Armed clashes cut off 3000 people in Rakhine’s Minbya

Source : Myanmar Times
View Count : 432
Aug 13, 2019

About 3000 people remain trapped after more than a week of fighting between the Tatmadaw (military) and Arakan Army (AA) in Minbya township, Rakhine State, said Ko Zaw Zaw Tun of the Rakhine Ethnic Congress (REC).

“We don’t know how to rescue these trapped people. The military blocked access to Let Khote village, so we can’t deliver food,” he said.

The fighting between the military and AA began on August 4 and trapped about 3000 people from 15 villages, including Zedi Yan, Nga Tet, Kyaw Maw, Phon Thar, Pale Taung, Oh Pon Taung, Pyaing Chaung, Ngan Tet, Khwa Zon, Nat Maw, Maung Poke Ke, Nyaung Chone, Kyauk Sone, Seittaya and Let Khote.

When the rescue team, including monks and MPs, went there on Friday, they were stopped at Let Khote village, which is a designated conflict zone of the military, said U Hla Thein Aung, state hluttaw MP for Minbya.

“We asked why we weren’t allowed in. The Tatmadaw replied that it was because of security reasons, so I told them the security of those 3000 people is more important than our lives, but they said they were just following orders,” he said.

Three middle schools in the 15 affected villages are still open, and Minbya’s administrator has been notified of the food shortage, he said.

Efforts to contact Minbya administrator U Tun Nyein Naing via phone were unsuccessful.

Amid the intensified fighting, the number of refugees has grown to nearly 6000 in 10 days and aid is urgently needed, U Hla Thein Aung said.

“We can’t get through to help the villagers trapped in the fighting. Those who were able to make it to refugee camps are receiving food from civil society groups in Minbya. We need help from the government,” he said.

The fighting has intensified between Kalama Taung and Bu Chaung villages in Minbya.

The military entered the villages on July 27 and clashes began near Kalama Taung the next day.

The Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services announced that an AA training camp near Chay Yar Taw village in Sittwe township was captured on August 2.

Efforts to reach Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun of the military’s True News agency and AA spokesman Khine Thukha were unsuccessful.

Since December 2018, 63 civilians have died, 200 have been injured, and around 60,000 people have been displaced as a result of the clashes, according to the REC. – Translated

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