The Tatmadaw (Defence Services) and Arakan Army (AA) are blaming each other for shelling on the Khami Chaung village post-primary school in Buthidaung Township, Rakhine State.
Tatmadaw True News Information Team Secretary Brig. Gen. Zaw Min Tun said that their troops had an engagement with AA in Buthidaung Township on February 13 and then AA retreated in the direction of Khami Chaung village and then Tatmadaw chased them in hot pursuit in the area operation and after that AA fired heavy weapons against Tatmadaw military columns and a mortar shell fell on this post-primary school.
“15 were wounded in this incident and five of them were referred to hospital. Our Tatmadaw medical team is giving treatment to other people,” he added.
But AA Information Department Chief Khaing Thu Kha denied this allegation and said that they never used heavy weapons in the frontline and they did not fire heavy weapons on that day.
“Myanmar Army (government troops) continuously fired heavy weapons of 122 mm and 105 mm howitzers, 120 mm and 81 mm mortars from their Buthidaung military command headquarters. We sometimes captured 81 mm mortar shells from them but we don’t have a mortar to fire at them,” Khaing Thu Kha said.
Both sides, AA and Tatmadaw, denied the allegations of firing heavy weapons on this school but local people confirmed this news as saying a shell fell on this school and wounded 21 students.
Among these students wounded in this incident, a 10-year old girl student was admitted at Buthidaung Township hospital as in-patient and another patient was also admitted at Buthidaung Township hospital for taking treatment.
Senior Doctor from this Buthidaung Township hospital, Dr. Saw Min Thein, said, “17 students arrived at our hospital but only two of them were admitted here. The remaining 15 students were treated as outpatients and we sent them back to their place. One student got a jaw bone fracture. We are making preparations to refer this student to Sittwe hospital but she is out of danger now.”
Tatmadaw and AA have been fighting in Rakhine State so far since November 2018 and it is learned from Rakhine Ethnic Community (REC) that over 100 civilians have died and many were wounded in this fighting.
Over 100,000 people reportedly had to flee from their homes in this fighting and they have become internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Rakhine State.