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Kanbalu, Myanmar: up to 165 people killed in military airstrike, 11 April

On the morning of Tuesday 11 April 2022, an airstrike by the Myanmar military targeted a celebration in Pazigyi village, in Sagaing region’s Kanbalu township. At least 165 people were killed, including 27 women and 19 children, and at least 30 others injured. 

Around 300 people were gathered in Pazigyi village to celebrate the opening of a new office for the local People’s Defence Force, anti-coup militias operating under the umbrella of the National Unity Government (NUG). During the ceremony, fighter jets bombed the crowd before a helicopter arrived from which soldiers fired on first responders and those transporting the wounded. That afternoon, the aircraft returned, opening fire on those trying to collect the dead. 

This is one of the deadliest military attacks on the civilian population since the junta seized power in February 2021. 

Since the coup, AOAV has recorded 1,958 civilian casualties (786 killed and 1,172 injured) across 988 incidents. Among the civilians harmed, at least 297 were reported as children, 231 as women, and 237 as men. 

80% (1,570) of civilians were reported as killed and injured by the Myanmar military junta, and civilians account for 77% of all reported casualties when the military used explosive weapons. Non-state actors reportedly caused 215 civilian casualties, 5% of all casualties reported in non-state attacks. 

Of the 365 incidents of explosive weapon use attributed to the Myanmar military since February 2021, 86% (315) were reported in populated areas – areas where 85% (1,528) of casualties from military attacks were civilians. 

The majority of incidents of state-perpetrated attacks, 64% (235), were reported in villages, and 64% (1,009) of civilian casualties of state attacks were recorded in these locations. 193 civilians were killed and injured across six state-perpetrated explosive attacks targeting public gatherings – meaning that, on average, 32.2 civilians have been killed and injured in the military’s attacks on public gatherings. 109 civilian casualties have been reported in places of worship, across 20 state-perpetrated incidents, and 50 across 17 incidents in urban residential areas. 

Ground-launched attacks by the Myanmar military caused 789 civilian casualties, or 50% of all civilian casualties of explosive weapon use by the military, across 239 incidents. Ground-launched explosive weapons consequently account for 65% of recorded explosive weapon use by the military junta since the coup.

However, air-launched attacks by the Myanmar military caused 617 civilian casualties across just 81 incidents. Military airstrikes have consequently killed and injured 7.6 civilians per attack. 

Overall, AOAV has recorded 2,813 civilians killed and injured by explosive weapon use in Myanmar since 2010, across 1,211 incidents. 2022 was the most injurious year for civilian harm from explosive weapons so far. 

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.