School damaged, five resistance fighters killed in three separate military airstrikes
No one was injured in the attack on a high school in Sagaing Region on Tuesday, but casualties were reported in similar incidents in Mon and Chin states earlier in the week
The junta air force struck a high school operating under the publicly mandated National Unity Government in Sagaing Region, as well as resistance targets in Chin and Mon states this week.
A fighter jet attacked the high school in Htan Taw, a village located around a mile west of the administrative centre of Ye-U Township, on Tuesday afternoon.
Around 300 students are currently registered at the school, where classes are led by teachers participating in the anti-junta Civil Disobedience Movement. Having gone home after classes ended, around 30 minutes before the attack began, none of the schoolchildren were harmed.
The fighter jet, which reportedly flew in from Manadalay’s Tada-U airport, made three passes over the school, firing several volleys of bullets at the ground, local sources told Myanmar Now on Tuesday afternoon.
A member of a local defence team who saw the wreckage after the attack said the brick barrier around the school and the entrance gate received direct hits, while parts of the school building were also damaged.
“Two rounds hit the brick wall near the school entrance and knocked down a tree. The walls of the school were riddled with shrapnel and a haystack outside a house near the school caught fire,” said the defence team member.
Eight pieces of shrapnel were later found in and near the school compound.
Another military airstrike in Hakha Township, Chin State, resulted in two deaths and three injuries among members of the Chinland Defence Force (CDF) on Monday evening.
According to the CDF Senthang (which is active in villages inhabited by mostly ethnic Senthang Chin people), a military jet bombed Khuapi village, located some 30 miles south of Hakha, near the office of the group’s central executive council.
“A person was killed by the bombing at the CDF Senthang office, although the bomb didn’t hit the office directly; it fell 50 feet away. The office wasn’t damaged but the strike hit several people,” a CDF information officer said.
Salai Siang Cung Hnin, a 24-year-old assistant secretary general, was killed on the spot. Salai Duh Lian Hmung, a 23-year-old company commander, died of his injuries at around 2pm on Tuesday, according to the CDF Senthang information officer.
No detailed information is yet available on the three injured CDF members. There were no civilian casualties, as non-combatants had already been evacuated from the area.
Starting on Sunday and lasting two days, air attacks also injured civilians and killed three anti-junta resistance fighters in Ye Township, Mon State.
The slain fighters–two men and a woman–died in the bombing of Wei Pa Thea, a village located around 20 miles north of Ye. Two other resistance fighters were also injured during the air raid, according to Saw Liston, district secretary of Brigade 6 of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA).
The deceased belonged to a unit known as the Albino Tiger Column–made up of allied People’s Defence Force (PDF) and KNLA members–which released a statement on Tuesday identifying them as Zwe Marn Lin, Tun Lin Aung, and Khin Thandar Swe.
Naw Nyin Nyo, a resident of Wei Pa Thea in her 70s, also suffered a back injury during the airstrike, and a woman in her 30s named Naw Sandar Aye was also seriously injured. The bombing also started a fire that destroyed two houses, according to the statement.
Junta aircraft also came to attack as the resistance fighters’ bodies were being prepared for burial, according to Saw Liston.
“An Mi-35 helicopter shot at the village again while we were setting up for the funeral. No one was injured though,” he said.
Since seizing power in February 2021, Myanmar’s military has relied heavily on air power in its fight against resistance forces, which continue to challenge its control of the country.
The military council has now imposed martial law in 37 townships throughout the country, 11 of which are in Sagaing Region.
Martial law has also been declared throughout Chin State, where serious battles have broken out in recent months. In a statement released on Monday, the Chin National Army claimed that the military had carried out an average of more than one airstrike per day in the state, dropping more than 120 bombs, in March and April.
The military has been conducting airstrikes in KNLA territory since March 2021. A few months later, the group’s political wing, the Karen National Union, publicly condemned the coup and began offering shelter and military training to anti-junta activists.