Myanmar regime aircraft bomb Kachin villagers
Myanmar’s military has launched airstrikes for six days on Momauk Township, Kachin State, forcing villagers to flee, according to the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC).
Frequent air raids followed fierce fighting between the regime’s forces and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). Fighting has intensified near Myothit and Kon Law villages after the KIA occupied the strategic Alaw Bum base near the Chinese border and attacked two police outposts and a military base at Tarpein Bridge in Momauk Township in late March and early April.
“The military has been fighting in several locations in Momauk to recapture Alaw Bum,” Colonel Naw Bu, the KIA’s spokesman, told The Irrawaddy.
On Wednesday night, fighting between the KIA’s Battalion 25 and the Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s military) intensified near Myothit village in the township.
Three fighter jets dropped bombs near the village, injuring a resident, according to a villager.
“We heard loud artillery explosions from Momauk town,” a resident said.
Witnesses reported causalities on both sides during the fighting but the Irrawaddy could not verify casualty numbers.
“Another 100 villagers fled to the KBC in the last two days. We are expecting more to arrive,” a KBC representative told The Irrawaddy.
“Our church is already flooded with people. I am still not sure how to find space for more. We don’t have enough space,” he said.
By Tuesday evening, more than 5,500 villagers had fled to churches and monasteries in Momauk from Sihike, Kone Law, Myo Haung, Myo Thit, Shwe Myaung, Namt Lan, Mone Khat, Naung Kon and Nant Ngoe villages.
Kachin military tension has risen since March 11 with KIA offensives on the security forces in response to the killing of anti-regime protesters in the state. The KIA refused to recognize the regime and threatened to step up attacks if the junta continues to shoot peaceful protesters across the country.