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Junta bombing kills 5, including a child, in northern Myanmar

A heavy aerial attack in northeastern Myanmar killed five civilians, an official from an anti-junta women’s organization told Radio Free Asia on Friday. 

On Wednesday night, junta aircraft bombed a village in Namhkan township in northern Shan state. 

The victims included 46-year-old Tar Ah Swe; 56-year-old Yar Ah Ba; 50-year-old Yar Kham Li; and a 35-year-old male teacher, Yai Lay. A five-year-old girl, Lway O Dae, also died in the attacks, according to Lway, an official from the Ta’ang Women’s Organization. 

“The teacher, Yai Lay, is from Namhkan’s Man Pu village. He is sheltering in Ho Nar village because the [military] situation in Namhkan is bad. Tar Ah Swe and Yar Ah Ba are a couple from Pang Long village in Manton township,” she said.

“Yar Kham Li and Lway O are mother and daughter. They were all sheltering in a tea trading house to flee the fighting.”

Four others, including two six-year-old children, were injured and sent to Namhkan Hospital, she added.

Half an hour later, the junta bombed nearby Pang Law village. Seven houses were destroyed in the attack, residents said.

The junta’s air force dropped the bombs despite there being no fighting beforehand, a Ta’ang National Liberation Army information official said, confirming five civilians were killed. However, daily battles are erupting at Sa Kham Thit military camp outside of Namhkhan city, about 13 kilometers (eight miles) from the site of the bombing.

“The junta bombing was far from the village. There was no fighting in these villages,” he said. “The junta used a 500-pound [226 kilogram] bomb. We can tell because of its intensity.”

RFA reached out to Shan state’s junta spokesperson Khun Thein Maung to investigate the group’s claim that the junta dropped 500 pound bombs, but he did not return calls on Friday.

During a resistance military offensive called Operation 1027, in which three allied groups won several Shan state cities, the group’s forces also took control of Namhkam, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army said. The group is fighting with junta forces daily to gain control of Sa Kham Thit Hill, more than 1.6 kilometers (one mile) from Namhkan city.

Since Operation 1027 launched on Oct. 27, 103 civilians, including 20 children, have been killed according to data compiled by the Ta’ang Women’s Organization. Small weapon fire, heavy artillery and airstrikes, have injured nearly 170 people in northern Shan state. 

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.