Airstrike leaves seven civilians dead in Sagaing’s Katha Township

Six women and a man were killed by junta airstrikes carried out after regime forces came under attack in Sagaing Region’s Katha Township on Wednesday, according to resistance sources.

Two fighter jets were involved in the aerial assault, which also destroyed several houses and left dozens of people in the village of Moe Tar Lay injured, the sources said.

The incident took place at around 4:30pm on Wednesday after a column of around 70 junta troops was pinned down following an ambush by resistance forces between the villages of Sin Kone Taing and Tut Kone earlier in the day.

At least a dozen houses in Tut Kone and Sayti Yat, another village in the area, were also destroyed in the attack, but no casualties were reported.

According to a member of the Katha People’s Defence Force (PDF), most of the victims in Moe Tar Lay were in one house.

“A bomb landed on the house and three people were burned alive. Three managed to escape, but we later found another body when we were searching there in the morning,” he said.

A resident of the village told Myanmar Now that the victims were preparing for a donation ceremony at the time of the attack.

Figures compiled by the village’s defence team showed that as of Wednesday morning, the bodies of six women and one man had been recovered. Several farm animals had also been killed.

Photos seen by Myanmar Now show the charred remains of villagers and a number of damaged or destroyed houses.

An undetonated bomb, about two feet in length, was also discovered under a house in Sayti Yat, where five houses were completely destroyed by fire, according to a village resident.

Most residents of the area have fled to the town of Katha since the attack, he added.

Fighting resumed early Thursday morning after resistance forces deployed drones to scout enemy positions and drop explosives, according to a defence team member.

Later in the day, two fighter jets returned to the area and dropped several bombs. There were no immediate reports of casualties and the extent of damage was not known.

According to the Katha PDF, two members of the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front—an allied group that took part in the fighting—sustained minor injuries.

The groups claim that they inflicted heavy casualties on the regime forces during the two days of clashes.

Katha Township is located in northern Sagaing Region, in an area that is largely under the control of resistance forces. Anti-regime groups say the military has recently begun sending large numbers of reinforcements and munitions into the area along the Ayeyarwady River.

In response, groups based in Katha, Htigyaing and Myo Hla (in neighbouring Kachin State) say they have been carrying out continuous attacks against the regime forces.

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