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Myanmar pro-democracy resistance group stages ‘most powerful drone attack’ on military-run capital

Myanmar pro-democracy resistance group stages ‘most powerful drone attack’ on military-run capital

An anti-army resistance alliance in Myanmar attacked several military targets in capital Naypyitaw with drones in a significant blow to the junta.

The National Unity Government (NUG), an alliance of anti-junta groups, launched coordinated strikes and confirmed an unspecified number of casualties.

The attack, involving around 30 drones, targeted the military headquarters, the residence of Myanmar‘s ruling general Min Aung Hlaing, and an airport in Naypyitaw, an NUG spokesperson told The Independent.

Kyaw Zaw, a spokesperson for NUG, said it was the “most powerful drone attack yet” on the military with long-range drones.

“Multiple long-range drones have been used in the strike. The attack has been successful and we are still assessing the situation,” he said. “Preliminary reports suggest there were casualties.”

According to the spokesperson, eyewitnesses reported smoke coming out of the airport and several ambulances going in and out of Naypyitaw military hospital.

The military has not confirmed any damage or casualties from the attack and The Independent cannot independently verify the details.

The capital is the seat of power and heavily fortified with the most sophisticated defence. “Despite that, the resistance was able to penetrate into Naypyitaw and attack high-value targets,” he said.

The airport compound, which includes both a military air base and a civilian airport, is about 25km (16m) southwest of the military headquarters that the resistance group said it attacked.

The attack has come as a major blow to the Myanmar military which has been fighting on multiple fronts to contain the uprisings around the country while attempting to stabilise the economy.

NUG is an alliance formed to challenge army rule after the military overthrew the democratically elected Aung San Suu Kyi government in a coup in February 2021. The coup triggered a civil war in the country that has killed thousands of people and displaced 2.6 million people in the span of three years, according to the UN.

NUG’s minitry of defence shared pictures of target sites in capital (NUG Ministry of Defence)
NUG’s minitry of defence shared pictures of target sites in capital (NUG Ministry of Defence)

The military officials, however, said seven drones were shot down and one exploded on the airport runway.

It comes as the army is said to have suffered losses in large areas as an alliance of ethnic minority rebels as well as an armed movement mounted pressure in the aftermath of a bloody clampdown on anti-coup protests.

A spokesperson for the NUG’s armed affiliate in Naypyitaw, the People’s Defence Force (PDF), said it carried out Thursday’s attack on the instruction of the NUG’s Defence Ministry. It did not provide details of the incident.

The attack on the capital is said to be one of the most serious and rare by the resistance groups this year.

The military suffered a huge setback in October last year after ethnic insurgents overran its outposts along the border with India and China, losing control of large areas of territory to insurgents.

It comes as last week Myanmar‘s ruling general Min Aung Hlaing urged people to maintain calm as the military was holding power temporarily.

He urged the people to unite with the military to fight armed groups, which he said had foreign backing and were seeking to destroy the country.

Last month, the army announced new conscription laws, making it compulsory for all young women and men to join the military amid the ongoing emergency situation in the country.