Myanmar military launches airstrikes in Karen state, group says

(Reuters) – Myanmar army fighter jets launched airstrikes on Saturday against a village near the Thai border in territory controlled by an armed ethnic group, the group said, as fears of a civil war grew. after the military coup last month.

The Karen National Union (KNU), the armed ethnic group that controls the southeast region, said fighter jets attacked Day Pu No in Papun district, an area controlled by its 5th Brigade forces, around 8pm, which forced the villagers to flee.

“They bombed the area … Villagers in that area said two dead and two wounded,” said a spokesman for the civil society group Karen Peace Support Network, adding that communication was difficult in the remote region and there could be more casualties. .

A spokesperson for the board did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.

The reported airstrike is the most significant attack in years in the region. The KNU had signed a ceasefire agreement in 2015, but tensions escalated after the army overthrew the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1.

Earlier on Saturday, the KNU said Brigade 5 forces invaded an army base and killed 10 soldiers, including a lieutenant colonel, as the junta celebrated its annual Armed Forces Day with a parade in the capital, Naypyitaw. .

The KNU says it has been hosting hundreds of people who have fled central Myanmar amid escalating violence in recent weeks. Junta troops killed dozens of people on Saturday, including children, in one of the bloodiest days of protests since the coup, press reports and witnesses said.

Reporting by Poppy McPherson; Additional reporting by Panu Wongcha-um; Editing by Alex Richardson and Frances Kerry


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