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Artillery shelling kills 12 in Myanmar market, injures 80

News Desk || risingbd.com

Published: 12:25, 2 March 2024  
Artillery shelling kills 12 in Myanmar market, injures 80

At least 12 civilians were killed and almost 80 others were injured after military junta forces shelled a bazaar in the Rakhine State capital Sittwe on Thursday (February 29) morning, Irrawaddy reports quoting the Arakan Army (AA).

Shells fired from a naval base in Sittwe struck the bazaar, located by a harbor near Korea Seik Kan, at around 8 am when the market was busy with shoppers.

Of the wounded civilians, 31 were seriously injured, the AA said in a statement released on Thursday evening.

Naval and other military bases around Sittwe have been indiscriminately shelling the city since Wednesday evening, a resident told The Irrawaddy.

“It was around 8 am when the shell hit the bazaar. It came from the navy. Junta forces have been firing arbitrarily since yesterday [Wednesday] evening,” she said.

Junta troops are pounding Sittwe with random shelling of residential areas and other non-military targets in advance of an expected attack on the city by the AA, which aims to capture the whole state this year, remarked a resident.

The AA earlier announced that the safest place for ethnic Rakhine people was in areas in Rakhine State currently under its control. On February 20, it urged them and other ethnic people to leave cities under regime control such as Yangon and Mandalay and move to AA-controlled territory.

Those wounded at the bazaar were sent to Sittwe General Hospital. Junta forces occupied the hospital and later transferred five injured people who were in critical condition to a hospital in Yangon by military helicopter, a Sittwe resident said.

In Sittwe, most medical staff have left Rakhine for safer places due to the current armed conflict in the state, and the city now suffers a shortage of medical workers.

It is not the first time military shells have struck Korea Seik Kan. In mid-February, junta soldiers from Sittwe police station fired artillery shells into the area but no casualties were reported, Sittwe residents said.

In Rakhine, the junta’s military has suffered serious defeats, losing seven towns, major bases, outposts and several naval vessels since the AA launched an offensive in the state on November 13.

Since then, the military regime has been persecuting Rakhine civilians in various ways including arresting ethnic Rakhine people in cities like Yangon and Mandalay, restricting their travel rights across the country and shelling residential areas in Rakhine state.