Military carries out airstrikes on KNU territory in Mon State

Myanmar’s military dropped several bombs on a village in territory controlled by Brigade 1 of the Karen National Union (KNU) on Sunday, a spokesperson for the group has confirmed.

The aerial attack, which targeted the village of Lay Kay in Mon State’s Bilin Township, reportedly injured three villagers and destroyed eight houses and a monastery. 

According to the KNU spokesperson, several other buildings were also damaged by fire. On Monday, local news outlet KIC reported that a total of 10 houses had been destroyed.

The attack came just over a week after the Karen National Defence Organisation (KNDO), an armed wing of the KNU, fired several warning shots at two bases that the group had earlier ordered the military to abandon.

The bases, which are located in wooded areas near Lay Kay and Win Tar Pan, another village in Bilin Township, are used by both regime troops and members of an allied Border Guard Force. 

A day after the KNDO shot at the bases on the night of April 23, regime forces reportedly opened fire on Lay Kay with 60mm artillery shells, resulting in the destruction of three houses in the village.

Padoh Saw Soe Myint, the chair of the KNU’s Brigade 1, said the situation remains tense, as there are still around 70-80 troops stationed at each base.

At least 7,000 residents residents of Bilin Township have been forced to flee recent attacks by regime forces (KNU) 

According to a statement released by the KNU on April 25, the military’s actions have displaced nearly 7,000 civilians from nine villages in Bilin Township.

Padoh Saw Soe Myint said he expected more to flee following the latest attack.

“For sure, more are going to be displaced after the bombings,” he said, adding that the regime has repeatedly targeted civilians in the area.

“I would like to tell the people to be very cautious and to stay away from conflict areas,” he added.

The military has been carrying out airstrikes on territory controlled by KNU brigades 3, 5 and 6 since March of last year.

In the past month alone, at least 10 aerial attacks have been reported in areas of Karen State’s Mutraw (Hpapun) District under the control of Brigade 5, as well as in Brigade 6 territory in Myawaddy and Kawkareik townships.

Major clashes have taken place in both areas over the past month. On April 4, junta forces destroyed several vehicles during fighting along a stretch of the Asian Highway that connects Myawaddy and Kawkareik, and last Thursday, a Brigade 5 tactical commander was killed during a clash in Mutraw.

Meanwhile, tensions have also been high in Bago Region’s Taungoo District, where on April 25 the KNDO’s Battalion 4 gave junta forces 15 days to leave their Kyi Chaung and Koe Day bases in territory controlled by KNU Brigade 2.

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