Myanmar junta airstrike on Karenni village targets community clinic and school

The Myanmar military launched an air assault and fired heavy artillery at a village in Karenni (Kayah) State on Thursday, hitting a local clinic and a community-run school, according to sources on the ground.

At around 1pm, two aircraft bombarded an area outside Htee Hpoe Ka Loe, a village around seven miles southeast of the town of Demoso, said a spokesperson for the local civil society organisation the Karenni Human Rights Group (KnHRG). 

“Heavy artillery fire came after the aerial assault… I was told that they targeted the clinic,” the spokesperson told Myanmar Now on condition of anonymity. 

The official said that a member of anti-junta Karenni Nationalities Defence Force who was in the area at the time of the airstrike was killed. Further information about the victim was not known at the time of reporting. 

An area local told Myanmar Now on Thursday evening that trenches dug near the clinic which had served as bomb shelters for residents were also hit in the attack, which was ongoing still ongoing at 7pm

“I am hiding right now. The artillery fire is still coming. The ground was razed by both airplanes and heavy weapons. I had to run away with only the clothes on my back,” the source told Myanmar Now. 

Civilians who had been sheltering at the clinic fled into the nearby forests and to temporary camps for internally displaced persons, with few people remaining in Htee Hpoe Ka Loe at the time of reporting. 

Myanmar Now is continuing to gather information about the situation in and around the village.

According to the KnHRG spokesperson, a community-run school called Nway Oo Guru Lay Myar located in front of the clinic was also targeted, but no children were at the site at the time of the attack since the education centre was closed.

The siege on Htee Hpoe Ka Loe came just hours after another village across the country—Khuafo, in Thantlang Township, Chin State—was bombed by the junta’s air force, claiming the lives of at least 10 people. Among the casualties were four women and a child, according to the spokesperson for the Chin National Army/Front (CNA/F), an ethnic armed organisation. The assault, which came amid no recent fighting in the area, also injured some 20 people, he added. 

On Monday, junta chief Min Aung Hlaing declared at a ceremony marking Armed Forces Day that his regime intended to intensify its efforts to crush groups opposed to military rule, including ethnic armed organisations such as the CNA/F which have sided with the resistance movement. 

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