A passenger boat on the Kaladan River was hit by an artillery shell as it traveled from Paletwa to Tawngpyo village in southern Chin State at noon on Tuesday, killing a 10-year-old child and a woman.
At least five of the approximately 20 passengers were injured, eyewitnesses said, including the father of the deceased child. His condition is reportedly critical. All are receiving treatment at Paletwa’s public hospital.
The boat left Paletwa town at around 9:30 a.m. on December 10. An eyewitness said that a shell hit the boat as it stopped at a Burma Army checkpoint in Nombu village.
“There are military camps between Paletwa and Tawngpyo. A shell hit the boat when the boat drivers went to inform the army [of their journey]at the checkpoint in Nombu village. I don’t know where the shell that the boat came from,” a Paletwa local told Khonumthung News.
The boat reportedly travels from Paletwa to Tawngpyo daily.
According to the Arakan Army, they launched an attack on the headquarters of the Burma Army’s Light Infantry (LIB) 289 in Nombu village on the morning of December 9, one day earlier. However, it is unknown who fired the shell that hit the boat on Tuesday, or why.
Southern Chin State is a conflict zone and has seen intensified fighting between the Arakan Army and government forces in recent years, with thousands of villagers displaced, and severe restrictions placed on travel and communications.