More Than 30 People Dead in Myanmar's Kayah State as Blame Falls to Military Junta
23:11 GMT 25.12.2021 (Updated: 23:12 GMT 25.12.2021)
More than 30 people are said to have been killed and burned in Myanmar’s Kayah state. It is believed women, children, and the elderly are among the victims, according to reports.
The Karenni Human Rights Group, local media reporting and at least one resident have together asserted that the violence was carried out by members of Myanmar’s ruling military junta.
A village resident said, “I went to see this morning. I saw bodies that had been burned, and also the clothes of children and women spread around.”
State media reported that on Saturday seven vehicles had not stopped for a military checkpoint. Myanmar's military later released a statement saying it had shot and killed individuals it deemed “terrorists with weapons.”
The military added that those killed were armed forces from the nearby Mo So village of Hpruso town, and did not specify the number of those killed.
NGO Save the Children has revealed that two of its staffers in Myanmar had been "caught up" in the incident and were presently considered missing. It was also detailed that the organization had in its possession confirmation that the vehicle used by staffers had been "attacked and burned out."
"We are horrified at the violence carried out against innocent civilians and our staff, who are dedicated humanitarians, supporting millions of children in need across Myanmar," chief executive Inger Ashing said in a statement.
Kayah state has been conflict-torn since the Myanmar military led a coup d’etat nearly 11 months ago. Amid global condemnation, the junta has led to local protests and some have taken up arms.
The Karenni Nationalities Defence Force, a civilian-military force in opposition to the military junta, said the dead were civilians seeking refuge, and were not members of their ranks.
A commander in the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force said they were “shocked” by the indiscriminate killing.
The military has labeled its opponents “traitors” and “terrorists.”