For the best experience, open
on your mobile browser or Download our App.

Myanmar Junta's Airstrikes Have Taken 320 Civilian Lives in 9 Months: Report

While the pro-democracy rebel militias have succeeded in inflicting massive setbacks to the junta on the ground lately, these air strikes continue to be hurdles.
Representative image of an anti-junta protest. Photo: Alisdare Hickson/alisdare1/Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED

New Delhi: As many as 320 civilians and 108 volunteers of the public defence force resisting the Myanmar coup have lost their lives in air strikes carried out by the junta between October 2022 and June 2023, said the report of a study.

The report, put together by Burma Affairs and Conflict Study based on publicly accessible information including news reports, said that in the nine month period, as many as 395 air strikes were conducted by the Military Council.

“These airstrikes can be categorised into three types: exclusive jet fighter strikes, exclusive helicopter  attacks,  or a combination of both. Among these, exclusive jet fighter strikes were the most prevalent.  During the 9-months of monitoring,  a minimum of 108 revolutionary volunteers and  at least 320 civilians lost their lives due to these airstrikes,” said the report put out by the non-governmental watch group on its Facebook page this November 21. 

The report pointed out that the highest number of such air strikes took place in the Sagaing region, “with the second highest in Karen state and the third highest in the Chin state.”

“The helicopter attacks were mainly used in Sagaing, Magway, Karen State, Shah State and Rakhine State,” it added.

Most of these regions are located close to the Indian border. This January, residents of Mizoram’s Champai district claimed that five aerial bombs dropped on a rebel camp in the Chin State by the Myanmarese army had landed on the Indian side. Assam Rifles, who were guarding that border, later denied it.

Such attacks on the border villages are, however, considered as the cause behind a refugee influx into Mizoram. Early this week, about 5,000 such refugees entered Mizoram’s Champai district due to the air strikes on the Chin State.  

The study report said, “The Military Council, in order to justify their airstrikes, claims that they attack only military targets and deny civilian targets, but data shows that one third of all air strikes  do hit civilian targets.”

It said, “Among the airstrikes, strikes during combat was the most with 247 times, followed by 64 attacks on villages in the absence of combat. The airstrikes on the positions of the revolutionary forces were the third highest with 43 times, which is a point to be aware of. In addition, it was also seen that air strikes were carried out on civilian targets such as internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps, churches, clinics, workplaces, schools, monasteries and celebratory gatherings.” 

The report names eight military airfields from where these strikes have been carried out.

While the pro-democracy rebel militias have succeeded in inflicting massive setbacks to the junta on the ground lately, these air strikes by the military have come to them as significant hurdles.    

Make a contribution to Independent Journalism
facebook twitter