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Military regime claims responsibility for airstrikes on Kanbalu Township

Regime spokesperson Zaw Min Tun confirmed on Myanmar Radio and Television (MRTV) that the military conducted an airstrike killing over 100 people in Pa Zi Gyi village, Kanbalu Township of Sagaing Region on April 11. “There was an opening ceremony for an office of the so-called terrorist group the People’s Defense Force [PDF]. We had to attack it. We later found out that members of that terrorist group were killed at the ceremony. They are a group that works against the people and the government,” he stated. 

Zaw Min Tun claimed that the airstrike hit an ammunition depot and landmines planted by the PDF and alleged that its members were wearing civilian clothes at the opening ceremony. Locals said that more than 100 people, including 30 children, were killed in the airstrikes. A local told DVB that an Air Force plane dropped a bomb on the People’s Administration office, where 200 people were gathered, and then a Mi-35 combat helicopter opened fire on people fleeing the scene. “Food was served during the office opening ceremony. So, children and young students joined, ate there and then they planned to go to school,” said Phoe Thein, a resident of Pa Zi Gyi village. 

Video footage and photos obtained by DVB showed dead bodies scattered all over the ground. “All I want to say is do not target children and civilians. Just fight us like a man. But this kind of situation is very bad and it is worse than shooting at us,” said a PDF spokesperson. The National League for Democracy (NLD) party condemned the airstrikes, stating that the military “committed a mass killing of innocent civilians” and that the international community must take immediate action to prevent “blatant acts of genocide in Myanmar.” 

The National Unity Government (NUG) Ministry of Defense promised to “do its best to achieve the goal of eliminating the dictatorship quickly to ensure that people who were killed are not in vain.” As the military is losing territorial control across Burma to the NUG, it has increasingly used airstrikes on resistance strongholds. At least nine civilians were killed and five were injured in an airstrike on Webula Town, Falam Township of Chin State on April 10. Around 100 people were killed in an airstrike on A Nang Pa village, Hpakant Township of Kachin State last October. Twelve were killed, including several children, in an airstrike on a monastery school in Let Yet Kone village of Sagaing Region in September 2022.

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