Myanmar Junta Launches Air and Artillery Strikes on Shan State Refugee Camps

By The Irrawaddy 24 May 2023

Myanmar’s military regime launched unprovoked air and artillery strikes on Tuesday night on camps housing internally displaced people (IDP) in southern Shan State, destroying two buildings, according to resistance and rescue groups.

At around 9:30pm on May 23, a junta fighter jet launched two airstrikes on refugee camps to the west of Moebye Town in Pekon Township in southern Shan State, said Moebye People’s Defense Force (PDF) on Wednesday.

After the airstrikes, regime artillery units in Pekon Township shelled the IDP camps several times. Two buildings were destroyed in the air and artillery strikes.

Moebye Rescue Team visited the IDP camps after the bombing and shelling and told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that there were no civilian casualties.

“People escaped as they managed to reach the bomb shelters during the junta artillery and airstrikes,” said a member of the rescue team.

The regime has been escalating its air and artillery strikes on both civilian and resistance targets, as it loses control of the ground following increasing attacks from PDFs and ethnic revolutionary organizations nationwide.

On April 25, junta fighter jets dropped over 10 bombs on a hospital and IDP camp at Saung Phway Village in Pekon Township.

Five people, including two doctors and a child, were injured by the airstrike, along with a woman who suffered serious head injuries. The hospital and medicines were destroyed, as well as vehicles and a motorbike in the hospital compound.

On May 22, a truck conductor was killed and another driver injured in Moebye Town when regime forces stationed on a mountaintop arbitrarily opened fire on a truck traveling on a nearby road, according to Moebye PDF.

The junta has also carried out near-daily airstrikes on civilian targets and resistance forces during week-long clashes between Karenni resistance groups and regime forces in Demoso Township in neighboring Kayah State, the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) told the media.

The KNDF said regime planes bombed villages which were outside the area where the clashes were taking place.

At 4am on May 17, junta fighter jets bombed Saw Lon Village in Kayah State’s Bawlakhe Township, killing a teenager and injuring four others, said Bawlakhe PDF.

Nine civilian buildings including a monastery and two clinics were destroyed by the airstrikes.

In April alone, the regime conducted 108 airstrikes and several artillery strikes on both civilian targets and resistance forces in Kayah State, as well as in Pekon and Pinlaung Townships in neighboring southern Shan State, said the KNDF.

Some 25 civilian buildings were destroyed, including four hospitals and clinics and a church.