Myanmar National Airlines ATTACKED! One passenger shot during landing

An unfortunate incident occurred in which an ATR-72 of Myanmar National Airlines, with 63 passengers on board, was hit by a bullet as it was about to land in Loikaw, the capital of the eastern state of Kayah, also known as Karenni. . Myanmar’s military government accused rebels in the eastern state of Kayah of shooting at a passenger plane as it prepared to land on Friday, injuring a passenger who was hit by a bullet that pierced its fuselage. Rebel groups denied the accusation. maj. Gene. Zaw Min Tun, a spokesman for Myanmar’s ruling military council, said the shooting was carried out by “terrorists” from the Karenni National Progressive Party, an ethnic minority militia fighting the government, and their People’s Defense allies. Force, an armed pro-democracy group.

“I want to say that this kind of attack on the passenger plane is a war crime,” he said. “People and organizations that want peace should condemn this issue everywhere.” State television MRTV said the bullet entered the lower fuselage of the plane as it flew at an altitude of 3,500 feet about 4 miles north of the airport.

He said the injured passenger was taken to a hospital. The state news agency has released photos of the bullet hole and the passenger being treated. The Myanmar National Airlines office in Loikaw has announced that all flights to the city have been canceled indefinitely.

Kayah state has faced intense conflict between the military and local resistance groups since the military took power last year and overthrew the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

On February 1, 2021, the takeover was met with peaceful nationwide protests, but after the military and police brutally crushed street protesters resisting military rule, thousands of civilians formed militia units as part of a People’s Defense Force to fight back. to fight.

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Khu Daniel, a leader of the Karenni National Progressive Party, denied the government’s accusation, saying his party had not ordered its armed wing, the Karenni Army, to shoot at civilians or passenger planes. “The military always blames other organizations for the shootings. Our armed wing didn’t shoot down the plane this morning,’ he said.

Government spokesman Zaw Min Tun said it has provided security around the airport and accused the KNPP and PDF of creating chaos in Loikaw by firing artillery into the city and the area near the airport.

Since the army took power, there have been frequent clashes in Kayah between the army and local anti-government guerrillas near a base of the government’s 54th Light Infantry Battalion south of the airport.

State media reported last Christmas that the KNPP and PDF attacked a Myanmar National Airlines passenger plane with four 107mm rockets, which exploded about 2,000 meters (1.2 miles) east of the airport, injuring no one.

The Karenni Nationalities Defense Force, another ethnic rebel group, previously advised against traveling on Myanmar National Airlines because it is state-owned, so the revenue goes to the military and the military uses it to resupply its troops.

(With inputs from PTI)

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