Myanmar Junta Jets Bomb Church, Killing Child, Mother, and 2 Pastors

By Hein Htoo Zan 13 January 2023

Five people, including a child and two pastors, were killed when junta warplanes bombed a village church in Mutraw district, Karen State on Thursday, according to the Karen National Union (KNU) and residents.

Two regime jet fighters attacked Lay Wah village, which is controlled by the KNU, at around 1pm, forcing hundreds of residents to flee.

Bodies of those killed in the airstrike lie in a makeshift mortuary in Lay Wah. (Supplied)

“This is totally a war crime,” said KNU spokesperson Padoh Saw Taw Nee, confirming that clerics and a child were killed in the attack.

“It is very important to stop the supply of fuel for the junta military’s aircraft. Thus, I ask again that the international community take more effective action against the junta,” he added.

Residents said the jet fighters clearly targeted the church in the attack, killing a young boy, his mother, the two pastors and another villager on the spot.

The attack coincided with regime airstrikes on the headquarters of the Chin National Front (CNF), the political wing of the Chin National Army (CNA), which killed five CNF members, injured many others and destroyed a medical clinic on Wednesday and Thursday.

The civilian National Unity Government (NUG) released a statement condemning the junta airstrikes on Thursday.

“We convey our condolences to all those who have lost their lives from the ethnic communities by these atrocities and pledge that we will do our utmost to bring justice for all those lives lost, be it national or international,” the statement said.

The junta has repeatedly bombed civilian targets in Karen and Kachin states and Sagaing and Magwe regions.

The bombing campaign has killed at least 460 civilians, including many children, according to the NUG.

“The junta’s military council continues to target civilian areas and religious sites and has practically admitted to committing war crimes. Therefore, we want the UN Security Council to also implement its resolution on Myanmar immediately,” said Padoh Saw Taw Nee.

The resolution, passed in December, calls for the cessation of violence in Myanmar, respect for the democratic will of the people and human rights, and accountability for those who violate them.