Shelling killed eight people in Kyauk Seik (Rakhine state) on Monday, April 13, according to a local lawmaker and local government official. Both claimed army forces had shelled the area; the army rejected claims that it was involved in the incident, adding that confirmation of civilian casualties was not immediately received. The shelling comes amid intensifying clashes between the Burmese military and the Arakan Army (AA) in Rakhine state and adjacent Chin state in recent weeks, which have left dozens of people dead and thousands of others displaced.
Further clashes are to be expected in Rakhine state over the near term.
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.
Individuals in Rakhine state are advised to monitor developments, remain vigilant for militant and military activity, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
Travelers are advised to avoid nonessential travel to Rakhine state, except the southern townships of Kyaukpyu, Ramree, Munaung, Toungup, Thandwe (including the tourist resort of Ngapali), and Gwa.