Air attacks damage homes and religious sites in Pyin Taw U

April 28th, 2023  •  Author:   Myanmar Witness  •  3 minute read
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The impact of a sustained air attack in Kale township, Sagaing region

Key Event Details

  • Location of Incident:

  • Pyin Taw U (ပျဉ်းတော်ဦး), Kale (ကလေး), Sagaing (စစ်ကိုင်း),

  • Date/Time of Incident: 

  • 30 March 2023 – 6 April 2023

  • Alleged Perpetrator(s) and/or Involvement:  

  • Myanmar military

  • Chin Defence Force – Kalay Kabaw Gangaw (CDF-KKG)

  • Chan Thar Gyi People’s Defence Forces (PDFs)

  • Summary of Investigation:

  • Myanmar Witness has identified several incidents of interest pertaining to alleged air strikes by the Myanmar military in Pyin Taw U village.

  • It is alleged that the Myanmar military clashed with CDF-KKG and Chan Thar Gyi PDF from 30 March 2023 until 6 April 2023.

  • Myanmar Witness geolocated damage to multiple structures, likely to be civilian homes, as well as two separate religious sites, alleged to have been caused by airstrikes between 31 March and 6 April 2023.

  • Myanmar Witness geolocated footage of an aircraft in the airspace of Pyin Taw U village, allegedly taken on 31 March 2023.

  • In this timespan, there were three alleged civilian casualties reported on social media; one of which was identified through an online missing persons report earlier in the day.

Summary

On 31 March 2023, Khonumthung Burmese reported that the Myanmar military were attacking from the air with a Mi-35 helicopter during the battle that took place near Pyin Taw U village in the north Kale township. A clash between the Myanmar military and PDFs ensued between the villages of Pyin Taw U and Nan Saung Pu (နန်းစောင်းပု). As a result of the clashes, residents of Pyin Taw U, Let Pan Chaung (လက်ပံချောင်း), Myauk Chaw Taw (မျောက်ချောတော) and Chan Thar Gyi (ချမ်းသာကြီး) villages were forced to flee to Kale town.

People’s Spring claims that an Mi-17 helicopter was in use by the Myanmar military, with another aircraft also airborne in the area. This may suggest multiple aircrafts were involved in the clashes in Pyin Taw U village. The exact model of the helicopter was verified by Myanmar Witness using the collected footage. Myanmar Witness geolocated images, using multiple pieces of user generated content (UGC), of an Mi-35 aircraft in Pyin Taw U village. The footage was posted on 31 March 2023, but cannot be chronolocated to the given date.

Damage to the structures of two separate religious sites in Pyin Taw U, Hosana Assembly of God Church and Shiloh Baptist Church, were verified by Myanmar Witness and alleged to have occurred during air attacks between 30 March and 6 April 2023. Damage to Hosana Assembly of God Church was not visible on satellite imagery, but a slight change in the area where Shiloh Baptist Church is located is visible on Sentinel. UGC identified by Myanmar Witness  also showed  destroyed and damaged houses, which were then geolocated to Pyin Taw U village. These structures are alleged to have been destroyed between 5 and 6 April 2023. Visible changes  in the geolocated areas were also visible on Sentinel imagery.

The footage of the damaged Shiloh Baptist Church included a visual of munitions. These munitions were verified by Myanmar Witness as being an S-8 missile, which is specifically used by Myanmar military aircrafts and in use by Mi-35 aircrafts.

Warning: This report contains graphic imagery.


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