Myanmar junta forces mount air and ground attacks in three states

The military deployed aircraft and ground forces to Shwegu Township, Kachin State, last week while carrying out airstrikes in two other states on the same day, according to local defence teams and civilian residents. 

Beginning at around noon on March 30, the junta air force bombed areas south of Shwegu, targeting the Shwegu-based Kachin People’s Defence Force (KPDF) and local defence teams. The bombing lasted for around 20 minutes, with eight bombs detonating inside Man Wein village, according to a KPDF member. 

“Two fighter jets dropped bombs as ground troops fired on the village with heavy artillery, then advanced into the village. We were forced to retreat a bit, but there were no casualties in our group,” the KPDF member said. 

The KPDF member estimated that the junta column consisted of more than 100 soldiers, and said that the bombing had destroyed several houses in Man Wein. 

“The ground troops torched the houses that weren’t destroyed by the aerial bombing. There were over 300 houses in the village and I heard that only the monastery is still standing,”  he added.

Myanmar Now has not yet independently confirmed the claims about the destruction of houses. 

The junta columns were made up of troops from Light Infantry Battalion 10 and Infantry Battalion 77, both part of Infantry Division 88. Junta ground forces had been mounting attacks on villages south of Shwegu since March 23. 

The attacks have forced thousands of residents from the villages to flee to Shwegu, nearby villages, or the surrounding forests.

A man in his 40s living in Shwegu, who requested anonymity, claimed junta forces in the town were driving away displaced people seeking refuge, and had detained more than 30.

“They arrested people sheltering at a monastery. There were over 30 of them. Even those that weren’t arrested were forced to return to their villages,” the man said. 

The next morning at around 5am, junta forces stationed at the monastery in Man Wein began shelling nearby areas where they believed KPDF forces were hiding, even though no fighting had occurred in or near the village, local sources said.

On the same day that air and ground forces assaulted Man Wein, the junta also carried out an airstrike on Khuafo, a village in Chin State’s Thantlang Township located 6 miles north of Thantlang and some 10 miles from the Indian border. The raid reportedly killed 10 people and injured around 20. 

That afternoon, the air force also attacked eastern Demoso Township, Karenni (Kayah) State, killing one person and forcing others from their homes. 

As the junta have transported reinforcements, weapons and provisions north to Kachin State and other conflict areas via the Ayeyarwady River, resistance forces based in townships near the river have frequently attacked them along the way in an effort to sabotage the vital route. 

Related Articles

Back to top button