Myanmar Junta Airstrikes Continue in Kayah State

By The Irrawaddy 12 January 2022

Myanmar’s military regime airstrikes have continued against Kayah State’s capital Loikaw as its ground troops appear to have been defeated by resistance forces.

Tuesday’s airstrike was the second targeting the city in four days.

On Tuesday morning, a fierce clash between regime forces and the people’s defense forces, Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) and Karenni Army, the armed wing of the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), continue in Loikaw.

Two regime’s jets bombarded the city nine times on Tuesday evening. A video showed a plane firing rockets into Loikaw.

During fighting on Tuesday, an estimated 20 regime troops and a resistance fighter were killed and many junta firearms and ammunition seized, according to the KNDF.

The Irrawaddy could not independently verify the reports.

Three Battalion 108 soldiers were captured while trying to flee the fighting, the armed group said.

The regime forces torched houses in Minelone ward in Loikaw on Tuesday, the KNDF said.

The group said regime forces are committing war crimes by bombarding residential areas, burning houses and conducting indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets.

Fighting began in the capital last Friday following heavy clashes in neighboring Demoso Township. Last Friday, four junta troops, a resistance fighter and six civilians were reportedly killed.

Junta airstrikes using a helicopter and two fighters were recorded on Saturday after an estimated 30 troops, including an army captain, were reportedly killed and an armored vehicle was destroyed by resistance fighters.

A helicopter was shot down, the KNDF claimed.

Around 40,000 Loikaw residents have fled since Saturday, according to the Karenni Human Rights Group.

Since the end of December, fierce clashes have been reported in Loikaw, Demoso and Hpruso townships in Kayah State, leading to regime airstrikes.

Several thousand Kayah civilians have fled their homes and some have abandoned displacement camps.

On Sunday, the KNPP urged the international community to act to stop the airstrikes and protect civilians.

Exception for Rakhine State, the junta has faced intense attacks from people’s defense forces and many ethnic armed groups.

Airstrikes have been conducted in Kachin, Chin, Shan, Karen and Kayah states and Sagaing and Magwe regions, where most resistance attacks have taken place.

Myanmar’s parallel National Unity Government claimed the military regime is breaching the Geneva Convention and international humanitarian law by repeatedly using its air force to attack civilians.

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