A Burma Army air attack on Meik Sawa village in southern Chin State’s Paletwa Township on Saturday afternoon has killed 11 civilians, according to residents of the community.
Meik Sawa is home to more than 70 families and is nine miles from Paletwa town. The air strike was carried out at 11:00 a.m.
“A jet fighter repeatedly flew over our village. The jet fighter unexpectedly attacked our village without any reason,” Meik Sawa resident Lai Pa told Khonumthung. “The jet fighter attacked our village with two missiles. Eleven villagers were killed and six people have been injured,” he said, adding that those who were injured were initially sent to a local hospital in Samee and then would be transferred to Matupi Township, reportedly with government support.
Among those killed was a seven-year-old child, locals said.
The Chin State government spokesperson did not verify the air attack.
“I cannot confirm the airstrike launched by the army. We are still waiting for a confirmation report,” government spokesperson and municipal minister Soe Htet told Khonumthung News. “If we get an official report, we will provide assistance to the injured people and the families of the people who died.”
He said that social volunteer teams would go to Samee to pick up the injured people and provide further assistance. However, the allocation of assistance must be approved by the central government first, he added.
“We will have to report it to the Union government through the township GAD [General Administration Department]. After that we are going to provide necessary assistance for the relocation of these people to a safe place,” Soe Htet explained.
Most of the residents of Meik Sawa are ethnic Chin villagers. According to residents of the community, there has been no movement of the Arakan Army around their village in recent days, leading to further questions as to why the air strike by government forces was carried out.
The Burma Army and the Arakan Army have been engaging in intensifying clashes in southern Chin State and northern Rakhine State in recent months, leading to restrictions on travel, internet bans, and a shortage of food supplies.