Apr 5, 2024
4 mins read
4 mins read

Myanmar militias revel after attempted drone attacks on junta's stronghold capital

Myanmar militias revel after attempted drone attacks on junta's stronghold capital

By Reuters
April 4, 2024 11:32 PM GMT+7


  • Military TV says attack foiled, 13 drones shot down
  • Military facing biggest test of its rule
  • Junta leader's residence a target - parallel government
  • Brazen attack could dent image of powerful military
  • Incident show generals have nowhere to hide - opponents

April 4 (Reuters) - Anti-junta forces in Myanmar attempted coordinated drone attacks on military facilities in its capital on Thursday, army TV and a parallel government said, in a brazen challenge to a military struggling to govern and fighting battles on multiple fronts.

Military-run Myawaddy TV said in its nighttime news bulletin an attempt by "terrorists" to destroy "important locations" in Naypyitaw had been foiled, with 13 fixed-wing drones shot down, four carrying explosives.

Myawaddy said there were no casualties or destruction to property and showed an image of nine small drones, some damaged.

The attack could dent the credibility of a well-equipped military that sees itself as the sole protector of Myanmar's sovereignty, and regards Naypyitaw as its fortress, as it faces its biggest test since first taking control of the former British colony in 1962.

The National Unity Government (NUG), an alliance of anti-junta groups formed to undermine army rule after a 2021 coup, said "simultaneously executed, coordinated drone attacks" were carried out by its armed affiliate, the People's Defence Forces (PDF), on the military's headquarters and an air force base.

It did not say if the targets were hit but said preliminary reports indicated there were casualties.

Naypyitaw is the seat of power for the military government and home to much of its defence hardware, built in a remote area of central Myanmar two decades ago by the previous junta that ruled for 22 years.

"This was a success. This drone attack was long-range and a stronger attack than normal. We have plans to do more," NUG spokesperson Kyaw Zaw said.

"This is a time when the junta is forcing conscription and causing fear for the people. With this attack on their nerve centre, Naypyitaw, we want to highlight that they don't have a safe place."


The junta has been hit by Western sanctions and is grappling to contain uprisings around the country of 53 million people, while also trying to stabilise a fledgling economy that made big gains during a decade of democracy but wilted after the coup.

AMyanmar is locked in a civil war between the military on one side and, on the other, a loose alliance of ethnic minority rebels and a civilian militia movement that emerged in response to the junta's bloody crackdown on anti-coup protests.

The military has been accused by Western governments of systematic atrocities, including executions and torture, and excessive use of air strikes and artillery in civilian areas.

It has dismissed that as misinformation and says it is targeting "terrorists".

The People's Defence Force in Naypyitaw said its special forces and what it called its Kloud Drone branch and Lethal Weapon branch carried out Thursday's attack under the instruction of the NUG's defence ministry. It did not provide details.

It happened just over a week after Myanmar's ruler, Min Aung Hlaing, addressed an Armed Forces Day parade in Naypyitaw, when he said he was holding power only temporarily and called for unity among the people and army to fight what he called foreign-backed militants seeking to destroy the country.

Myanmar's military-installed president last year said the country was at risk of breaking apart due to the rebellion.

In an interview uploaded on the NUG's media channel late on Thursday, its permanent secretary, Naing Htoo Aung, said Min Aung Hlaing's residence had also been targeted on Thursday, adding 30 drones were used.

"They have spent millions of dollars on a complex defence system including air defences. It is the place where the military council assumed no attack could happen," he said.

"That this 3-year-old defence force was able to attack that kind of place shows a big step forward in the revolution."

Source: Reuters