Myanmar Army Helicopter Shot Down by Kachin Independence Army

Myanmar Army Helicopter Shot Down by Kachin Independence Army

Myanmar Army Mi-35 Phoenix helicopter was shot down by MANPAD used by Kachin Independence Army (rebels) near Moemouk township this morning.

The Kachin Independence Army (KIA), one of Myanmar’s most powerful rebel groups, has shot down a helicopter after returning fire following air strikes by the military, according to an official at the group.

The KIA’s information department head, Naw Bu, said on Monday the helicopter was shot down around 10:20 am at a village near the town of Momauk in Kachin province.

“The military council launched air strikes in that area since around 8 or 9 this morning … using jet fighters and also fired shots using a helicopter so we shot back at them,” he said by telephone.

He declined to say what weapons were used.

News portals MizzimaDaily and Kachinwaves also reported the downing of the helicopter next to photographs showing a plume of smoke coming from the ground.

A resident in the area, who declined to be named, said by telephone that four people had died in hospital after artillery shells hit a monastery in the village.

The military ousted the civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1 and over 750 people have been killed in the ensuing protests against the coup.

The junta was acting upon grievances it held over November’s election, which resulted in a victory for Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy. The military cried foul and felt their fraudulent claims were not addressed by a commission that deemed the vote fair.

Suu Kyi, 75, was detained in the wake of the coup along with several members of her party.

Security forces have sought to quell near-daily pro-democracy protests with deadly force, while long-simmering conflicts with ethnic rebels have erupted.

The KIA, which has waged a decades-long insurgency against the military in northern Kachin state, has been a regular target of airstrikes in recent weeks.

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