Myanmar Regime Bombs Village of 7,000 People, Killing 7 Civilians

By The Irrawaddy 19 January 2023

Seven civilians were killed and dozens injured in Katha Township, upper Sagaing Region on Wednesday when two Myanmar military jets bombed a large village of 1,800 households.

The junta bombed civilian targets in Moetar village after its troops suffered heavy losses in a clash with resistance forces several kilometers away, according to Katha-People’s Defense Force.

On Wednesday morning, intense fighting broke out 3 to 5 kilometers from Moetar when a combined force of the Katha-PDF and All Burma Students’ Front (ABSDF) attacked a military detachment of around 100 troops from Kachin State heading to the village.

Around 20 regime soldiers are thought to have been killed or injured in the battle. After suffering heavy losses, the junta deployed two fighter jets from the air base in the Kachin State capital Myitkyina to attack the resistance forces.

Regime jets also dropped four bombs on Moetar village. One of the bombs hit a crowd attending a donation ceremony in the village, a Katha-PDF representative told The Irrawaddy on Thursday.

Damage to houses in Moetar, Katha Township after Wednesday’s airstrikes. / CJ

Photos of the scene show charred bodies lying in a burnt-out house surrounded by other damaged houses. Locals said the bombing also injured at least 30 other residents, indicating that civilians were the target.
“If bombs had hit the edge of the village located near the clash, we would have understood the jets had missed the target. But the bombs actually hit an edge that is miles away from the clash, so they were intentionally attacking civilian targets,” said the Katha-PDF representative.
He condemned junta airstrikes that target civilians as crimes against humanity.

Clashes between junta troops and resistance forces were still being reported in the area on Thursday morning.

Moetar is home to over 7,000 residents, but most fled after the bombing.
Junta jets also attacked the village a year ago on January 12, killing or severely injuring five civilians including children and damaging six houses.

The military regime has intensified its campaign of airstrikes on both civilian and resistance targets in Sagaing Region and Chin, Kachin and Karen states since early January. The escalation came after ethnic armed organizations and PDFs, the armed wing of Myanmar’s civilian National Unity Government, vowed in their New Year speeches to uproot the military dictatorship in 2023.