Yesterday morning, regime jet fighters strafed villages along the Irrawaddy River between Shwegu and Bhamo townships in Kachin State at a time when no fighting was reported.
“We still do not know the casualties and damages because we are on the run,” a villager explained, asking not to be named. Most of the villagers fled nearly a week ago, he said, but they suspect some of their animals might have been killed and their homes damaged when the jet fighters bombed their villages.
Three jet fighters dropped nine bombs at 4:30 am 18 August, the man said, and dropped more later during the 20 minute bombardment but he couldn’t count them.
During the first attack, explosions happened outside Kaung Ton and near the graveyard on the edge of Myale. With the second attack, bombs landed on the football grounds in Myale. Nget Pyaw Taw and several other villages were also targeted.
“I think they wanted to clear the road before military vessels arrived in the river. A flotilla is preparing to leave from Sin Kham river port this morning, and Myale and Kaung Ton are only 7-8 miles away,” a person close to the Shwegu People’s Defence Force (PDF) told KNG on condition of anonymity.
An officer with the Bhamo PDF confirmed this information. “Our troops have retreated from the area and have suffered no casualties from their airstrikes.” He said the junta’s artillery battalion in Bhamo also shelled Myale and Kaung Ton with artillery until 8:30 am on Friday.
The regime called in the air force after the flotilla sustained numerous causalities by resistance forces since it left Shwegu river port on 16 August.
Myohla PDF shelled the flotilla of nine vessels with 107 mm missiles at the second narrowest point of the river on the evening after it departed Shwegu. Some Burma army soldiers were reportedly killed, and the flotilla was subsequently moored at Sin Kham.
On Thursday, the Kachin Independence Army and PDF clashed with a Burma army column in Zin Bon providing security for the river boats while they were at Sin Kham. At least nine Burma army soldiers were reportedly killed during the clash.
On Friday morning the water vessels continued their journey to Bhamo.