GRAPHIC: U.S. and China Acknowledge Myanmar Civilians Slaughtered by Airstrike

At approximately 2239 EST on October 9th, 2023, several Kachin Indepedence Army outlets released pictures and statements regarding a Myanmar government airstrike that killed at least thirty civilians in Kachin State. The pictures show below:

The AFP was the first Western source to pick up on the reports:

However, the Myanmar junta which took power in 2021 denied these reports. The Chinese Foreign Ministry was the first foreign government to address the reports by 0428 EST this morning. Spokesman Wang made this announcements to Reuters:

“China pays close attention to relevant reports. We call on relevant parties to persist in resolving differences through dialogue and consultation in a peaceful manner to avoid escalation of the situation, and to take practical and effective measures to ensure China-Myanmar border security.”

The United States made its first official statement on the matter minutes ago via State Department spokesperson Miller:

”We are deeply concerned by reports of a Burma military attack on an internally displaced persons camp near Mung Lai Hkyet village in Kachin State on October 9. Early reports indicate dozens of civilians were killed. We strongly condemn the military regime’s ongoing attacks that have claimed thousands of lives since the February 2021 coup and continue to exacerbate the region’s most severe humanitarian crisis. More than 1.6 million people have been internally displaced since the coup.

The United States will continue to support the people of Burma and all those working peacefully to support their aspirations for peace and inclusive democracy.”

Unfortunately, due to the tight grip on social media and information flow by the junta, massacres seldom get international attention in the country’s interior. However, acknowledgement by both the U.S. and China demonstrates the severity of the strikes which seem to have been explicitly targeting a civilian village.

Myanmar has been home to the longest running civil war in history as communist and nationalist forces have battled over control of the country since the British withdrawal after WW2. Many of the communist groups in the interior of the country have vied for local control as national government forces sought to maintain control over regional governorships. There have been several military coups since the military leadership wields immense power during this decades long struggle. In 2021 the military seized control from the democratically elected Aung San Suu Kyi.

This bombing also demonstrates the desperation of junta forces as they now control about 40% of the country after three years of mounting losses against National Unity Government forces and third party militant groups. More than a million people have been displaced since 2021.

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Ethan Alun
Ethan Alun
A United States Naval Academy and American Military University Alumni, Ethan covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.
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