Shelling in Myanmar kills eight civilians

Rohingya women and children in Maung Hnama village, in Myanmar's Rakhine state  Rohingya women and children in Maung Hnama village, in Myanmar's Rakhine state AFP


15 April 2020

Local officials say eight people have been killed in Myanmar’s Rakhine state

 On Monday 13 April, eight people were killed and 13 injured in shelling in Kyauk Seik Village in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.  Despite the Arakan Army (AA) declaring a month-long ceasefire due to the coronavirus pandemic, the clashes between AA and the government troops flared up in Ponnagyun town, which is one of the areas where intense fighting occurred. Although, in its statement, the AA group put the blame on the government troops,  the army denied the accusations.

The AA, established in 2009, is seeking to gain greater autonomy for the western region of the country and a further division from the central government. At the end of March, the Home Affair Ministry pronounced the AA a terrorist group. As a result, civilians residing in the state of Rakhine, including villagers and their family members, are now prone to being accused of assisting the terrorist organization and be detained under Myanmar’s Terrorism Act. According to the Rakhine Ethnics Congress, a local humanitarian organization, since the beginning of 2019, 157 000 persons were forced to flee as a result of the conflict. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the estimated number of more than 312 000 people across Myanmar are currently displaced, mostly in Rakhine, Kachin and northern states.

A high number of civil society organizations urged the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to act upon the call of the Secretary-General António Guterres for global ceasefire in active armed conflicts  According to the UNHCR, those conflicts have created millions of “persons of concern” in Southeast Asia: approximately 1.46 million refugees, 1.17 million stateless, 74 416 asylum seekers and 665 051 internally displaced persons.


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Author: Silvia Luminati; Editor: Aleksandra Krol


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