More than a thousand people fled aerial attacks on Thursday when junta gunships attacked in Putao Township after the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the People’s Defence Force (PDF) captured an army camp near the village a day earlier.
Everyone from Sumpyi Yang had to flee into the jungle when the three gunships attacked around 4:30pm, and they’re sharing what food they could take, a man who requested anonymity told KNG, adding that luckily the weather was good.
Two boys aged 7 and 16 and a 50-year-old woman suffered serious injuries and were sent to hospital in the Kachin State capital, Myitkyina, on the night of the attack, while three others suffered minor injuries from the bombing. Six houses were destroyed in the airstrikes.
The man said the regime sent in air support against soldiers from KIA Battalion 7 and PDF fighters who’ve been living in the camp since it was captured.
”We want to return to our homes, but the situation is still too risky,” said another man, who preferred not to disclose his name. He said that after fleeing the airstrikes they don’t know what to do and expects to be in hiding for at least a few days, even though they’ve left all their livestock in the village and there’s no one to take care of them. The villagers are staying in the jungle in small groups.
Since 1 February, Kachin armed groups have raided several army camps in Mohnyin, Hpakant, Putao and Sumprabum townships. On Thursday, KIA Battalion 35 and PDF fighters attacked a joint police and army camp in Mawhan in Mohnyin Township, captured weapons and other equipment, burnt it down and retreated an hour later.
According to Col Naw Bu, spokesperson for the political wing of the KIA, the Kachin Independence Organisation, the attacks on the camps were timed to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the coup on Tuesday.