Nearly 30 internally displaced persons (IDPs) were killed in a suspected junta drone strike on a village near the headquarters of the ethnic armed organisation the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Laiza, northern Myanmar, at around midnight on Monday.
The Myanmar army launched the attack at 11:25pm on the village of Munglai Hkyet, located around two miles from Laiza, which is on Kachin State’s border with China. Around 500 IDPs had been sheltering in a camp in the village.
KIA spokesperson Col Naw Bu told Myanmar Now that as of 8am on Tuesday, they had identified 29 casualties and 56 others who were injured. Forty-four of those wounded were undergoing emergency care at a local medical facility, he said, adding that among the victims were several children and elderly people.
The rescue team was still searching for further bodies at the time of reporting.
“We didn’t hear the sound of any aircraft flying past before the attack. We suspect that it could be a drone strike,” the KIA spokesperson said. “I was told the bomb was dropped right on the camp.”
Col Naw Bu said that there were no KIA military camps near the village but that it had frequently been hit by artillery shells in previous junta attacks. There had been no clashes near Munglai Hkyet on Monday night, he added.
Monday’s attack was the deadliest on KIA territory since the junta’s bombing of a community event in A Nang Pa, Hpakant Township, in October last year. More than 60 people were killed in that assault.
“This is a massacre of our Kachin people through aerial bombings,” Col Naw Bu said of A Nang Pa. “It’s a genocidal act of militarism towards our ethnic people.”