Myanmar’s ethnic rebels shoot down military helicopter as anti-coup protests continue (VIDEOS)

A major Burmese ethnic rebel group has claimed to have shot down a helicopter belonging to the country’s military. The incident comes amid continuing protests against the recent coup that ousted Myanmar’s civilian government.

The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) said the helicopter had been shot down on Monday in Myanmar’s northernmost province of Kachin. The aircraft is said to have been destroyed after Myanmar’s military launched airstrikes against the rebels.

“They used jet fighters and helicopter gunships since eight this morning to attack our troops. Our troops fired back and this was how the helicopter was shot down,” a spokesman for the militant group has said, without elaborating what weaponry had been used to bring the helicopter down.

Footage circulating online shows the helicopter – likely a Mi-17 transport-assault aircraft – sustaining an apparent hit from a portable anti-aircraft missile launcher.

It was not immediately clear how many people were on board the aircraft and the crew and passengers’ fate remains unknown. Myanmar’s military has remained silent on the incident and did not confirm or deny the downing of the aircraft.

It was not immediately clear how many people were on board the aircraft and the crew and passengers’ fate remains unknown. Myanmar’s military has remained silent on the incident and did not confirm or deny the downing of the aircraft.

The KIA’s claimed downing comes as anti-coup protests continue across Myanmar. On Monday, vigils commemorating victims of the protests, as well as several marches, have been held across the country.

Multiple people were killed over the weekend during protests that have been called by their organizers “the global Myanmar spring revolution.” The protests, being held on an almost daily basis for three months already, have resulted in the deaths of at least 765 protesters, according to the tally by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners advocacy group.

The country was plunged into chaos on February 1, when the military seized power, detaining democratically-elected civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other key politicians. The military alleged the comfortable win back in November, secured by then-ruling party, was a result of election fraud. The coup ended a short period of civilian rule in Myanmar, which had been controlled by the military for decades since the early 1960s until 2011.

Source: RT

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