Report: Women, children among dozens dead in Myanmar
A witness and reports from Myanmar say government troops gathered the villagers, some believed to be women and children, shot more than 30 people and set fire to the bodies.
BANGKOK – Myanmar government troops rallied villagers, some believed to be women and children, shot dead more than 30 people and set fire to bodies, a witness and other reports said on Saturday.
The alleged photos of the aftermath of the Christmas Eve massacre east of the village of Mo So, on the outskirts of the municipality of Hpruso, in the state of Kayah, where refugees were taking refuge from an offensive by the army, spread to social networks in the country, fueling outrage against the army that took power in the country. February.
The accounts could not be independently verified. The photos showed the charred bodies of more than 30 people in three burned vehicles.
A villager who went to the scene told The Associated Press that the victims had fled clashes between armed resistance groups and the Myanmar army near the village of Koi Ngan, located next to Mo So, Friday. He said they were killed after being arrested by troops on their way to refugee camps in the western part of the municipality.
The government has not commented on the allegations, but a report published Saturday in the state newspaper Myanma Alinn said clashes near Mo So erupted on Friday when members of ethnic guerrilla forces, known as the Karenni National Progressive Party, and opponents of the army drove in “suspicious” vehicles and attacked security forces after refusing to stop.
The newspaper reported that they included new members who were going to attend a training session to fight the army and that the seven vehicles in which they were traveling were destroyed in a fire. He gave no further details about the killings.
The witness who spoke to the AP said the remains were cremated unrecognized and children’s and women’s clothing was found along with medical supplies and food.
“The bodies were tied with ropes before being set on fire,” said the witness, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared for their safety.
He did not see the time when they were killed, but said he believed some of them were residents of the village of Mo So who were reportedly arrested by troops on Friday. He denied that the captured were members of locally organized militia groups.
Myanmar’s independent media reported on Friday that 10 Mo So residents, including children, were arrested by the army and four members of the local border guard paramilitary forces who went to negotiate for their release were linked and shot in the head by the military.
The witness said villagers and anti-government militia groups abandoned the bodies when military troops arrived near Mo So while the bodies were being prepared for cremation. The fighting was still intense near the village.
“It’s a heinous crime and the worst incident at Christmas. We strongly condemn this massacre as a crime against humanity, “said Banyar Khun Aung, director of the Karenni Human Rights Group.
Earlier this month, government troops were also accused of seizing villagers, some believed to be children, tying them up and killing them. An opposition leader, Dr. Sasa, who uses only one name, said the civilians were burned alive.
A video of the aftermath of the December 7 assault – apparently in retaliation for an attack on a military convoy – showed the charred bodies of 11 people lying in a circle in the middle of what appeared to be the remains of a shack.
Meanwhile, fighting resumed on Saturday in a neighboring state on the border with Thailand, where thousands have fled in search of refuge. Local authorities said Myanmar’s army had launched airstrikes and heavy artillery in Lay Kay Kaw, a small town controlled by Karen ethnic guerrillas, since Friday.
Army action prompted several Western governments, including the U.S. embassy, to issue a joint statement condemning “serious human rights violations committed by the military regime across the country.”
“We call on the regime to immediately cease its indiscriminate attacks on Karen’s state and across the country, and to ensure the safety of all civilians in accordance with international law,” the joint statement said.