A convoy of four vehicles from a police security force was attacked twice Tuesday morning by mine explosions near the border between Kyauktaw and Ponnagyun townships in western Myanmar’s volatile Rakhine state, killing one policeman and injuring five other officers, regional sources said.
The attacks come amid a larger ongoing armed conflict between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army (AA), an ethnic Rakhine military group fighting for greater autonomy in the state.
Independent sources told RFA’s Myanmar Service that shrapnel from the blast killed a police officer from the brigade who was a passenger on the vehicle that was blown up.
A local civilian who requested anonymity out of fear for his safety said that the attacks occurred about a mile apart from each other.
The first attack was at the foothill near Thikwaseik village, he said. It damaged a vehicle, and five people were wounded in the attacks.
The convoy was then hit by another mine explosion between Kyaeto and Pyinedoe villages, the civilian said.
The second attack was about a mile away from the first site, he said.
The wounded officers were taken by ambulance to Ponnagyun Hospital, he added.
Win Zaw Oo, spokesman for the military’s Western Regional Command responsible for Rakhine state, confirmed that the explosions damaged a police vehicle and injured five officers and blamed the AA for staging the attacks.
The convoy was transporting administrative staff members from a police brigade 32 who were returning to Rakhine’s capital Sittwe from Kyauktaw township, he said.
Though Win Zaw Oo did not know details about the death toll from the attack, he said some of the injured were in critical condition.
When RFA contacted Police Colonel Kyi Lin, commander of the Rakhine state police force, for confirmation, he said to ask the relevant brigade.
AA spokesman Khine Thukha was not available for comment.
The AA issued a statement on Aug. 12 warning Rakhine state police that it would respond militarily if officers were involved in joint operations with the Myanmar military and projects supporting military operations.
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