Myanmar Junta Airstrikes Hit Three Resistance Strongholds

By The Irrawaddy 18 May 2023

Myanmar’s junta launched airstrikes on Wednesday in Sagaing Region and Kayah and Karen states, according to resistance groups.

Two fighter jets bombed Chaung Ma village in the south of Kani Township, Sagaing Region, before ground troops raided the settlement.

A civilian suffered neck injuries and at least three houses and a school were destroyed, said a representative of Kani-based Kyauk Lone Gyi People’s Defense Force (PDF).

“Junta jets bombed the village with a lot of bombs. The troops we attacked for seven days occupied Chaung Ma after the airstrikes,” he told The Irrawaddy on Thursday.

Since May 11, more than 13,000 south Kani residents have fled their homes because of raids by two junta units amid heavy rain triggered by Cyclone Mocha.

Troops reportedly killed six villagers, including five girls, and used numerous civilian detainees as human shields to deter resistance ambushes, according to residents.

Clashes have been reported since last Thursday as resistance groups, including Kyauk Lone Gyi PDF, from four townships attacked the troops raiding villages.

The Irrawaddy could not independently verify the reports.

On Sunday fighting was reported at Min Ma village when resistance groups attacked troops who had occupied the village with many junta casualties reported, including officers.

In response, the northwest command headquarters in nearby Monywa town shelled the area and a junta fighter jet dropped bombs amid heavy rain, according to resistance groups.

In a week more than 60 regime soldiers have been killed and 30 injured, according to Kyauk Lone Gyi PDF that coordinated the attacks.

Junta forces burned the bodies of fallen soldiers in civilian houses, the group said.

Three resistance fighters had been killed and eight injured, it claimed.

“Junta troops cannot travel easily and raid villages freely as most of the area is in resistance control. The junta is relying on its airforce instead,” said the PDF representative.

On Wednesday morning regime forces used drones to attack Pann Nyo village in Myaung Township, Sagaing Region, said Ko Nway Oo, the founder of the Civilian Defense and Security Organization of Myaung.

A house was destroyed by a junta drone but the residents were unharmed.

A junta fighter jet also bombed Saw Lon village in Bawlakhe Township, Kayah State, killing a teenage girl and injuring four other civilians, said Bawlakhe PDF.

Nine buildings, including a monastery and two medical buildings, were destroyed, it said.

“The increasing dependency on airstrikes proves the junta has too few soldiers,” said a Demoso PDF spokesman, adding that resistance groups lacked anti-aircraft weapons.

In Myawaddy Township, Karen State, junta forces shelled and deployed airstrikes against resistance-held territory on early Wednesday morning, said the Cobra Column resistance group.

But junta troops retreated in the face of resistance attacks and ammunition and equipment were seized, according to the group.

There were no resistance casualties in the fighting and airstrikes, the Cobra Column said.