Myanmar: A bullet fired from the ground struck a passenger on a Myanmar National Airlines flight while he was inside the plane mid-air and injured him. The aircraft’s fuselage had been broken through by the bullet, the incident occured on Sep-30.

The plane was four miles north of the airport and flying at an altitude of around 3,500 feet on its approach to landing at Loikaw. The man was hit on his right cheek by the bullet. Photos of the incident show a hole on the lower fuselage of the aircraft caused by the bullet, and the injured man holding a tissue on his right cheek, while other blood-soaked tissues are seen in the adjacent seat.

After the aircraft touched down in Loikaw, Myanmar, the passenger was taken urgently to Loikaw People’s Hospital. All flights to the city have been indefinitely cancelled, the Myanmar National Airlines office in Loikaw reported after the incident. The ATR 72 aircraft of the Myanmar National Airlines plane was reportedly carrying 63 passengers.

A statement issued by the authorities said, “A passenger on board was injured on the right cheek because of a gunshot. The injured passenger is now being given treatment at Loikaw People’s Hospital and security forces are performing security process in the area where the attack happened.”

The military government of Myanmar claims that rebel

troops in the state of Kayah fired at the aircraft, according to a report by The Mirror. The junta government has blamed the anti-junta militia and the Karenni National Progressive Party for the attack.

Rebel groups, however, denied the accusations. A spokesperson for Myanmar’s ruling military council, Major General Zaw Min Tun, said on state television: “I want to say that this kind of attack on the passenger plane is a war crime. People and organisations who want peace must condemn this issue wholly.”

After the army ousted an Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League of Democracy (NLD) government and seized power last year, the state of Kayah has witnessed fierce conflict between military and rebel groups. 

Peaceful rallies were held in response to the takeover in February of last year, but a violent crackdown on the protesters prompted hundreds of people to organize militia groups as part of a People’s Defense Force to resist the military takeover.

The military government claimed that the People’s Defense Force and the Karenni National Progressive Party, a rebel militia, were responsible for the shooting. However, the Karenni National Progressive Party head Khu Daniel refuted the allegation and insisted that his group had not given orders for its members to fire at civilians or passenger flights.

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