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Myanmar Junta accused of bombing Kachin state refugee camp

Dozens of people have been killed by an artillery strike on a refugee camp in the Kachin state.

30 people, including women and children, were killed in Myanmar in an artillery strike on a camp for displaced people in Kachin State near the border with China

The attack took place at Mung Lai Hkyet IDP camp, a few kilometres from a military base run by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the military wing of the KIO and one of many groups fighting against Myanmar’s military junta, which seized power in 2021.

Col. Naw Bu, a spokesperson for the KIA, told The Associated Press that 29 people, including 11 children under the age of 16, were killed and 57 others injured in the air attacks. The National Unity Government, which is coordinating the resistance to the military government, claims that “based on initial reports, at least 30 have been killed, including women and 13 children and at least a further 57 have been injured.”

The camp is in an area controlled by the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), one of several ethnic groups which have been fighting for self-rule for many decades.

The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) - the KIO's armed wing - is one of the largest and most powerful groups in Myanmar. It has been fighting the central government sporadically since 1960 and consistently since a ceasefire broke down in 2011.

Since the coup, the military government has viewed the KIA as a significant threat, as it has been giving weapons and training to some of the new insurgent groups which have formed across the country to resist military rule.

KIA also has a long-standing alliance with the Arakan Army, an insurgent group formed initially in Kachin State. But since 2016, it has been operating in Rakhine State, on the other side of the country, where it has successfully challenged the military for control of much of the territory.

Gen Zaw Min Tun, a junta spokesperson, denied the military was responsible. He told military-controlled TV that the junta had analysed the incident and believed that the explosion was caused by bombs that had been kept in storage by the KIA.

The military has frequently been accused of striking civilian sites, including hospitals, schools, religious sites and civilian homes. Last year, the military killed 60 people, including musicians and children, in an airstrike that targeted a concert in Kachin.

The attack took place on the same day that Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, told a UN committee that, since the coup, the military has imported more than $ 1bn worth of arms and raw materials for a “scorched-earth policy that has murdered more than 4,000 civilians including women and children, forcibly displaced around 2 million and destroyed or burned down over 75,000 homes”.

Read more at Reuters 

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