Junta airstrike destroys school and injures two in Kani Township

An airstrike carried out by regime forces in Sagaing Region’s Kani Township last week left two people injured and a school and several other buildings in ruins, according to local sources.

The airstrike was reportedly carried out by two fighter jets at around 2pm on May 17 and targeted the village of Chaung Ma (West), which is located about 23km south of the town of Kani.

A 30-year-old woman and a man in his 50s both sustained minor injuries in the attack, which also destroyed the village’s high school and monastery, sources there reported.

A resident of the area told Myanmar Now that an entire building inside the high school compound was levelled in the attack, as were a number of nearby houses.

“There is also a crater about five feet deep. Four or five houses were destroyed, including one that caught on fire,” said the local, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Photos taken at the scene show a badly damaged brick building, as well as fire damage to a wooden structure.

A wooden building in Chaung Ma that was destroyed by fire after the village was hit by an airstrike on May 17 (Supplied)

It was unclear why the village was targeted, but the attack came about a week after a column of around 100 junta troops stationed in Monywa, the seat of the Northwestern Military Command, entered Kani Township from the south on May 11.

Locals say the column, which passed through neighbouring Yinmabin Township, engaged in continuous clashes with local resistance forces over the next several days.

The fighting continued even on May 14, when Cyclone Mocha made landfall on Myanmar’s west coast, bringing severe weather as far inland as central Sagaing Region.

It was also on that day that Min Ma, a village located about 30km south of Chaung Ma and 35km west of Monywa, was hit by an airstrike. No casualties were reported in that attack, and details regarding property damage were not available.

The following day, the junta troops were joined by another column of around the same size coming from Bant Bway, a village about 15km southeast of Chaung Ma, according to an officer of the Kyauk Lone Gyi Force, a local resistance group.

However, the combined ground force later retreated to Bant Bway and began shelling Lel Shey, a village near Chaung Ma, according to the resistance officer.

Around 30 residents of Bant Bway were also taken hostage when the troops returned to the village on May 16, he added.

“They ran into displaced locals who had returned to their homes and took 30 of them hostage,” said the officer.

Myanmar Now has been unable to independently verify this information.

The military has carried out numerous airstrikes in resistance strongholds around the country since seizing power more than two years ago. The indiscriminate assaults have resulted in heavy civilian casualties.

A single attack last month on the village of Pa Zi Gyi in Sagaing Region’s Kanbalu Township left at least 160 people, including dozens of children, dead.

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