Pieces of Flesh Were Everywhere: Myanmar Airstrike Survivor

By The Irrawaddy 12 April 2023

Myanmar’s regime attacked Pazi Gyi village in Kantbalu Township, Sagaing Region, on Tuesday morning with a fighter jet and Mi-35 assault helicopter while a people’s authority office was being opened.

Around 100 civilians, including elderly people, women and children, were killed in the bombing.

A resistance fighter, who survived the attack, told The Irrawaddy about the incident.

Pazi Gyi village in Kantbalu Township, Sagaing Region, after the bombing.

What happened at the ceremony?

Resistance fighters to the west reported seeing a jet fighter. But the phone reception was poor and I could not hear clearly. I went outside and saw the fighter. Everyone else saw it too. Those who died didn’t have time to run.

Many people were stunned and they died watching the plane. I was lucky because I dived into a roadside ditch.

What happened next?

It dropped a bomb and there was an explosion and smoke. From the ditch, I could see dead bodies strewn everywhere.

I was only around 20 steps from the explosion. People around 20 meters away were injured. We asked the injured to shout out so we knew who could be rescued.

We could not identify the victims. Heads were separated from bodies. Children’s limbs were severed. Small pieces of flesh were spread around.

We searched for survivors through the jumble of bodies. We tried to send the injured to a clinic while looking out for more attacks.

The bombing was at around 8am and around 30 minutes later a Mi-35 strafed the village. It didn’t kill anyone.

What is the estimated death toll?

The bomb hit a crowd of around 150 people. Some victims were toddlers and other young children. More than 30 people were injured and around 15 survived. There were around 100 fatalities, including about 20 children.

Body parts were scattered. Most of the victims were women, including around 10 pregnant women. Only around 10 people escaped with minor injuries.

Could you estimate the death toll by body parts?

The bodies were unrecognizable. Some were without heads and limbs. We could not identify them. We put them together and burned them.

The event was to open a people’s authority office. Were the victims from many villages?

Most were Pazi Gyi villagers. Only a few were from other villages. It was still early so the other villagers had not arrived.

Pazi Gyi village in Kantbalu Township, Sagaing Region, after the bombing on April 11.

Was it going to be the only administrative office in the area?

The civilian administration office was built outside the village, partly to protect villagers. The office was flattened by a bomb. We didn’t hear screams when it was hit. People could not scream because they were killed immediately. Around 30 mines and shells behind the office ignited and the blasts lasted about an hour.

Were the bodies incinerated and can their families be contacted?

We burned the bodies together so no one can identify them now. We had to sweep up pieces of flesh with brooms. We have not fully cleaned up.

All the villagers have fled. We will only be able to name the victims when they are reported missing.

Were any resistance fighters killed?

Around 20 resistance fighters were killed but the majority of victims were civilians as the fighters were busy doing chores and were outside the building.

What is your response to the attack? How are the villagers coping?

It is quite despicable. I don’t complain about attacks if there is fighting in the area but there have only been a few clashes.

The attack was one-sided. Women and elderly people have left the area or are hiding in the forests. Some male villagers have returned to the village.

My ears are still buzzing and I see pieces of flesh everywhere.