An elderly Chin woman was killed in her garden last week when she was hit by shrapnel from an artillery shell fired by the Burmese army in Rakhine State’s Ann Township, according to the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO).
Daw Padon, 78, died immediately after a piece of shrapnel hit her in the ribs while she was at her home in Wahgyi Tawng village on Friday, the group said in a statement. Her daughter, 40-year-old Daw Pamae, was also hit as they were preparing to flee, but survived with injuries to her arm.
According to the CHRO statement, an army battalion under the Western Military Command of the Burmese army, or Tatmadaw, opened fire near the village three times between 7pm and 9pm on April 12.
Local sources told Khonumthung News that the first two shells missed the family’s house, but the third landed nearby.
“The Tatmadaw’s artillery battalion opened fire three times. The first and second shells didn’t hit their house, but the third one came very close. A piece of shrapnel flew into the air and hit the old grandmother in her ribs, and another one hit her daughter in the arm,” said a local Chin resident.
Tatmadaw officials reportedly offered 100,000 kyat (US$66) in compensation to the victim’s family on Saturday, while the General Administration Department for Ann Township gave an additional 50,000 kyat ($33).
Sources close to the family said they weren’t satisfied with the compensation from the Tatmadaw and the local government, but didn’t dare complain about it.
On Sunday, a monk arrived at Ann public hospital to give Daw Pamae 400,000 kyat ($264) to cover the cost of her medical treatment.
Salai Terah, a field director for the CHRO, urged the army to take responsibility for the incident.
“This happened in an area without any active armed conflict, so the Tatmadaw must bear full responsibility. Even when clashes do occur in the area, they should do everything in their power not to hit civilians,” he told Khonumthung News.
Wahgyi Tawng village is located about 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Ann town. It is home to seven ethnic Asho Chin families whose main source of income is growing cashews.