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Devastation by Air: Burma Army Attacks Continue in Karenni State During July

August 22nd, 2023  •  Author:   Free Burma Rangers  •  10 minute read
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22 August 2023

Karenni State, Burma

The Burma Army’s campaign against its own people continued unabated in Karenni State during the month of July. As in other parts of Burma, the ongoing violence has spurred a fierce and courageous resistance from people under attack. Some resist simply by not giving up and continuing, against all odds, to pursue normal life, while others have taken up arms to resist.

The resistance, though they are significantly out-gunned, have been able to make headway at times. On 6 July, a coalition of resistance forces occupied a Burma Army base at Pan Tin Camp – but could not hold it due to the Burma Army’s air attack. In this specific clash, the Burma Army responded with five attack jets and at least 15 airstrikes conducted indiscriminately, which damaged civilian homes and a nearby church. Most of the local residents had fled into hiding and no injuries were reported, but many will now have no homes to return to.

The Burma Army’s air power has been the significant factor in its ability to maintain a hold on power, as the ethnic resistance cannot match it despite having a broad base of local support. During the month of July in Karenni State, the Burma Army dropped bombs on civilian areas once out of every three days on average. Movement between villages, or between hide sites and farms, is thus life-threatening to the people who live there. Additionally, civilians encountering Burma Army troops in person are often captured or killed, as happened to the father of one of the Karenni Rangers, who was killed by Burma Army troops as he attempted to return to his home and recover some belongings.

In all, the teams reported in July on three civilians killed by Burma Army attacks, and nine injured. These numbers do not include resistance casualties, though many who have joined the resistance were civilians before the coup. The Karenni FBR teams continue to respond to Burma Army attacks by providing medical care and other aid to those in hiding and those who are resisting. Following is a log of reported events and team activity from the Karenni Ranger teams during the month of July.

3 July 2023. The Karenni Ranger team conducted a medical clinic and small GLC program for IDPs displaced by fighting in Kyauk Su Village in Bawlake. The Ranger team reported that these IDPs need mosquito nets and tarps.

5 July 2023. The Burma Army dropped two bombs on Doh Raw Village; one bomb did not explode and the villagers asked for help to clear the remaining bomb.

6 July 2023. From 0500 to 0936, combined forces affiliated with the Karenni Army attacked and attempted to occupy the Burma Army base at Pan Tin Camp near Point Hill. The force was able to occupy the base briefly. The Burma Army retaliated with five attack jets and at least 15 airstrikes in the area, forcing the resistance to retreat. Airstrikes damaged civilian homes nearby, as well as a Baptist church. The Karenni Ranger team supported the Casualty Collection Points (CCPs), helping to treat those wounded in the offensive.

7 July 2023. At 0200, the Burma Army conducted an air strike into the Kine Dain IDP camp near Lo Pu Village, west of Demoso Township. The attack killed a father, U Ti Rel, 27 years old, and injured his wife, Baw Bal Raw Nikar, 34 years old, and his 3-year-old son.

Also on 7 July 2023, at 0430, the Burma Army bombed homes in Khee Lo Pa Yar Village, west of Hpruso, Karenni State, Burma. The attack destroyed homes, but no injuries were reported.

7 July 2023. The Karenni Ranger team attended the funeral for five resistance members who passed away during the battle that occurred in Pan Tin Village. The Ranger team met with the families of those killed. The families were provided with 500,000 Kyats.

8 July 2023. The Karenni Ranger team visited Number 2, 3, 4, and 5 IDP camps. They distributed mosquito nets, tarps, and mosquito repellent and provided a medical check-up. On 7 July 2023, more than 170 displaced people from Kyauk Su and Nan Pa Lain villages came to BP-1 Camps 1 and 2. The Ranger team transported a pregnant woman, suspected of having malaria, to a jungle medical camp.

9 July 2023. At 1305, the Burma Army bombed Kyout Pain Nyo Village (east of Hpa Saung). No one was injured, but a villager’s home was damaged.

10 July 2023. At 0430, the Burma Army bombed Khee Lo Pa Yar Village with an attack jet. A civilian house was burned and completely destroyed in the attack. The house’s owner was U Hti Hpa, and a total of nine people lived in the house. The Karenni Ranger team provided umbrellas and blankets to them. The family will flee to the forest with other IDPs in the area.

11 July 2023. The Karenni Ranger team provided medical treatment and relocated three households from Nan Pan Lain Village to Nan Man Village IDP camp. They provided them with hygiene kits.

Elsewhere on the same day, the Burma Army conducted an airstrike on the village of War Taw Ku. The attack damaged six civilian homes.

12 July 2023. The Burma Army airplane dropped four bombs on the Daw Noe Ku IDP camp. The plane was heard directly over the refugee camp in Thailand as well. The bombings happened at 12:58 am the first time, 1:20 am the second time, 1:33am third time, and last at 1:40am, four times.

Also on 12 July 2023, at Kyauk Su (Mese Township, Bawlake District), the Burma Army bombed the village three times.The attack killed a 12-year-old girl and injured two more civilians. The Karenni Ranger team met with the victims and their families to provide hope and encouragement. The team then helped to move the IDPs displaced by the incident.

13 July 2023. The Karenni Ranger team visited IDPs near Le Taw Village, Mese Township, Karenni State, Burma, who had fled from their previous hiding site near their village of Kyauk Su due to airstrikes. The individuals were originally from Kyauk Su Village and Na Pa Lain Village (displaced: 13 June 2023). The IDP site contains 66 households and a total of 358 people. The Ranger teams distributed hygiene kits and provided medical aid to those in need.

 15 July 2023. The Karenni Ranger team visited an IDP camp with individuals displaced from Thar Yar Village (60 households, 359 people) and Pan Tin Village (207 households, 712 people). The Rangers spoke about ways to improve hygiene, provided a medical clinic, used tarps to build shelters, and performed a GLC program.

16 July 2023. The Ranger team spoke with and treated an 18-year-old boy wounded during an encounter with the Burma Army. On 20 June 2023, Mg Francis, 18 years old, and his friends were traveling on a motorbike near the village of Ywa Thit. They encountered a Burma Army column that opened fire on them. He was wounded in his hand and leg and lost his motorbike. The Ranger team provided medical care for his wound and provided medicine.

Also on the 16th, another Karenni Ranger team visited an IDP camp near the Salween River. The IDP camp faces a water sanitation problem, which is causing health problems. The team moved the IDPs from their location to Pon Stream. They provided a medical clinic to the IDPs.

18 July 2023. The Ranger team arrived at an IDP camp in Mese Township, Karenni State, Burma. They met with Daw Khu Tay Phaw, 35 yrs old, from Lo Pha Khoe Village. On 11 July 2023, the house where she was staying was near a church bombed by the Burma Army. She was hit with shrapnel in her right hand. Her index finger was wounded and the Rangers took her to receive treatment. The Rangers also provided medical supplies to Lel Taw camp, and 400,000 kyats for vehicle gas to transport IDPs.

Also on 18 July, at 0400, the Burma Army bombed War Thaw Kho Village twice. The attack damaged five civilian homes and displaced four families. No injuries were reported and the Ranger team helped evacuate the four families.

19 July 2023. The Karenni Ranger team went to BP 13 IDP camp and distributed tarps and mosquito nets as well as providing prenatal nutritional supplements for 18 pregnant women there. There were 1,576 total IDPs near BP-13 at the time of the Rangers’ visit. They face malaria and fever. Also, the team met two HIV patients who need medicine; the team promised to try and procure the medicine for them.

Also on the 19th, the team visited the hiding location of IDPs from several villages who were displaced when the Burma Army moved into nearby Yado Village on 10 July. Around 0400 on 18 July, the Burma Army dropped two 500-lb bombs in the area, displacing more villagers. Many of these fled to a cave in GaMone mountain, and huts over the mountain. The Karenni Ranger teams partnered with Rangers from neighboring Karen State, met families at the mountain huts and helped move 16 households (94 people) to Ha Oh Village. The IDPs included one seven-day-old infant who was born in the mountain hut. There were still many civilians still left over the mountains to move.

20 July 2023. The Karenni Ranger teams distributed relief supplies and helped evacuate more villagers from the Burma Army activity in the area of Yado Village.

21 July 2023. The Karenni team went to the Yado Church to move elderly people who had not yet been able to flee and were staying in the church. They moved one older man and eight older women out of the church and brought them to the nearby Karen commander. There also were 300 rice bags in the warehouse of the church. The team was able to take 100 rice bags out of the church and gave 85 bags to the committee of Ha Oh IDP camp.

Also on 21 July, Karenni Ranger Saw Mg found out the Burma Army had killed his father. His father was returning home in MoBye when he encountered a Burma Army column and they killed him. Saw Mg tried to retrieve his father’s body but the Burma Army reported that the body could not be returned because they had already conducted a funeral.

22 July 2023. The Karenni Ranger team reported that the Burma Army Divisions 44, 55, and 66 burned civilian houses in Kyauk Pan Nyo and Shan Wan Ouk villages.

Also on 22 July,the Burma Army used two jet fighters to strike Yado Village more than eight times. The Burma Army conducted airstrikes at 1020, 1236 and 1300. The attacks injured an FBR Ranger, Sai Thway, who was wounded in the back by 0.88mm shrapnel. He was referred to the HoYa hospital. It also damaged multiple civilian homes.

23 July 2023. In a continuation of the attacks from the previous day, at 0930, there was a clash between the Burma Army and the resistance in the vicinity of Yado Village. The Karenni Ranger team moved 124 bags of rice from Yado church to another place. At 1040 the Burma Army flew a drone to scout the position of resistance fighters. At 1530, the Burma Army attacked five times using a fighter jet. The Karenni Ranger team established a CCP to support those injured in the attack. The Burma Army used an attack helicopter to attack throughout the day, causing several houses in the area to burn down.

26 July 2023. The Karenni Ranger team conducted a GLC program and medical clinic for IDPs displaced from Yado and Wah Taw Khu villages by the ongoing fighting. The IDPs need food, mosquito nets, and tarps.

28 July 2023. In the midst of the ongoing attacks, the Burma Army captured and detained two villagers from Yado Village. The Burma Army tortured these individuals with knives and burned them with cigarettes

29 July 2023. The Burma Army conducted four airstrikes on the Kine Dine IDP Camp. The attack damaged several homes and a school. The Karenni Ranger team provided tarps to the IDPs to help with constructing a temporary school.

31 July 2023. The Karenni Ranger team conducted a GLC program and provided a medical clinic to IDPs displaced from Ywar Thit Village, Bawlake Township. They are in need of food, medical supplies, clothing, and supplies to build shelters. They will also need school supplies to provide for a temporary school.

Thank you and God bless you,

Free Burma Rangers

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