One villager said he had seen four Russian-made helicopters — two Mi-35Ms and two Mil Mi-17s — carry out the attack, firing rockets and dropping soldiers onto the school grounds.
Let Yet Kone village is in the Sagaing region, a stronghold of the resistance. For months, the army has been trying to regain control of the area.
The roads are controlled by the People’s Defense Forces, so the military relies heavily on air bombardment. Military commanders have fled their offices in the region. Almost daily, there are battles between the army and the rebels, as well as bombings by urban guerrillas.
The school, located in a monastery, was set up in secret after the coup. Teachers in the village, like thousands of others throughout Myanmar, have been on strike since the coup, refusing to work in government schools as part of a nationwide protest movement.
But many went on to teach in schools that were set up privately, like the one in Let Yet Kone, or established by the National Unity Government, a shadow government in exile. The junta has outlawed such schools, arresting teachers as well as support staff, like drivers who deliver textbooks.
The volunteer teachers at the Let Yet Kone school, where 249 elementary and middle school students took lessons, had taught the children how to hide in the event of an airstrike. That, said one teacher, is why most of them escaped — except for some of the youngest, who struggled to remember what to do.