Junta confirms Myanmar rebels rocket attack kills four including monks, wounds military cadets

A soldier from the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) carries an RPG launcher at a Myanmar military base at Thingyan Nyi Naung village on the outskirts of Myawaddy, the Thailand-Myanmar border town under the control of a coalition of rebel forces led by the Karen National Union, in Myanmar, April 15, 2024. - Photo: Reuters

YANGON (AFP): A rocket attack by Myanmar anti-coup fighters killed four people and wounded 12, including cadets from the military's elite officer academy, junta officials said Monday.

Myanmar's military authorities, who are struggling to maintain their grip on the country in the face of rising armed opposition, condemned the attack in the central town of Pyin Oo Lwin as targeting civilians.

Myanmar is mired in conflict as the military, which seized power in a 2021 coup, battles multiple armed resistance groups across the country, suffering heavy losses in recent months.

Fighters from a local "people's defence force" (PDF) -- armed groups of pro-democracy civilians that have risen up to battle the army -- "randomly shot" 11 rockets on Sunday evening, hitting a hospital, monastery and hotel, the junta said.

The dead include two monks, it said.

Pyin Oo Lwin, a former British hill station near the central city of Mandalay, is home to the Defence Services Academy -- Myanmar's equivalent of West Point or Britain's Sandhurst.

Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun confirmed three cadets from the academy were wounded in the attack.

A spokesman for Mandalay PDF said its fighters carried out the attack, saying they targeted only the academy.

The military suffered a major blow last week when its forces were driven out of a major trade hub near the Thai border after days of clashes with an ethnic minority armed group and other anti-junta fighters.

Authorities in Thailand have said they are preparing to accept up to 100,000 people displaced by the clashes.

The military seized power from the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021 and its crackdown on resistance to its rule has killed more than 4,800 civilians, according to local monitoring group AAPP. - AFP

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