Kyaw Thu Htay | DMG
December 30, Sittwe
Shooting erupted at around 7:30 p.m. on December 30 in the town of Kyauktaw, Arakan State, injuring two women and damaging some government offices.
The incident occurred near the No. 2 High School, a police station and the Shwe Kyaung religious hall. Daw Mae Ma Oo, 78, and a 23-year-old school teacher suffered gunshot wounds.
The Phyu Sin Myittar charity office, situated near the Shwe Kyaung religious hall, was also damaged by bullets.
“The office roof was blown off and there are about 20 holes in the wall. It wasn’t just our office. There are many places that were damaged,” an official from the Phyu Sin Myittar charity office said.
U Oo Htun Win, the Pyithu Hluttaw lawmaker for Kyauktaw Township, said the shooting was not due to fighting between any two sides, and rather was a unilateral attack by the Tatmadaw.
“I cannot speculate as to why the Tatmadaw fired guns,” he said. “I don’t know what their aim is. They shot at the town continuously.”
Colonel Win Zaw Oo from the military’s Western Command, however, said the Arakan Army (AA) attacked the Tatmadaw on December 30, but its soldiers did not respond.
“The AA shot at security forces with small arms around 7:30 p.m. last night. We didn’t respond to them. If we had returned fire, the whole of Kyauktaw town would be ash,” he said. “We, the Tatmadaw, are doing everything with a big heart. That’s why we didn’t shoot back.”
But AA spokesperson Khaing Thukha said there was no clash between the two armies in Kyauktaw town. He insisted that the ethnic armed group had not launched any attack.
“We didn’t have any fight with the Tatmadaw. Our thinking isn’t so poor that we would fight them at a place where our people are living,” he said.
On December 28, a clash erupted between the Tatmadaw and the AA near Mahar Kangyi Shin Pagoda in Kyauktaw town, injuring four civilians. Both groups accused the other of responsibility.