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Pro-junta ‘drone test’ injures 13 children in Myanmar

A drone test by pro-junta militia injured 13 children in Myanmar, residents told Radio Free Asia. 

Regime soldiers working in collaboration with the Pyu Saw Htee militia are responsible for a weapons accident that occurred on Saturday, locals said. The militia is made up of pro-junta supporters, veterans and Buddhist nationalists. 

The drone, carrying several bombs, flew over Sagaing region’s Kale township, close to the Chin state border. Soldiers are permanently stationed in Kale township’s Aung Myin Thar village, leading them to believe the attack was an accident, they added.

A resident who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons told RFA on Tuesday that a drone mounted with explosives flew over a nearby monastery compound when it suddenly crashed and exploded. Thirteen children playing in the monastery’s soccer field were injured when the bombs detonated. 

“The military junta gave weapons to the Pyu Saw Htee members and they were testing them to carry out bombardments with drones that evening. The bombs fell on the soccer field where the children were playing,” he said. “Six of the children were critically injured. Some of them were hit in their faces and eyes. Some had to have their limbs amputated.”

The children who are critically injured are being treated at Kale city’s military hospital, while the remaining seven are being treated at Kale General Hospital in the township’s capital, he added. All victims are between the ages of eight and 15 years old, but identifying information is not known at this time. 

The junta’s Ministry of Information released a statement on Tuesday saying that the accident was fake news, reporting that the blasts in Aung Myin Thar village were due to landmines planted by terrorists. 

RFA contacted Sagaing region’s junta spokesperson Sai Naing Naing Kyaw for more details, but did not receive an answer.

According to data compiled by RFA, 1,429 civilians have been killed and 2,641 were injured by junta airstrikes and heavy artillery from the Feb. 1, 2021 coup until Jan. 31, 2024.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.