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Myanmar’s military-ruled capital targeted in drone attack, junta says

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Myanmar security services shot down seven drones over the military-built capital Naypyidaw on Thursday, the junta said, in what appeared to be a rare attack on the junta’s centre of power by its opponents.

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The military’s ouster of Aung San Suu Kyi’s government in 2021 sparked renewed fighting with ethnic minority armed groups, as well as with pro-democracy “People’s Defence Forces” (PDFs) in areas previously untouched by decades of conflict in Myanmar.

Four drones approaching Naypyidaw airport and three drones approaching Zayarthiri township in the capital “were successfully shot down and destroyed”, the junta’s information team said in a statement.

There was no damage or casualties, it added.

Naypyidaw airport was temporarily closed after the incident around 10am local time (0330 GMT), according to a source at the airport, who asked for anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

There were no casualties following the incident, the source said.

They added that one of the drones shot down had been carrying a bomb, which was defused.

Pictures released by the junta’s information team purportedly of the aftermath showed a broken, fixed-wing drone lying on tarmac and a large piece of debris in a wooded area.

Local media reported that a PDF group in the area said it had launched drones at military targets in Naypyidaw.

AFP was unable to reach the group.

‘Drop bombs’

Outgunned and outnumbered, opponents of the junta have turned to flying commercial drones adapted to carry bombs that can be dropped on military positions, with devastating effect.

In recent months waves of “drop bomb” attacks across Myanmar have displaced junta troops from positions, hit domestic airports and killed a brigadier-general near the China border.

The term has even entered the lexicon of junta-controlled media, which regularly attacks PDF groups — designated as “terrorists” by the military — for using them in fighting.

Set amid arid scrubland in the centre of the country, the sprawling military-designed Naypyidaw is home to the military’s top brass and civil servants.

With a heavy security presence in the surrounding area, the city has seen relative calm as fighting ravages swathes of the country. 

Last week junta chief Min Aung Hlaing oversaw a military parade there to mark Armed Forces Day.

The parade was slimmed down compared to previous years, observers said, with no tanks or missile launchers making the drive-by.

In recent months the junta has lost swathes of territory in border areas, and analysts say it is relying more on air and artillery strikes to support its embattled troops.

Read more‘A real blow for the junta’: Myanmar’s ethnic groups launch unprecedented armed resistance

(AFP)

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