YANGON, Myanmar

Five civilians were killed on Tuesday after mortar shells hit a village in Myanmar’s conflict-torn Rakhine state.

Pe Than, a lower house lawmaker from Myebon township, told Anadolu Agency on phone that two 7-year-old children and three women were killed and eight others wounded. “Four mortar shells landed in Nyaungkan village in Myebon township of Rakhine state on Tuesday morning, killing five Rakhine ethnic villagers,” he added.

He added that the village is quite far from the area where military and Arakan Army, an ethnic rebel group, frequently engage in armed fighting.

No group has claimed responsibility for the deadly incident. Local media, however, reported that villagers accused the military of firing mortar shells from a military base nearby.

“Whoever did it, it was a war crime,” said Pe Than.

Escalating conflicts between military and Arakan Army since early 2019 have made the upcoming election in the region uncertain.

The Union Election Commission announced that it would decide next month (October) whether to allow voting in Rakhine state as well as in other ethnic areas where military and rebel groups have been fighting.

Myanmar has set Nov. 8 for general elections and political parties have started election campaign on Tuesday.

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