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Air strike on Myanmar village kills 15: media

At least 15 people, including children, have been killed in an air strike on a village in northwestern Myanmar, local media said Sunday. The country has been engulfed by increasingly vicious fighting, with the junta battling opponents in the north and the east. The strike hit a village in Khampat Township, Tamu district, at around 10:15 am (0415 GMT). Local media outlets put the death toll at 15 people, including children, with 20 wounded. But two witnesses — a man and a woman who asked to remain anonymous for safety — told AFP the toll was higher. “19 people were killed, including eight children,” said the man, who said he saw a junta jet fighter overhead during the attack. He said the first bombs targeted two churches in the village, and a second attack came as people fled the buildings. “Most of them were killed outside the church area as they were running to escape,” he said. Women and children were among those killed in the attack, which was made more deadly because of the crowds, he said. In total the jet dropped six bombs, he said. “They targeted the two churches, but bombs hit outside the two churches, and hit some houses,” he said. Another device landed near the community’s school, he added. State media said late Sunday that reports of the attack were “fake news”, with MRTV saying there had been no aircraft operating in the area at the time. The village is under the control of a People’s Defence Force (PDF) group, one of many that have sprung up to fight the junta. The military has designated the groups as “terrorists”. On Sunday, a planned graduation ceremony for new recruits had been relocated to a nearby jungle. “If they came to bomb our graduation area, we cannot blame them,” the man said, referencing the army. “But they bombed the wrong place and bombed public churches and areas.” He and the woman told AFP that 30 people were wounded. She warned that the casualty rate could rise, with some people seriously hurt. They were being treated at a clinic, she said, without giving further details.

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