Burma

Myanmar Military Calls In Air Strikes to Keep Village From Falling to Resistance

By The Irrawaddy 11 May 2022

The Myanmar regime launched air strikes in Sagaing Region’s Kani Township as local resistance forces attacked an army camp in a pro-regime village in the township on Tuesday.

Members of at least six local People’s Defense Force groups (PDFs) attacked the camp based at Yay Lae Kyaun Village for two hours.

A member of the Daung Min PDF said the Myanmar military called in two army helicopters just as the resistance forces were about to occupy the village.

“We had already surrounded the village. However, we had to withdraw our forces because of the helicopters,” said a spokesperson for Kani PDF-1.

Another resistance group, the Dragon Brothers Task Force (DBTF), said in a statement that the helicopters opened fire for 30 minutes. No PDF members were seriously injured.

The statement added that at least five regime soldiers were killed and two PDF members suffered minor wounds. The Irrawaddy was unable to independently verify the claim.

Yay Lae Kyaun  is a small village with nearly 60 houses. Almost all of the villagers are members of a pro-regime militia group known as a Pyu Saw Htee. Such groups fight alongside junta troops in an effort to crush the PDFs’ resistance to military rule.

The village is notorious for harassing surrounding villages with the army’s support. There are some 60 regime troops stationed there, according to a member of the Daung Min PDF.

Kani has been one of the most restive areas in Sagaing Region since April last year, when armed resistance against the military regime began in the township. In January this year, around 40 junta soldiers including an army captain were reportedly killed when several resistance groups conducted a series of daring attacks against a military flotilla of eight vessels in the area.

Sagaing is a stronghold of anti-regime resistance in Myanmar, and the junta has launched a massive offensive in the region, including frequent air strikes. Nearly 250,000 locals have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the offensive, according to UNOCHA.

Ko Khant, a spokesperson for the North Yamar People’s Defense Force, said the regime frequently calls in air strikes, especially when it is unable to defeat the PDFs’ ground attacks.

 “It’s a war crime!” he said, because civilians are affected by the airstrikes.

“We have documented [evidence of] all of this to send to the National Unity Government [the NUG, Myanmar’s shadow government]. Although we can’t take action against the army at this time, the NUG will prosecute them eventually.”

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