Villagers trapped in battle with terrorists in Maungdaw

Thar Shwe Oo (Kissapa)

The government troops and unidentified attackers fought in Maungdaw near the Mayin hill on Sunday and residents are trapped and panicked, sources say.

Two helicopters aided the army. Two government soldiers were killed and some officers were injured, according to a military statement.

The military continues patrolling Maungdaw Township in Rakhine State.

Thayatoat and Ywetnyotaung villages are closest to the battles and residents are worried if the insurgents attack them.

Nyi Nyi, administrator of Ywetnyotaung, said: “We could hear gunfire and see smoke this morning. We’ve asked the authorities to help relocate the villagers of Thayatoat and Ywetnyotaung.”

Thayatoat Village is home to 17 households and Ywetnyotaung, 50. The total residents of the two villages are around 100.

Currently, border guards are defending the villages.

A resident of Thayatoat said: “The government troops are looking for insurgents hiding in Dargyisar, Myawtaung and Thuoola villages. There were casualties on the army side yesterday. I feel relieved at the presence of the troops in our village. We provide them with foods. The thing is skirmishes occurred on the road to Maungdaw and so we’re trapped here. I can still hear gunfire.”

 Schoolteachers, health staff and some villagers in the affected areas have reportedly fled to downtown areas.

"This morning, we heard sounds of gunfire from Kyaipyinseik Village. There is no security in our village. We could not sleep the whole night last night because of rumours that our ethnic villages would be attacked. Without security troops, teachers and nurses have gone to downtown Maungdaw. Today also, some villagers went there. I don't know about the situation of other villages," said Kyaw Soe Moe from Aungthaya Village.

Khin Maung Than, chairman of Maungdaw Township branch for Arakan National Party, said an agricultural staff member had his ear cut off in a surprise attack, while Bengalis were making noises in Laungdon Village.

At 8.30 pm on November 12, three wounded army soldiers and one fallen soldier arrived along with six bodies of terrorists who were shot dead at Maungdaw Hospital. Currently, transport is almost cut in northern Maungdaw.

On November 12 morning also, an army column, while carrying out area clearance operations near Mayintaung Village in Maungdaw, confronted about a 60-strong terrorist group carrying small guns, swords, spears and sticks. Then, the terrorists fled to Gwazone Village. In the clash, six bodies of the terrorists were seized and one BA-94 gun and some ammunition that were taken away in October 9 attacks recovered. One soldier was killed and some officers and other ranks were wounded. The military column then continued operation and faced firing by small weapons on the arrival in Pwintphyu Village. Then the terrorist fled again to Gwazone Village but 36 Bengalis were arrested facing necessary action in accord with the law, said a statement.

Another military column marched to Gwazone Village to which the terrorists fled. Near the village, the column confronted about 500 terrorists who started attacks on November 12 afternoon. As the terrorists outnumbered, two MI-2 helicopters from the Air Force had to help with the ground troops until evening on that day.

According to a statement released by the military, a military column commander died in action and the operation is going on.