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Myanmar: 17 civilians killed, 20 injured in air strike on Kanan village, Sagaing

On the morning of Sunday, January 7th, air strikes on the village of Kanan hit near a church, where many residents were worshipping, and close to the village’s school compound. 17 people were killed and over 20 injured in the strikes. Nine children were among the dead.

The village is currently under the control of pro-democracy groups.

The military government has denied responsibility, but a local resident told The Associated Press that a fighter jet bombed the village, dropping four explosives.

In 2023, AOAV recorded 436 attacks using explosive weapons perpetrated by the military government in Myanmar, a 112% increase compared to 2022. This reflects the intensifying conflict between the military and the People’s Defense Forces on the one hand, and with the Ethnic Armed Organisations that have been fighting for autonomy for decades on the other. 

AOAV recorded 2,165 civilian casualties of explosive weapons use in Myanmar last year, of which 745 were killed. This represents a 121% increase in civilian casualties compared to 2022, and a 155% increase in civilian fatalities – making 2023 the most harmful year for civilians in Myanmar in AOAV’s records. The military junta was reportedly responsible for 85% (1,850) of those civilian casualties, and 88% (653) of civilian fatalities. 

Overall, AOAV has recorded 1,884 incidents of explosive weapons use in Myanmar since 2010, and 4,498 civilian casualties (1,517 killed). 48% of those casualties occurred last year.

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.