A passenger on a flight operated by a junta-controlled state-run airline was wounded when the aircraft came under fire while landing in Kayah State, a stronghold of the anti-regime resistance, on Friday morning
The Myanmar National Airlines (MNA) plane was hit by a number of bullets during landing at Loikaw Airport.
The junta said the attack was carried out by the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), a local political organization fighting for independence in Kayah State, and People Defense Force (PDF) groups, who have been fighting against the regime.
However, Khu Daniel, the KNPP’s secretary, denied the group was involved in the attack, saying the party has strictly ordered its armed wing, the Karenni Army (KA), not to target civilians. The Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF), which groups a number of local PDFs, was not available for comment.
A middle-aged man on board the plane suffered wounds to his cheek and was being treated at a hospital.
Pictures of the aircraft showed bullet holes in the fuselage.
Kayah State is one of the centers of anti-regime resistance in the country, with many PDFs forming there since last year’s military coup.
Fighting between junta troops and resistance forces has been reported nearly every day, and the regime still does not have the area under its control despite using air strikes and artillery shelling.
In December last year, local resistance group the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) warned residents of Kayah State not to travel by air to and from Loikaw, the Kayah capital, saying the Myanmar military was using the airport to deploy troops and weapons, making it a potential target for civilian resistance fighters.
The PDF also urged people not to travel on junta-controlled MNA because it generates revenue that the regime uses to oppress the people and fund attacks on PDF groups rebelling against military rule.
On Monday, 15 Myanmar military soldiers including a senior officer were reportedly killed in Kayah State’s Demoso Township when a combined force of Karenni resistance groups attacked regime troops occupying a village.
Junta troops have been intermittently shelling Demoso and Moebye, a township that borders Kayah and southern Shan State, local people said.