Airstrike Targets Civilians In Mese

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By Kantarawaddy Times

The regime flew an airstrike targeting volunteers helping civilians while they were fleeing the fighting in Mese Township in southern Karenni State.

A member of the Karenni Free Burma Rangers (FBR) told Kantarawaddy Times that they dropped a bomb only 1,000 meters away from where they were rescuing 100 villagers from Kyauk Su village tract. The Karenni resistance was battling the Military Council in the area located near the Thai border.

“Some villagers rushed out from the vehicle in shock attempting to hide in the nearby jungle,” said FBR volunteer Ko Aung Zayya. They sent everyone away from their area as soon as possible, but they plan to move them again after finding a safer area.

U Banyar, founder of the Karenni Human Rights Group, told Kantarawaddy Times the regime often monitors the area with drones and aircraft and sometimes launches attacks. “I don’t know whether they intentionally attack civilians or resistance fighters, but sometimes they attack civilian villages with mortars.”

Between January and April, there have been 179 airstrikes, and there have been civilian casualties and injuries after jet fighters bombed villages and displaced camps.

Fighting has been intense in Hpasawng, Mese, and Ywar Thit townships from June to July after several units of the Karenni National People’s Liberation Front, formerly a Border Guard Force, defected and took up the fight against the military regime. Thousands were forced to seek refuge from the violence, with many people crossing the border to Thailand, while others hid in the jungle or moved in with their relatives.

When the fighting starts, villagers don’t know where to go, and it makes it difficult to rescue them, as volunteers said. Transportation during the wet season when the roads are bad also hampers rescue efforts.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, post-coup fighting has affected almost 2 million people in Burma. Among them, 270,000 people in Karenni and southern Shan states have been displaced by attacks and fighting with the Military Council.

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