Junta helicopter attacks school in Myanmar’s Sagaing region

Myanmar’s military sent a helicopter gunship to attack a school in Sagaing region, injuring four people, locals told RFA Tuesday.
They said Monday’s attack on the school in Kale township’s Shu Khin Thar village was followed by the artillery bombardment of another village in the township, leaving a further three people injured, one critically.
Shu Khin Thar residents, who didn’t want to be named, said the helicopter opened fire for around five minutes on Monday morning.
Last Thursday was the start of a new academic year in Myanmar and a spokesperson for an ethnic Chin revolutionary group told RFA the junta is targeting schools in Kale township which are controlled by anti-regime forces.
“We consider this an attempt to threaten and halt the plans of the people to open a school in their village that is beyond [the junta’s] control,” the official from the Chin National Organization, Upper Chindwin Region told RFA on condition of anonymity.
Thirty minutes after the school attack, junta troops shelled Let Pan Chaung village injuring three locals. Residents said one person had their leg ripped off by a shell.
RFA has so far been unable to get the names and ages of the injured.
One Kale township resident, who declined to be named for safety reasons, said the tactics in both villages show junta forces are struggling to enforce military rule in Sagaing region.
“It highlights that they are already short on manpower and admit that they are completely out of control on the ground,” the person said.  
“That’s why they are only using airstrikes.”
The co-leader of Kale township’s Internally Displaced Persons Assistance Group warned that the junta is likely to continue its campaign of air attacks in the area.
“People should dig bomb shelters and listen to the news because such situations happen sooner or later. They have no direction,” said Japan Gyi.
“Junta troops often fire heavy artillery and use airstrikes … to instill fear in the people.”
Kale was the first township to take up arms against the junta following the Feb. 1, 2021 coup. There are now more than 10 local defense groups, made up mostly of young people.
RFA called Sagaing region junta spokesperson Aye Hlaing Tuesday seeking comment on the school attack and village bombardment, but nobody answered.
There have been more than 1,400 airstrikes since the coup, resulting in 534 deaths, according to independent research group Nyan Lin Thit Analytica.
Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.


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