The fight between the military and the opposition forces in Myanmar turns bloody as innocent children were dragged into it.
The Tragedy of Let Yet Kone Village
It was early morning and many young children began to go to school, nine year-old Zin New Phyo and her classmates were some of them. They had just arrived at the school and were settling down when someone alerted them of the aircraft. They were two helicopters and they started shooting at the school.
Rockets and ammunition struck the school and children began running for cover, terrified and crying for help. Teachers were helpless. Some children managed to hide but some got hit by ammunition and some by the debris created by the deadly attack.
The firing continued till 30 minutes. After that the soldiers entered the compound shooting, they ordered the survivors to come out and made them squat on the ground. They were looking for opposition forces.
Inside, the bodies of three children were found dead, Zin Nwe Phyo being one of them. The other was a seven-year-old girl named Su Yati Hlaing. Her parents have moved to Thailand for work and she was being looked after by her grandmother. There were other children who were horribly injured, some were even missing limbs. Phone Tay Za was one of them, he lay there crying and moaning in pain.
Phone Tay Za’s mother had heard the shooting; she came to the school to check out the situation, only to find her son lying in a pool of blood, moaning in pain. She held her son and begged the military to take him to hospital but nobody listened to her. It was only 45 minutes later that every injured person was taken to hospital. Her son soon passed away.
The soldier collected the body parts in plastic bin liners. 12 were injured in this aggression, they were taken to nearby hospital on two trucks driven by the military. Two of the children later died.
For the people living there, the nightmare was not over as their village was attacked three more times which burned down many houses.
The soldiers refused to let Phone Tay Za’s mother keep his body and took it away. The bodies of Zin Nwe Phyo and Su Yati Hlaing were also taken by the military, before their families could see them. They were later secretly cremated. That evening, Su Yati Hlaing’s parents got a call from the grandmother telling them she had been killed.
The Inhumane Airstrikes
The attackers at school were two Russian-made Mi-35 helicopter gunships, nicknamed “flying tanks” or “crocodiles” because of their sinister appearance and protective armour. It’s a very powerful piece of equipment such that it can devastate vehicles and buildings.
In these two years since the military rule came, air strikes are the new norm. This resulted in a brutal stalemate across the country with the opposition forces. The air force has grown to about 70 Aircrafts, mostly Russian and Chinese.
Myanmar, the Country of Wars
Since gaining independence from Britain in 1948, Myanmar has experienced a number of armed conflicts and civil wars, many of which have been fought between the Burmese military and ethnic insurgent groups. These conflicts have had a devastating impact on the country and its people, causing widespread suffering, displacement, and human rights abuses. Despite efforts to bring peace and stability, the conflicts have persisted, and the situation remains complex and ongoing.
In 2021, a military coup overthrew the democratically elected government, leading to widespread protests and violence. The international community has condemned the actions of the military and called for the restoration of democracy in Myanmar. The attack on Let Yet Kone is only one of the few, many such air strikes have been conducted, leading to huge loss of lives.