9 civilians killed due to air strikes in Falam Township, Chin State; Punishment as a whole by the military council

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – April 10 Scenes

MoeMaKa, April 11 2023

9 civilians killed due to air strikes in Falam Township, Chin State; Punishment as a whole by the military council

On April 10, the military council planes attacked Webula Village in Falam Township of Chin State with 2 bombs, killing 9 civilians, according to media reports.

In the early morning of April 10, the Chinland defense forces attacked the police station near the Var Bridge on the banks of the Manipur River, and the Air Force of the military council counter-attacked with bombs, including civilian targets, resulting in the deaths of 9 villagers. There are news reports that the school principle and his wife were also included among them.

Var Bridge is a bridge built across the Manipur River that flows through Falam Township and is located on the highway connecting Kalay and Falam.

It can be concluded that in response to the attack by the Chinland defense forces on the police station near the bridge, not only the police station where the battle took place but also the nearby village of Webula was attacked by air, a method used by the military council to punish in general. The junta troops set nearby villages on fire, opened fire into the village with heavy weapons, imprisoned, tortured, and executed inhabitants if the locally organized anti-military defense forces planted mines to strike junta convoys or targets like police stations and military columns. Such atrocities have been practiced by the military council for years.

In Sagaing, Upper Magway, and the Karenni regions, the military council is using these frank punitive actions as a strategy, and it should be said that the air strikes on Webula Village are one of the similar incidents.

The military council considers armed attacks against its troops and police stations by regional PDFs as guerrilla warfare and typically believes that the villagers in that region are the ones that provide the guerrilla forces with information, food, and manpower. So, when there is a conflict, when they are assaulted or detonated, they destroy the nearby villages, capture any residents they see nearby, torture them, and then kill them. Although not written down, it is becoming a well-known procedure by the junta troops.

Tens of thousands of houses have been burned in Sagaing, as well as hundreds of houses in villages in northern Magway.

The next step after this general and punitive action is the scorched-earth system. Currently, that system is not seen much, but in 2017, in the case of the Rohingya in northern Rakhine State, not only killing the villagers and burning down their houses but also eliminating the villages were done.

As the military council is punishing the villages, the people’s defense forces will have to choose whether not to conduct armed battles near villages and attack only in uninhabited areas or whether to continue to carry out surprise attacks and detonate the military council’s convoys when there is an opportunity to attack in areas connected to villages.

There may be a possibility that the people in the village may ask the people’s defense forces not to engage in skirmishes or ambushes, or that support for the defense forces may decrease. However, the statement of the local PDFs, who are close to the rural residents, is that the military council armed forces that have entered the villages have destroyed all the villages they pass through and are conducting violence. So, local PDFs have to fight back together to protect the locals and help them get to safety.

As for the military council, it is in a situation where it is only trying to gain a military advantage without taking into account the lack of support from the local villagers. As the people’s defense forces, they have to pay attention to the support of the locals, and because they are a group made up of local people, they share their feelings.

This is becoming a method that must be carefully considered and chosen by the people’s defense forces, which are formed based on the people, and a challenge to manage to minimize civilian casualties while trying to defeat the military council militarily.