Myanmar Military Uses Airstrikes on Karen State
Photo by kan Sangtong via Shutterstock
The Myanmar military launched a series of airstrikes in Karen State in Eastern Myanmar.
Tatmadaw aircraft dropped bombs in an area on the Salween River in Karen State’s Mutraw district on March 28.
The previous day, Deh Bu Noh village in Mutraw district, which houses the district administrative office of the KNU, was also bombed by the Burmese military.
Karen people are an ethnic minority in Myanmar. The Karen National Union (KNU) representing the Karen people have been fighting for their own autonomy from the central Myanmar government for decades.
Recently, the KNU armed forces have been protecting protesters who are performing anti-coup demonstrations.
The recent airstrikes in Karen State are yet another instance of the Myanmar military using violent tactics to maintain dominance and quell dissent.
As a result of the airstrikes, thousands of ethnic Karen people fled into neighbording Thailand.
According to Associated Press, there have been reports that Thai soldiers have begun forcing those who fled back into Myanmar.
“They told them it was safe to go back even though it is not safe. They were afraid to go back but they had no choice,” said a spokesperson for the Karen Peace Support Network, a group of Karen civil society organizations in Myanmar.
Tanee Sangrat, a spokesperson for Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, denied the notion that ethnic Karen people were being forced back into Myanmar.
“Those reports cite information solely from non-official sources without confirming the facts from official sources on the ground. … In fact, the Thai authorities will continue to look after those on the Thai side while assessing the evolving situation and the needs on the ground,” Tanee Sangrat said.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha said that the country did not want a large migration of people coming in, but are preparing for an influx of migrants nonetheless due to the current circumstances.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has maintained his position condemning the coup and use of violence against protesters.
“My message to the military is very simple: Stop the killing. Stop the repression of the demonstrations. Release the political prisoners, and return power to those that have really the right to exercise it,” Guterres said.