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Myanmar’s Civilian Government Says Junta Airstrikes Increasingly Targeting Civilians


A Russian-made Mi-35 helicopter in 2018 in Ayeyarwady Region. / Pool

Myanmar’s civilian National Unity Government (NUG) said at least 155 civilians were killed and around 190 injured in junta airstrikes during 11 months.

The NUG’s defense ministry reported on Tuesday that between October last year and September the regime carried out 268 airstrikes in Sagaing, Magwe, Mandalay, Bago and Tanintharyi regions and Karen, Kayah, Kachin, Rakhine, Shan, Chin and Mon states.

Sagaing Region was the worst hit, suffering nearly half of the airstrikes with 114.

The shadow ministry said only 17 of the Sagaing airstrikes targeted the resistance with 97 bombings of civilian targets. At least 12 people were killed, including seven children, in an airstrike on a school in Let Yet Kone village in Depayin Township, Sagaing Region.

It said the junta targeted civilians in 191 of the 268 airstrikes across Myanmar.

More than 1 million people have fled their homes amid junta airstrikes and arson campaign.

The United Nations, NUG and rights groups have condemned the deliberate aerial bombing of civilians as war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The junta has sharply escalated its airstrikes since last month.

The junta has changed its strategy and reduced its reliance on infantry troops, said Captain Zay Thu Aung, an air force pilot who defected soon after the February 2021 coup.

He said the junta is not considering war crimes but only thinking about battlefield advantages, urging resistance forces to take safety measures in advance.

The NUG said on Wednesday that its Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management is spreading messages about preventive methods and carrying out plans to reduce the threat.