Airstrike on PDF stronghold in Myanmar kills 15

OSR/Agencies (AFP)
IMPHAL/TAMU, Jan 7 : At least 15 people, including children, have been killed in an air strike on a village in northwestern Myanmar on the Indo (Manipur)-Myanmar border, local media said Sunday.
The country has been engulfed by increasingly vicious fighting, with the junta battling opponents in the north and the east.
The strike hit a village in Khampat Township, Tamu district, at around 10.15 am (0415 GMT).
The village is under the control of the People's Defence Force (PDF) group, one of many that have sprung up to fight the junta.
Myanmar junta carried out an airstrike in the Kanan area at around 9.55 am today. At least 15 people including some minors were killed in the strike.
In addition, more than 30 people were also injured in the strike.
Notably, Kanan is located along Asian Highway-I in Tamu district, about 50 Kms away from Tamu district headquarters.  
Kanan is situated between Khampat and Boukkan (Zoumun).
The site hit by the airstrike is located between border pillar numbers 58 (Khampat) and 64 (Molcham).
New Laijang, Yangnomphai, New Somtal, Aivomjang and Molcham in Manipur’s Chandel district are some of the villages on the Indian side of the border.
Earlier on Thursday, at least five people including a child were killed and around 10 injured as Myanmar junta fighter jets bombarded Taze township in Sagaing region.
The jet twice bombed Sein Nan village, killing a six-year-old boy, Htet Myat Aung, and four women.
Five houses, a garage in the compound of a monastery and a school were destroyed, a resident said.
Injured civilians were being treated and two women were in critical condition.
Sein Nan is 50 Kms northwest of Taze with over 300 households at the edge of the large Maha Myaing forest, which is difficult for junta soldiers to raid, said an ethnic Kachin resident of Taze.
In March, an MI-35 helicopter attacked a village near Sein Nan but no casualties were reported.
Resistance groups have surrounded Taze town where Battalion 361 is stationed.
Local media outlets put the death toll at 15 people, including children, with 20 wounded.
But two witnesses -- a man and a woman who asked to remain anonymous for safety -- told AFP the toll was higher.
"19 people were killed, including eight children," said the man, who said he saw a junta jet fighter overhead during the attack.
He said the first bombs targeted two Churches in the village, and a second attack came as people fled the buildings.
"Most of them were killed outside the Church area as they were running to escape," he said.
Women and children were among those killed in the attack, which was made more deadly because of the crowds, he said.
In total the jet dropped six bombs, he said.
"They targeted the two Churches, but bombs hit outside the two Churches, and hit some houses," he said.
Another device landed near the community's school, he added. State media said late Sunday that reports of the attack were "fake news", with MRTV saying there had been no aircraft operating in the area at the time.
The village is under the control of the People's Defence Force (PDF) group, one of many that have sprung up to fight the junta.
The military has designated the groups as "terrorists".
On Sunday, a planned graduation ceremony for new recruits had been relocated to a nearby jungle.
"If they came to bomb our graduation area, we cannot blame them," the man said, referencing the army.
"But they bombed the wrong place and bombed public Churches and areas."
He and the woman told AFP that 30 people were wounded.
She warned that the casualty rate could rise, with some people seriously hurt.
They were being treated at a clinic, she said, without giving further details. Agence France-Presse