Myanmar’s junta storms 3 townships in bid for northern town

About 15 civilians are missing and 6 are dead after junta land and aerial attacks, residents said.
By RFA Burmese
2024.02.02
Myanmar’s junta storms 3 townships in bid for northern town Destruction in Mya Kan and Kan Gyi villages in Pale township following junta airstrikes on Feb. 1, 2024.
Pale People’s Defense Forces

Six civilians are dead after junta air raids and maneuvers in several townships in Myanmar’s Sagaing region, residents told Radio Free Asia on Friday. 

At least 10 were injured and 15 people were arrested in Pale, Kanbalu, and Khin-U townships during two days of military operations on Wednesday and Thursday.

In Pale, two women were killed and five others were injured when junta fighter jets bombarded Kan Gyi village, a member of Pale People’s Defense Forces said.

“Kan Gyi village was bombarded without a fight. A woman died on the spot at home and another woman died at the hospital,” he said, declining to be named for security reasons. “The other five were critically injured. One had to have his hand amputated.”

Resistance fighters told RFA the aerial attack was likely retaliation after the Pale People’s Defense Forces attacked a military camp.

On Wednesday, Pale People’s Defense Forces launched an assault on a joint junta and Pyu Saw Htee militia camp in the township’s Zee Phyu Kone village. The following day, the junta retaliated, bombarding Zee Phyu Kone and Kan Gyi villages with airstrikes.

North of Pale, junta forces simultaneously launched eight more airstrikes across Kanbalu township’s Thin Taw, Zaw Chaung, and Ma Gyi Kone villages on Thursday. The attack killed a 40-year-old man and injured five other residents, locals said.

The military attacked the villages bordering Kawlin and Kanbalu townships in Sagaing’s east in order to recapture Kawlin town, said Kanbalu People’s Defense Forces' information officer, who declined to give his name for fear of reprisals. Myanmar’s shadow National Unity Government and its armed wing of People’s Defense Forces captured Kawlin in November.

“The junta council wants to regain Kawlin, so it is clearing the route its forces are going to take,” he told RFA on Friday. “The junta air force is continuously shooting at places where there is no battle – where not even a single bullet was shot.”

A woman from Ma Gyi Kone village, and two men and three women from Zaw Chaung villages were seriously injured in Thursday’s assault on Kanbalu township. However, their injuries were not life-threatening, the information officer added. Another man from Zaw Chaung village bled to death while receiving medical treatment. 

Regime troops also stormed Khin-U township’s Tha Yet Kone and Kin Pyit villages on Wednesday. The following morning, villagers found the bodies of three civilians, residents and defense force officials said.

The victims were 31-year-old Ye Aung from Tha Yet Kone village and 51-year-old Than Tun  and 42-year-old Than Lwin Gyi, both from Kin Pyit village. Another 15 people are missing and may have been arrested, a defense force official said.

After junta troops captured the three victims, they were killed near Ka Lon village, said defense force spokesperson Ah Lin Yaung.

“The column entered Tha Yet Kone village at night and arrested Ko Ye Aung, who was sleeping at home. The other two men were caught while fleeing in the forest. The people who have been arrested are yet to be identified and counted,” he said.

“There are many people who are still missing. We are still investigating whether they are in other villages or not. There are approximately 15 people [we can’t find]. But it could be more than that.”

Calls by RFA to Sagaing region’s junta spokesperson Sai Naing Naing Kyaw went unanswered.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a total of 4,477 people have died since the Feb. 1, 2021 coup.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.

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