Deadly Drone Attack Claims Lives of Junta Officials in Myawaddy

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – September 04 Scenes

Published by MoeMaKa on September 05, 2023

Deadly Drone Attack Claims Lives of Junta Officials in Myawaddy

In a shocking turn of events, Myawaddy, a town in Karen State, bore witness to a deadly drone attack that claimed the lives of five junta staff, including a district commander of general administration and a lieutenant colonel-level battalion commander. The attack also left 11 individuals injured. The assailants are believed to be the joint forces of the Karen National Union (KNU).

The drone attack unfolded during a meeting at the Myawaddy District police chief’s office, attended by the battalion commander stationed in Myawaddy. As officials rushed to inspect the initial attack, a second bomb strike occurred, resulting in multiple casualties. This incident occurred within the town, rather than on a conventional battlefield, and it has had a significant impact on the military council, causing substantial losses.

Myawaddy is situated in proximity to Lat Khat Taung camp hill, an area currently embroiled in conflict, as well as locations like Lay Kay Kaw, where clashes frequently erupt. Despite this, the town is under the military council’s control and is generally considered safe by their standards.

However, this incident underscores the vulnerability of the town to drone attacks, revealing that the military council cannot ensure its protection from such aerial assaults. While it remains unconfirmed which KNU battalion was responsible for the attack, news reports suggest it was carried out by the KNU and joint forces. Responding to inquiries from the Karen Information Center (KIC), a KNU official stated that the information is still being verified. Following this incident, reports emerged of the military council firing heavy artillery around Lat Khat Taung.

This attack exemplifies the approach of ethnic armed groups and joint forces opposing the military council, targeting not only the council’s administration but also police stations, as opposed to attempting to capture territories and towns. It is evident that their strategy revolves around posing a threat to those involved in the council’s administration.

Simultaneously, while drone attacks ravage Myawaddy in Karen State, reports indicate that approximately 20,000 villagers from 15 villages in Wetlet and Shwebo townships, located in Sagaing Division in central Myanmar, have fled their homes due to the incursion of military council troops. The troops are systematically raiding villages in Wetlet Township, east of the Sagaing-Mandalay-Myitkyina highway, and Shwebo Township along the same highway. Martial law was declared in 11 Sagaing Division townships on February 1, coinciding with an extension of the military council’s term. Three weeks later, on February 22, martial law was expanded to include Shwebo, Ayadaw, and Wetlet townships.

Gaining control of these Sagaing Division areas and effectively administering them presents a formidable challenge for the military council. Within these regions, local or regional People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) have emerged and actively operate. While some villages aligned with the USDP party have formed militias and accepted military council administration, the majority of villages remain under the control of armed resistance forces, particularly the People’s Defense Organizations, known as PaKaFa, operating under the National Unity Government (NUG). However, enforcing systematic tax collection, law enforcement, and access to education and healthcare services remains a complex endeavor.

Recognizing the challenges in subduing the armed revolutionary forces in Sagaing, a region characterized by its vast expanse and substantial population, it appears the military council is pursuing a strategy aimed at obstructing the flow of financial resources and food to these groups. The council seemingly intends to gauge whether the revolutionary forces will weaken in the face of dwindling resources over time.

In a separate development, the foreign ministers of ASEAN nations, who will soon assume the role of chairman, are currently convening in Jakarta, Indonesia. Indonesia, the current rotating chairman, is set to conclude its tenure in December, with Laos slated to assume the chairmanship. Concerns linger regarding Laos’ ability, given its smaller size and limited democratic principles, to effectively mediate and resolve political crises and armed conflicts during its one-year tenure as chair. Indonesia, as a prominent member of ASEAN, has played a significant role in these matters.