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01 Mar 2020 | 09:34 AM UTC

Myanmar: Artillery fire leaves five dead in Rakhine state February 29

At least five killed by artillery fire in Rakhine state February 29; similar incidents likely over the near term

security
MMR

Event

At least five civilians were killed and several others were wounded after clashes erupted between military troops and Rohingya insurgents in Rakhine state on Saturday, February 29. According to government officials, Arakan Army rebels ambushed a military convoy near the town of Mrauk U, prompting security forces to respond with artillery shells. The shells reportedly struck the town of Bu Ta Lone.

Similar incidents are likely in Rakhine state over the near term.

Context

Violence resumed in early December 2018 between Rakhine separatists and the military. The Arakan Army seeks greater autonomy for Buddhists in Rakhine state. According to the Myanmar office of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), about 7500 displaced people are scattered across 29 sites in Rakhine due to the violence and 730,000 people in neighboring Bangladesh.

Advice

Individuals in Rakhine state are advised to monitor developments, prepare for continuing telecommunications disruptions, remain vigilant for militant and military activity, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.

Travelers are advised to avoid all but essential travel to Rakhine state, except the southern townships of Kyaukpyu, Ramree, Munaung, Toungup, Thandwe (including the tourist resort of Ngapali), and Gwa.