The Myanmar junta opened fire into a crowded market, killing 12

According to rescuers speaking to Radio Free Asia, junta bombardment of a busy market in western Myanmar on Thursday morning resulted in the deaths of 12 people and seriously injured 18 others. During the busiest time of day, a junta battalion on a neighboring road opened fire indiscriminately into a marketplace in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine state, according to locals. Since the Arakan Army, a rebel group, took control of six townships around Rakhine state and the surrounding junta camps, Sittwe has become a disputed region. Before they could reach the capital, the Arakan Army demanded in early February that the junta troops in Sittwe surrender.

 

Although the junta army has lost territory, its hold on the region has grown shaky. Nevertheless, forces have made significant arrests and restricted the capital. 500 individuals were seized by government authorities on February 19 after landing in Sittwe on a flight that originated in Yangon. The deceased have been sent to the mortuary of Sittwe Hospital, where the injured are receiving treatment, according to a volunteer rescuer who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons and told RFA. He stated, “Those 18 people have life-threatening injuries and were badly hurt. A few passed away right away, while others passed away after getting to the hospital. They are all buyers and sellers.

 

According to locals, a battalion close to Shu Khin Thar Road launched the shell. Hla Thein, the junta spokesperson for Rakhine state, was contacted by RFA seeking more information regarding the incident, but he did not respond. On Nov. 13, when the junta started attacking border checkpoints and convoys via Minbya and Rathedaung townships, the Arakan Army broke their year-long ceasefire, which was predicated on humanitarian concerns. In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Arakan Army said that from the start of the ceasefire until February 18, 2024, the junta had fired small and heavy artillery, resulting in the deaths of 111 civilians and the injuries of 357.

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