In what is believed to be the single deadliest air strike since the coup in February 2021, military jets attacked Kachin state’s Kansi village on 24 October, during a concert commemorating the 62nd anniversary of the founding of the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO).
At least 80 people were killed and around 100 injured, including civilians, artists, and members of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), when three jets targeted the event on Monday evening. Around 300 to 500 people were in attendance, and the casualty toll is expected to keep rising.
Radio Free Asia reports that junta forces then blocked access to the road leading to the impact site, impeding aid and relief groups from reaching the victims.
Since the coup in 2021, the military junta has faced staunch resistance from Ethnic Armed Organisations (EAOs), civilian defense groups, and People’s Defence Forces affiliated with the shadow National Unity Government (NUG), becoming entrenched in protracted armed conflicts in many of Myanmar’s regions.
Since 2021, AOAV has recorded 467 incidents of intentional explosive weapon use in Myanmar, resulting in 1,211 reported civilian casualties (473 killed, 738 injured). The most affected regions are Sagaing (267 civilian casualties), Kachin (223), Shan (128), and Karen (125).
In that time, ground-launched weapons have reportedly caused 46% (557) of civilian casualties, air-launched weapons have caused 28% (344), and IEDs 9% (109).
State actors have been the reported perpetrators in the case of 83% (462) of recorded civilian casualties of ground-launched weapons, 100% of recorded civilian casualties of air-launched weapons, and 100% (119) of recorded civilian casualties of combined explosive weapons. Non-state actors are the reported perpetrators in the case of 95% (104) of recorded civilian casualties of IEDs.
In total, state actors are the reported perpetrators of 78% (945) of recorded civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Myanmar since 2021.
48% (450) of recorded civilian casualties of state-perpetrated explosive violence in Myanmar occurred in villages, followed by 31% (291) at public gatherings, and 10% (91) in places of worship.
AOAV’s casualty figures represent the lowest of estimations in terms of the number of people killed and injured by explosive weapon use. In an effort to quantify the explicit harm caused by specific explosive weapons, AOAV solely records incident-specific casualty figures, as reported in English-language media.
AOAV condemns the use of violence against civilians and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. All actors should stop using explosive weapons with wide-area effects where there is likely to be a high concentration of civilians.
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