(Kyauktaw Township, Rakhine State – 14th Feb 2020)
On 5th Feb 2020, a boat carrying civilians travelling between Paletwa Town, Chin State and Kyauktaw Town, Rakhine State was fired upon, killing one and injuring two. The passenger boat was attacked at Tinma Village, a 15-year-old boy was killed and two girls were injured who are currently receiving treatment in Sittwe General Hospital. The party responsible for the killing has not been confirmed. Since the 5th Feb, amid ongoing fighting between the Tatmadaw and Arakan Army (AA) people have been unable to travel between Paletwa and Kyauktaw by waterway or land as boat owners fear being caught in the cross-fire.
The daily fighting in the area, along the Kaladan connecting Kyauktaw and Paletwa has resulted in over one hundred people from Paletwa stranded in Kyauktaw Town. Those who are stranded include civilians who travelled to Kyauktaw for food supplies and students. Some have been stuck in Kyauktaw for over 5 days.
“I don’t know which group blocked us. It was not blocked yet when I was heading to Kyauktaw on the 4th February but I got stuck here as I attempted to return and I have been stranded here in Kyauktaw for 4 days already. There are many more people who arrived earlier than me and have been stuck here in Kyauktaw. We collected some information on how many people are here and as of now, there are more than 120 people from Paletwa Town. Among them, there are some who have already been here for more than 10 days”, said one source who agreed to speak to CHRO.
Most of the people who are stranded are local businessmen and students, some of whom are now staying at guest houses in Kyauktaw, others are staying with friends and relatives. Many of those stranded are concerned about damage to livelihoods if the blockade continues. According to the Khumi Media Group, as of 14th Feb, the lack of movement along the Kaladan River has caused a price hike on rice, a sack of rice usually costing 30,000 MMK (Approx. 20 USD) has risen to 50,000 MMK (Approx. 35 USD). This will increase pressure on those stranded.
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