Junta bombs dropped on wedding party in Myanmar leave 24 people dead

The two 500-pound bombs also left 30 people injured in the northern Sagaing region.

A military junta airplane dropped two 500-pound bombs on a wedding ceremony, killing 24 people and injuring about 30 others in Myanmar’s Sagaing region on Monday, residents told Radio Free Asia. 

After the bombing, junta troops fired several artillery shots into Ma Taw village in Mingin township, forcing more than 2,000 residents from six nearby villages to flee their homes, village resident U Htay said.

The bomb was dropped directly onto the wedding party at 8:15 a.m., he said. The bride and groom were on their way to the village monastery at the time and were uninjured.

“In rural areas, the place where food is cooked and served, and where wedding gifts are provided, are all in small central areas,” he said. “The bomb struck this central area, causing all people there to be hit.”

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This photo taken on Dec. 11, 2023, shows a member of the Mandalay People’s Defense Forces walking through a crater after a bombing campaign by a Myanmar military aircraft near the frontline amid clashes in northern Shan State. (AFP)

Because many of the injured are in serious condition, the number of deaths is expected to rise, residents said. Among the dead was an 8-year-old. 

Families have tried to search for the remains of their missing relatives but the numerous dismembered body parts and continuous junta shelling have made that difficult.

“Junta troops are still firing heavy artillery, preventing anyone from daring to collect the dead bodies in the area,” U Htay said. “They are continuously shooting with heavy weapons.”

Civilians regularly targeted

Myanmar’s central dry zone, made up of the Sagaing, Magway and Mandalay regions, has become a hotbed of opposition to military rule from the majority ethnic Burman community. 

The junta has responded with heavy firepower in its battles against militias known as People’s Defense Forces. At times, civilian populations have been targeted with artillery and bombs that have leveled villages.

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Charred houses sit in ash between the trees in Mwe Tone village of Pale township in the Sagaing region, Myanmar on Feb. 1, 2022. (AP)

Military-backed Telegram channels said the junta plane dropped the two bombs because a Mingin People’s Defense Force’s leader was one of the people getting married. RFA was unable to independently verify the claim.

Aung Myo Min, the human rights minister for the shadow National Unity Government, called the bombings a war crime.

“This is not a military campaign at all, but a deliberate bombing of a civilian wedding,” he said. “It is a military strategy and an intentional attack on the civilian population.”

Despite numerous attempts, RFA received no response from junta spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun regarding the bombing.

RFA also attempted to contact Nyunt Win Aung, the junta’s spokesman for Sagaing region, but he did not respond to several phone calls.

RFA News