Burma Army Air Strikes on Paletwa Displace Nearly 1,500 People, Kill More Than 20

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At least 21 civilians have been killed and 28 injured after two days of air attacks by the Burma Army on villages in Chin State’s Paletwa Township.

The Tatmadaw launched an air strike on the villages of Meik Sawa 2 and Meik Sawa 3, located between the towns of Paletwa and Samee, on March 14. In these attacks, at least 12 villagers were killed and 15 more wounded.

The attacks continued on March 15 on the villages of Wetma and Pyine Tain, also in Paletwa Township. At least 8 villagers were killed and 12 injured in Wetma, and one more killed and one more injured in Pyine Tain, according to a Paletwa Township parliamentarian.

“A fifth grade student was killed and her aunt has been injured in Pyine Tain,” MP Salai Myo Hteik told Khonumthung News.

The Burma Army have been using fighter jets and combat helicopters to attack who they believe to be troops from the Arakan Army, an organization with which it has been engaged in intensifying clashes in the region in recent months.

Khonumthung News called Brig-Gen Zaw Min Tun, a member of the Tatmadaw’s True News Information Team, for comment on the offensive, but he had not responded at the time of reporting.

Those who were wounded in the air strikes were transferred to Matupi and Mindat public hospitals in Chin State. Those most seriously injured were sent to Mandalay.

“War does not produce anything good. It’s better not to give trouble to innocent civilians. It’s unfair for the people, who become like the grass between two bulls who are fighting,” Salai Myo Hteik told Khonumthung News.

According to the Paletwa MP, 1,449 people from 305 families from the eight villages of Meik Sawa 1, Meik Sawa 2, Meik Sawa 3, Wetma, Pyine Tain, Nga Myinn Tawng, Hser and Kuwa villages fled the clashes and have sought refuge in Samee town in Paletwa Township.

The internally displaced persons are staying in schools, religious buildings and government buildings in downtown Samee. Villagers continue to flee, and more are expected to arrive, local sources said.

The Chin National League for Democracy party (CNLD) released a statement on March 15 and condemned the Burma Army’s attacks on Chin villages and demanded that the military carry out an investigation, pay compensation for all damage and losses, and issue an official apology to victims’ families.

Photo Credit: Khumi Media Group

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