FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM
At least 27 people – who had fled their homes due to fighting and were living in an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp – were killed and many were injured during an airstrike on Munglai Hkyet near the Kachin Independence Army (KIO/KIA) headquarters of Laiza at midnight on Oct. 9.
“The ground was shaking and window glass was broken because of the explosion. It was at the IDP camp and many people were killed and injured. The hospital was packed with injured people the next morning,” said a Munglai Hkyet resident.
At least 50 houses were destroyed and the number of casualties may rise as KIA authorities continue with the rescue efforts. KIA spokesperson Naw Bu stated that the attack by the military is a “genocidal act.” The IDP camp is inhabited by around 500 civilians that fled their homes in 2011 during renewed fighting between the KIA and the military, ending a 17-year ceasefire.
The National Unity Government (NUG) – Myanmar’s democratic opposition to military rule – blamed the military for the attack. “This act of [the] military council is [a] war crime and crime against humanity. The international community needs to take action,” Kyaw Zaw, the NUG spokesperson, told Reuters. He added that the attack’s proximity to China’s border showed that Naypyidaw blatantly disregards Beijing.
The U.N. condemned the attack but did not lay blame on the military. “The U.N. in Myanmar is deeply concerned by initial reports from Kachin [State] that civilians, including women [and] children, have been killed and injured in a bombing that impacted an IDP camp near Laiza last night,” it stated. The U.N. added that IDP camps should never be targeted during armed conflict.
Regime spokesperson Zaw Min Tun recorded an audio statement, saying: “It was not done by the military. The military is taking peace in the border regions very seriously. We as the military can attack the bases of rebel armed groups at any time but this was not us.”
Zaw Min Tun added that the explosion is currently under investigation but alluded that there may have been a KIA bomb storage facility located in the IDP camp. A military airstrike on a KIA-organized concert in A Nang Pa village of Hpakant Township in Kachin State killed over 60 people on Oct. 23, 2022.