A regime warplane bombed a Ye-U township school of 300 students in the resistance stronghold of Sagaing on Tuesday, the latest junta attack on schools after an assault that killed seven children last year.
The jet fighter conducted three rounds of attack, dropping six bombs on Bawdi School in Htan Taw village at around 2 pm on Tuesday, according to a local resistance member.
“Four bombs exploded next to the school compound and two more exploded nearby,” he said.
The bomb blasts damaged the school gate and library, according to a local resistance member from People’s Defense Comrade. Just an hour and a half earlier, the school gate was crowded with children. Carnage was only averted because classes were dismissed at 12.30 pm. As it was, no civilian casualties were reported.
Bawdi School is run by volunteer teachers who provide education for 300 students from nearby villages.
The junta bombing campaign threatens the anti-regime National Unity Government (NUG)’s school system in Sagaing, said a volunteer who has been teaching at Bawdi School for the past six months.
The NUG has set up its own administration and schools in Sagaing. The junta has branded the NUG a terrorist organization.
“Regime bombing raids on schools impact the ability to maintain the education system not only in our township but also in other townships in the resistance stronghold.
Our school has shut down at the moment and we need to take a break before classes resume,” he said.
Parents are also reluctant to send their kids to classes for fear that the junta might bomb the school again, he added.
There are no reports of fighting either near the village or in Ye-U township and this was the first bombing conducted here by a junta warplane, according to local resistance forces.
The junta normally seeks to justify its attacks on schools and hospitals by accusing them of harboring local resistance fighters. In most cases, the accusations turned out to be false.
The volunteer teacher from Bawdi school said: “There are no resistance forces in our school or our village. We are all volunteers helping to fulfill the education needs of rural students.”
Increasingly frequent junta attacks on civilian targets have included bombing raids on schools, hospitals and displacement camps in resistance strongholds. Junta infantry also blew up a high school in Chan Thar village in the west of Ye-U township on May 4, according to local sources.
Last September, at least 12 people including seven children were massacred in a regime air and ground assault on a school of 200 students in Let Yet Kone village, about seven miles from Htan Taw village.