‘Piles of corpses’ left after Myanmar junta attacks village

An aerial attack left 23 people dead and 30 injured in a township under Arakan Army control.
By RFA Burmese
2024.03.18
‘Piles of corpses’ left after Myanmar junta attacks village
Photo: RFA

A junta aerial bombardment killed and injured dozens in western Myanmar, residents told Radio Free Asia. 

Most residents in Thar Dar, a predominantly Rohingya village in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, were sleeping when a fighter jet dropped a bomb around 1 a.m. Friday, a resident said. 

“Twenty-three people died on the spot and more than 30 were injured. There are piles of corpses in the village,” said the man who didn’t want to be named for safety reasons. “Children and elderly are among the dead, covered with tarpaulin and everything. Most of those who died and were injured lost their limbs.”

Thar Dar village, nearly five kilometers (three miles) north of Minbya city, was captured by the Arakan Army on Feb. 26.

The rebel group has also seized six other townships in Rakhine state, including most recently Kyaukphyu, where a large Chinese mega-project is located. The army also controls Pauktaw township in neighboring Chin state to the north.

While the Arakan Army has announced its intentions to control the state’s capital of Sittwe, junta troops have focused their resources on both small and large-scale attacks against civilians, which villagers have labeled a pattern of indiscriminate killings. Thar Dar village has little more than 300 houses and a population of under 2,000, residents said.

While there was no battle in the area to warrant an attack, residents told RFA the village had become a brief refuge for Rohingya fleeing nearby Sin Gyi Pyin village after it was also targeted. Rakhine state has also seen other attacks on the ethnically persecuted group, including an attack that killed an entire Rohingya family in Sittwe. 

Nay San Lwin, an activist for Rohingya affairs, said that the junta continues to target Rohingya people with shooting attacks, as well as arrests for conscription. 

“The military council has increasingly targeted Rohingya, shooting and killing them day by day,” he said. They are committing more and more war crimes every day, and they are forcibly recruiting soldiers for the fights against the AA.”

RFA contacted Rakhine state’s junta spokesperson U Hla Thein for more information on Thar Dar’s aerial bombardment, but he did not pick up the phone.

Junta columns regularly shell and drop bombs on villages in Minbya, Mrauk-U, Pauktaw and Ponnagyun townships where they have already lost control, residents said. 

As of March 3, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported more than 170 civilians had been killed and over 400 injured since the fighting in Rakhine state began again on Nov. 11, 2023.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Kiana Duncan and Mike Firn. 

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