Bridge along India-Myanmar border blown up as Burmese junta retaliates, several dead and losses to PDF

Recent clashes between the Arakan Army (AA) and the People’s Defence Force (PDF) against Myanmar's military junta have inflicted severe destruction and loss of life in Rakhine and...

Recent clashes between the Arakan Army (AA) and the People’s Defence Force (PDF) against Myanmar’s military junta have resulted in severe destruction and significant loss of life. The conflict, which has been concentrated in the regions of Rakhine and Sagaing, has seen the junta responding to rebel attacks with relentless airstrikes, leading to widespread devastation.

According to media reports, sixty-four civilians were killed in Singaung village of Thandwe Township during two days of airstrikes and artillery attacks by the military on June 4-5. A Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) report indicate that the death toll from these attacks is estimated to be between 50 and 100 civilians, including women and children, with many still unaccounted for and presumed dead. The Arakan Army, which is fighting for control of Thandwe, has already seized ten towns in Arakan and one in southern Chinland. The military regime has suspended all flights to Thandwe, leaving remaining residents trapped and unable to flee their homes for safety.

Mansawng Suspension Bridge Collapsed
The Mansawng suspension bridge in Tedim Township collapsed on Saturday Photo credit: DVB (CJ)

While Burmese media have not reported on the casualties suffered by the AA and the PDF, it is understood that both groups have also sustained losses in these airstrikes. The military junta has not limited its operations to Rakhine; in Chin State, the Mansawng bridge on the Manipur River in Tedim Township was destroyed by military forces on Saturday. This bridge is a critical link in the border trade between India and Myanmar. The military also raided Lanzan village, making several arrests.

The United Nations has condemned the military’s actions, with Secretary-General António Guterres expressing deep concern over the civilian casualties and the widening regional ramifications of the conflict. “The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the widening regional ramifications of the deteriorating situation in Myanmar and reiterates his appeal for a unified approach,” stated Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the U.N. Secretary-General’s office. The U.N. has also expressed alarm over attacks targeting Rohingya in northern Arakan as the conflict between the AA and the Myanmar Army intensifies. Secretary-General Guterres has called on member states to support his recently appointed Special Envoy on Burma, Julie Bishop. Media reports suggest that more than 70 civilians have been killed in Arakan State alone.

In addition to the violence in Thandwe, the Sagaing region bordering India’s Manipur State has also experienced significant bloodshed. On June 4, as many as 50 people were killed in Maw village. Eight civilians, including two monks, were killed, and over 30 others were injured in airstrikes carried out on a monastery in Thabyetha village of Sagaing Township. These strikes occurred during a meeting between the PDF and local residents at the monastery. A PDF spokesperson reported that “Two monks, four members of resistance forces, and two civilians were killed so far. We are still collecting the numbers of casualties and damages.” The airstrikes resulted in the destruction of several structures and buildings within the monastery compound.

The ongoing conflict highlights the dire situation in Myanmar, where civilians continue to bear the brunt of the violence between rebel forces and the military junta. The international community remains deeply concerned about the escalating crisis and its regional implications, with urgent calls for unified efforts to address the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in the country.

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