Shelling kills 12 civilians in Myanmar market

Shelling kills 12 civilians in Myanmar market

Junta disputes rebels' claim that shells came from one of its warships off Rakhine state

The port city of Sittwe in Rakhine state has been the scene of conflict between the Myanmar army and the insurgent Arakan Army. (Photo: mohigan via Wikimedia Commons)
The port city of Sittwe in Rakhine state has been the scene of conflict between the Myanmar army and the insurgent Arakan Army. (Photo: mohigan via Wikimedia Commons)

At least 12 civilians were killed in Myanmar when artillery shells landed in a busy market in western Rakhine State, as the ruling military and anti-junta forces traded blame for the latest violence to rock the troubled country.

The insurgent group Arakan Army (AA) operating in Rakhine State, which borders Bangladesh, said that a military warship off the port city of Sittwe fired shells into the Myoma market on Thursday, killing 12 and injuring more than 80 people.

The junta published a statement on the state channel Myawaddy TV, claiming the shells were fired by the AA. It did not confirm the number of casualties.

Reuters was not able to independently verify the incident.

Sittwe and other towns in Rakhine are facing information blackouts as the junta has reimposed internet and mobile data curbs in the state.

Myanmar has been locked in a cycle of violence since the military seized power from an elected government in a 2021 coup. The junta has since October been in the throes of the biggest challenge to its grip on power, after armed rebel groups launched coordinated attacks on military outposts in several states across the country.

In Rakhine, conflict between the AA and the junta has intensified, with fighting focused near the state capital Sittwe, a significant port and trading hub on the Bay of Bengal.

A spokesperson for the ethnic armed group said the AA has pushed out the junta’s troops from at least five towns including Paletwa, a key trading post, and Ponnagyun, only 34 km from Sittwe.

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