Breaking: Myanmar rebels claim military helicopter downing amid crackdown
A rebel group in Myanmar, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), has said it shot down a military helicopter firing on one of its strongholds.
Head of KIA’s information department, Naw Bu, said on Monday that the helicopter was shot down around 10:20 am local time (GMT03:50) at a village near the town of Moemauk in the northern Kachin Province.
“The military council launched air strikes in that area since around 8:00 or 9:00 a.m. local time this morning … using jet fighters and also fired shots using a helicopter so we shot back at them,” he told Reuters by telephone.
The news agency, however, said it could not independently verify the downing of the helicopter.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the junta seized power on February 1, ousting the elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Protests have been held on an almost daily basis against military rule across the country.
On Sunday, Myanmar security forces opened fire on some of the biggest protests in days, killing eight people, media reported.
The protests, after a spell of dwindling rallies and what appeared to be more restraint by the security forces, were coordinated with demonstrations in Myanmar communities around the world to mark what organizers called “the global Myanmar spring revolution.”
“Shake the world with the voice of Myanmar people’s unity,” the organizers said in a statement.
“To bring down the military dictatorship is our cause!” the protesters chanted, waving a three-finger salute of resistance.
Local media reported that security forces were chasing protesters down and arresting them.
Bomb blasts also went off across different parts of Yangon on Sunday. Explosions have been happening with increasing frequency in the former capital, and the junta has blamed them on “instigators.”
So far, security forces have killed 759 civilians, according to local monitoring group the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).