Thousands of Karen villagers flee as military continues airstrikes 

More than 3,000 villagers from Karen state’s Mutraw (Hpapun) district fled their homes on Sunday following a series of airstrikes by the Myanmar military on territory controlled by the Karen National Union (KNU), according to local sources.  

“Some fled to Thailand, some into the forest. They heard rumours that more fighter jets would come in the evening,” said a villager who lives near the Ei Tu Hta camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs), located on the Thai-Myanmar border. 

There are more than 2,400 IDPs in the Ei Tu Hta camp, while another 5,000 live along the banks of the Salween river, which separates Myanmar and Thailand.

The villagers fled after the junta’s armed forces launched airstrikes near Kho Kay and other villages in the area at around 3pm on Sunday. 

Sources said no casualties were reported in Kho Kay, but added that the situation in other villages was unclear because internet and telephone services were cut off at the time of the raid.

The airstrike on Sunday followed two the day before that left a number of people dead and several others injured, according to local media reports.

The attacks came after troops from the KNU’s Brigade 5 overran the Myanmar military’s Thee Mu Hta base on Saturday morning, capturing at least eight soldiers. 

The military launched two airstrikes later in the day—one at 8pm and another at 11:30pm, a KNU official said. 

DVB, a local news outlet, reported that three villagers were killed while seven were heavily injured in the attacks on Saturday.

On the same day, Myanmar’s military junta killed at least 114 civilians in towns and cities around the country in response to massive popular resistance to its February 1 coup.

March 27, which was commemorated by the regime as Armed Forces Day, was the deadliest day so far of its all-out offensive against Myanmar’s civilian population.


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