Burmese Airstrike Against Civilians Kills at Least 160 in Pa Zi Gyi Village

Photo Credit: Vyacheslav Argenberg

By Mihir Shenoy
Staff Writer

On April 11, villagers from Pa Zi Gyi township in Sagaing Region, Myanmar gathered to celebrate the Burmese New Year, as well as the opening of an office for the resistance government that has been fighting the Burmese military junta. These were civilians who, having dealt with the bitterness of military rule since 1962, sought refuge in resistance, and were immediately reminded of the cruelty of totalitarianism. The Burmese military unleashed an airstrike that killed at least 170, including at least 38 children, in its largest massacre since the 2021 coup that overthrew the democratically elected government. 

Massacres of civilians have become common in post-coup Myanmar, where the military will attack villages that are suspected of supporting the ousted government. In March, the Pinlaung massacre killed at least 22, including 3 Buddhist monks, inside a monastery. The Tar Taing massacre, also in March, killed at least 17, some of whom were tortured in the local monastery beforehand, according to residents. Since the beginning of the 2021 coup, approximately 2,900 civilian deaths have been verified. The UN has reported that the Myanmar military’s indiscriminate attacks on civilians, as well as the use of torture, death by burning, and human shields, amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

From the establishment of the junta, the Burmese military has been fighting the People’s Defence Force (PDF), the armed wing of the overthrown democratic government, and ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) that represent minority groups such as the Karen, Kachin, and Chin. Although Myanmar’s internal conflict, which started in 1948, has historically been ethnic-based, recently the conflict has become more of a power struggle between dictatorship and self-government, as people of all ethnicities have developed grievances with the military government, whether through direct conflict, the violent suppression of protests, or other human rights abuses– and have become more empathetic towards the grievances of others. 

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