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Thousands forced to flee Sagaing airstrikes that killed one and injured two

Around 4,000 locals were forced to flee junta airstrikes on around 15 villages in Myanmar’s northwestern Sagaing region on Thursday. The attacks are part of a three-day scorched-earth campaign that continued Friday. It involved around 100 troops, targeting residents of a township that has fiercely resisted military rule.

Four helicopters carried out raids on the villages in Depayin township, killing a man, identified as Khin Maung San, and injuring another man and a woman.

“Khin Maung San died on the spot and the injured woman was critically wounded in the bladder. She was treated by military council forces,” a local told RFA on condition of anonymity. “The residents fled and didn’t return until the military left. The conditions on the ground are very bad.”

The local said around 100 residents who could not flee were interrogated and had the contents of their mobile phones searched by the military to check whether they had contacted People’s Defense Forces (PDFs).

These are not the first air strikes on Depayin this month. Residents said two military helicopters fired on three villages on July 2.

Township residents have fiercely resisted the junta that have been ruling the country since the Feb.1, 2021 coup, offering support to local PDFs. The junta has tried to control opposition by cutting off mobile phone and internet access.

More than 100 residents of Sagaing region were killed by junta forces in the first 15 months after the coup. Casualties across Myanmar have risen above 2,000.

Calls to the military council spokesman by RFA to ask about the raids on Depayin went unanswered on Friday.