A junta helicopter has been shot down in Waingmaw township of Myanmar’s northern Kachin State by an anti-junta Kachin Independence Army, or KIA, on Wednesday afternoon, according to a KIA spokesperson.
The helicopter was leaving the township after delivering supplies to the Nar Hpawt junta military camp in the area before it was shot down, and the KIA is currently investigating further details, Col. Naw Bu, KIA’s information officer, told Radio Free Asia on Wednesday.
“I can confirm that the helicopter has crashed, and it was our front line that fired upon it. But it is not fully known whether it crashed due to a technical defect or our attack,” said Naw Bu.
“Now the reports from the ground said that the junta council’s jets are hovering around the site where the helicopter crashed. And the locals said that air strikes are being conducted near the location.”
The specifics regarding the type of helicopter that crashed, the number of people on board, and any casualties are still unknown, Naw Bu added.
Local residents in nearby village Nam Sang Yang told RFA that they witnessed a military helicopter descending slowly in an upside-down position, while emitting smoke.
One resident said that he observed a military helicopter plummeting in a burst of smoke near Nam Sang Yang village, shortly before noon on Wednesday.
“It [the helicopter] was shot at around 11.50 a.m. Two helicopters came to drop supplies and one was hit when it took off after completing the delivery. It crashed near a hill not far from Nam Sang Yang village,” said the resident.
Junta’s Nar Hpawt camp is located in the area under the control of the KIA Brigade(5), which is defending KIA’s headquarters in nearby Laizar city.
RFA was unable to reach junta spokesman Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun for comments about the helicopter.
According to weapons experts, the Myanmar Air Force is utilizing Russian-made military helicopters for both transport and combat purposes.
Activists group Justice For Myanmar revealed that Sky Aviator Company Limited, known for its ties to the military leadership, acquired these helicopters from Russia in 2019.
Edited by Taejun Kang and Elaine Chan.