Hospital in the township’s capital. 

The deceased include eight-year-old Arru Shu Lar and 11-year-old Abdullah, as well as 50-year-old Ha Bezar. 

The injured are in their 30s to 40s, said a War Shee Lar resident who wished to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals.

“They died and were injured when a heavy weapon dropped while they were working in the vegetable farm. Arru Shu Lar and Ha Beza died on the spot,” he told RFA. “Another child died on the way to the hospital. The dead have been cremated in the village.”

Heavy artillery was fired by a Buthidaung township-based junta battalion, he added. The shelling continued even as villagers cremated the bodies of the deceased in the village cemetery.

War Shee Lar is a Rohingya village with about 1,000 people. Locals said that all the residents are afraid, but they have to hide in the village because there is no place to run.

To Buthidaung’s southeast, a teenager was killed when junta troops fired at a village in Mrauk-U township. 

Fifteen-year-old Cho Cho died on Monday night in Pan Be Tan village after being struck in the stomach by a bullet in her home, residents said.

The shooting was from a Mrauk-U-based junta infantry battalion, locals alleged. 

RFA contacted Rakhine state’s junta spokesperson Hla Thein by phone, but he did not reply by the time of publication. The junta has not released any information through official channels or regime-backed media regarding the killings.

The junta’s army has been deliberately targeting civilians since Nov. 13, when fighting with the Arakan Army resumed, said Pe Than, a former member of parliament from the Arakan National Party in Rakhine state. 

“Now the junta army can no longer go directly to the battleground and fight. That’s why they open fire with small and heavy artillery from their camps. And they mainly target civilian areas,” he told RFA. “It’s like burning down the barn when they cannot hit the rats. [The junta] has been fighting in a way that harms the people since the beginning of the fighting in Rakhine state.”

The military has blocked roads connecting Rakhine state from the rest of the country, as well as roads and waterways between towns and villages, he said, adding people’s livelihoods were severely affected by this tactic.

Fighting between the junta and Arakan Army resumed on Nov. 13 after a year-long ceasefire. According to data compiled by RFA, fighting since Nov.13 has killed 17 civilians and injured 57 more.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.