Myanmar military marks Armed Forces Day with airstrike on Karen territory 

The military attacked villages in Karen State’s Mutraw District—known in Burmese as Hpapun—from the air in the early hours of Sunday, which was also the junta’s Armed Forces Day, according to a statement released by the Karen National Union (KNU).

The area is under the control of Brigade 5 of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), the KNU’s armed wing. 

Some four bombs were dropped from two fighter jets at around 2am on the village of Daybunoh in Mutraw’s Luthaw Township at around 2am. A former high school compound was hit—the same site that was struck from the air in an attack on Armed Forces Day in 2021. The village of Htee Lay Kwi, also in Luthaw, was also hit. 

Several homes were destroyed in the airstrike, but were reportedly empty of residents at the time of the assault. 

The KNU is reportedly still investigating the extent of the damage. 

Myanmar Now tried to contact Brigade 5 spokesperson Saw Kler Doh for further comment on the attack, but the calls went unanswered.  

Last year’s junta bombings of Brigade 5 villages followed the KNLA seizure of a Myanmar army base in the Thee Mu Hta area of Mutraw earlier that day. The subsequent air attacks killed an estimated 20 civilians, wounded more than 40, and displaced tens of thousands of people, many initially across the nearby border to Thailand.

Also targeted last year were villages in KNLA’s Brigade 3, Kler Lwee Htoo District, known as Nyaunglebin in Burmese, in Bago Region. 

Myanmar army surveillance aircraft, including a helicopter, were seen over Mei Wei village tract in Kler Lwee Htoo’s Dwelo Township last Friday, according to the KNU’s news department in Brigade 5. KNLA soldiers claimed to have shot at the helicopter, reportedly damaging its engine, but did not bring the aircraft down. 

Clashes have been breaking out regularly between the KNLA and the junta’s forces in Mutraw District throughout March, as well as in other parts of Karen State and Bago Region. 

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