Three Karen Villagers Killed in Myanmar Military Airstrike
By The Irrawaddy 28 March 2021
Three ethnic Karen villagers died and at least seven were injured as Myanmar’s military launched airstrikes against the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), the military wing of the Karen National Union (KNU), with two fighter jets on Saturday night in Papun District, Karen State.
The airstrikes were between 7pm and 2am near Htee Swal Nee in Deh Bu Noh village tract, according to KNU’s information department on Sunday.
A house was destroyed and a resident inside was burned to death.
“Three people died and seven others have been injured from last night’s attack on the villages in Deh Bu Noh. One of them, who was believed to be hit, was burned after the bomb fell into their home,” according to a Karen relief worker, who asked not to be named.
More than 1,000 villagers, who live near military outposts, have fled their homes, he said, adding that some families had crossed the Thai border.
He said: “The villagers, mostly women, children and elders, from villages along the Salween River have left their homes as they are afraid of further military attacks.”
The offensive is believed to be in retaliation to the KNLA’s seizure of a hilltop outpost previously held by the regime’s Light Infantry Division 349 in Thi Mu Hta on March 27. The KNLA killed 10 soldiers, including an officer, and detained eight soldiers as prisoners of war.
Clashes were also reported in Kawkareik, Karen State and Nyaung Laypin and Taungoo in Bago Region near KNU territory on Saturday.
On March 27, KNU Brigade 5 said in a statement that it will intensify its defensive action against the regime while protecting its territory.
The group said it does not recognize the regime and supports the elected lawmakers’ Committee Representing the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Union Parliament).
KNU, Myanmar’s oldest ethnic armed organization, last Monday urged the military to stop killing civilians and free all those detained since the Feb. 1 coup.
Among those detained are President U Win Myint and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
Regime forces’ crackdowns on protesters have left more than 400 dead, including children and bystanders, since February.
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