Myanmar Deploys Russian Jet Fighters to Bomb Ethnic Rebels
MiG-29 fighters roar across Burmese skies as the military junta targets ethnic rebels who are fighting for independence.
The Kaichin Independence Army is the armed group fighting for the Kaichin people, an ethnic group composed of six tribes whose ancestral domain encompasses territories on the shared borders of Myanmar, China, and India.
‘Civilians Fear the Airstrikes’
The Kaichin Independence Army is just one of at least 20 ethnic armed groups in Myanmar. The Karen National Liberation Army is the oldest among the armed groups. One of the leaders of its political wing, the National Liberation Union, spoke to Nikkei Asia. “The civilians feel terrorized by the airstrikes,” said the unnamed source.
In a separate statement, Karen Peace Support Network revealed the junta "dropped nine bombs and fired automatic guns from the aircraft."
Fleeing Karen Villagers Arrive at the Thailand-Myanmar Border in March
The junta’s heavy-handed approach that threatens to decimate the ethnic group is largely seen as a warning to the rest of Myanmar.
The brutal campaign seeks to break civil unrest and protests, which had been rampant across major cities after the military forcefully took over the government on February 1. Myanmar’s military toppled Aung San Suu Kyi after she won a landslide election victory under the party National League for Democracy.
Altogether, Myanmar’s ethnic rebels have a combined force of 100,000. But these are poorly armed groups, facing Southeast Asia’s second-largest army. Myanmar’s armed forces have 350,000 active troops, and boasts military equipment supplied by China and Russia.
But caught in between ethnic groups struggling for independence and the military bent on bombing them out are civilians, who have nowhere to go but to the jungles. If not the jungles, they escape to neighboring countries.
Cities Are Emptying
According to the Washington Post, cities are emptying as civilians flee for the countryside or outside the country as violence erupted. Protesters are killed, and hundreds more are missing.
As of April 11, more than 700 civilians have been killed by the junta. A tally sheet describes every victim’s name, parents, age, sex, hometown, place of death, and cause of death.
“Shot in the neck with gunfire.”
“Shot in the head with gunfire.”
“Shot while rescuing.”
“Dead body taken by military.”
These are just some of the remarks on the incredibly detailed tally sheet, describing the circumstances surrounding the deaths of each civilian.
Analysts fear the military junta will not abate. But the same could be said for Burmese outrage for the military, and it seems it will never go away no matter how many bombs are dropped.