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Myanmar: Bullet fired from the ground pierces through fuselage of an aircraft at 3500 feet and injures a passenger

All flights at Loikaw airport has been cancelled after the incident, the govt blamed rebel groups for the attack

On September 30, a bullet fired from the ground struck a passenger on a Myanmar National Airlines flight while he was inside the plane mid-air and injured him. The aircraft’s fuselage had been broken through by the bullet.

The plane was four miles north of the airport and flying at an altitude of around 3,500 feet on its approach to landing at Loikaw. The man was hit on his right cheek by the bullet. Photos of the incident show a hole on the lower fuselage of the aircraft caused by the bullet, and the injured man holding a tissue on his right cheek, while other blood-soaked tissues are seen in the adjacent seat.

After the aircraft touched down in Loikaw, Myanmar, the passenger was taken urgently to Loikaw People’s Hospital. All flights to the city have been indefinitely cancelled, the Myanmar National Airlines office in Loikaw reported after the incident. The ATR 72 aircraft of the Myanmar National Airlines plane was reportedly carrying 63 passengers.

A statement issued by the authorities said, “A passenger on board was injured on the right cheek because of a gunshot. The injured passenger is now being given treatment at Loikaw People’s Hospital and security forces are performing security process in the area where the attack happened.”

The military government of Myanmar claims that rebel troops in the state of Kayah fired at the aircraft, according to a report by The Mirror. The junta government has blamed the anti-junta militia and the Karenni National Progressive Party for the attack.

Rebel groups, however, denied the accusations. A spokesperson for Myanmar’s ruling military council, Major General Zaw Min Tun, said on state television: “I want to say that this kind of attack on the passenger plane is a war crime. People and organisations who want peace must condemn this issue wholly.”

After the army ousted an Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League of Democracy (NLD) government and seized power last year, the state of Kayah has witnessed fierce conflict between military and rebel groups. 

Peaceful rallies were held in response to the takeover in February of last year, but a violent crackdown on the protesters prompted hundreds of people to organize militia groups as part of a People’s Defense Force to resist the military takeover.

The military government claimed that the People’s Defense Force and the Karenni National Progressive Party, a rebel militia, were responsible for the shooting. However, the Karenni National Progressive Party head Khu Daniel refuted the allegation and insisted that his group had not given orders for its members to fire at civilians or passenger flights.

The claims are nothing but “defamatory propaganda against the revolutionary forces by the Military Council,” according to a spokesperson for the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force, another rebel group. He said that infantry battalions and high-security zones surround the runway and the remainder of the airfield, making it extremely difficult for members of the People’s Defence Force to carry out such a shooting.

The government stated that it had tightened security around the airport.

The military coup in Myanmar

After staging a coup on February 1st, 2021, the Myanmar Army governs the country. The military of Myanmar, which has dominated the nation for more than 50 years, and the civilian government had reportedly been at odds for weeks amid claims that there were irregularities in the 2020 general elections in Myanmar.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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