At least 10 dead in Myanmar junta airstrikes on Sagaing village

An aerial assault targeting a village in Sagaing Region’s Pale Township on Tuesday afternoon killed at least 10 civilians, including a Buddhist monk, according to local sources.

The attack on Nyaung Kone, a village located less that 10km southwest of the town of Pale, took place at around 3pm and also destroyed a monastery and more than a dozen houses, the sources said.

Seven of the victims were killed in a house directly in front of the monastery. They included the monk and four of his relatives, as well as a man and his nephew who were also staying in the house, locals told Myanmar Now.

Some of the people killed by the airstrikes on Nyaung Koneon June 27 (Supplied)

The three remaining victims were in other houses in the area, they added.

One of the deceased was among six people who were taken to the hospital after the attack, while the other nine were killed instantly, locals said.

According to a member of the Yinmabin District People’s Defence Force (PDF), which helped to evacuate the village after the attack, some of the bodies were still burning when resistance forces arrived on the scene.

“One person had their face completely blown off. Some of the bodies were on fire, which we had to drag out of the burning buildings,” he said.

The victims, including 47-year-old monk Kyaw Myint Tun, were all aged between 18 and 65, according to PDF sources.

A man who survived the attack told Myanmar Now that it came completely without warning.

“We didn’t even hear the aircraft as it approached. There was just a whooshing sound when it was already too close for us to get away, followed soon after by a bang,” he said.

A piece of shrapnel from that first blast pierced a pole in his house near where his son was sleeping, the man said. Grabbing his son, he ran into the washroom to take shelter, but then fled towards the monastery, thinking it would be safer, he added.

It was while he and other family members hid inside a tunnel near the monastery that he heard more bombs being dropped from a fighter jet, as well as machine gun fire, he said.

“I think they were incendiary bombs,” said the man, describing the intense fires that broke out immediately after the second attack.

Another local said that houses near the monastery burned down within minutes of being hit. He added that the explosions left five craters, each about a metre and a half deep, in the ground.

The man said he didn’t know why the village was attacked, as there were no armed groups based there or in the surrounding area.

“We really didn’t think they would attack us, as we weren’t involved in the resistance movement. I couldn’t believe it until I saw it with my own eyes. Now I don’t want to sit and wait for them to come kill me. Give me a gun and I’ll fight back,” he said.

Most of the village’s 300 households were still displaced on Wednesday amid rumours that a second assault was planned, sources there said.

Zaw Htet, a spokesperson for the Pale Township PDF, denounced the attack as “an inhuman act” by the junta’s air force.

“I wouldn’t complain if they were going after a military target, but this was a purely civilian village,” he said.

Another airstrike was also reported later the same day at Chin Pyit, a village located about 25km northwest of Nyaung Kone. Two people were injured in that attack, according to sources.

A map shows where airstrikes were carried out by Myanmar’s military in Pale Township on June 27

Myanmar’s military has relied heavily on its total control over the country’s airspace to target opponents of its rule since it seized power more than two years ago.

Its indiscriminate use of fighter jets and attack helicopters imported from Russia and China has been widely condemned for taking a heavy toll on civilians in conflict areas.
In a single incident on April 11, more than 160 people, including dozens of children, were killed in the village of Pa Zi Gyi in Sagaing’s Kanbalu Township, sparking international outrage.

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