Myanmar, which has been mired by the Military coup for the past two years, again witnessed a massacre in the last week. According to multiple local media reports, the bodies of at least 22 people including children found in the Southern Shan region. Among those killed, bodies of Buddhist monks and a woman were also found in Nam Nein village.
Members of armed resistance groups accused the military government of the massacre but the so-called administration denied the charges.
Critics of the military say there is strong evidence that the army has repeatedly carried out war crimes since seizing power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021. Opposition to military rule has turned into what some U.N. experts have described as a civil war.
Human Rights Volker Turk accused the ruling generals
Earlier this month, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk accused the ruling generals of implementing “a scorched earth policy in an attempt to stamp out opposition.”
Anti-government resistance groups and villagers who had fled Nam Nein earlier but kept in touch by phone with the monastery said about 30 people had been sheltering in its main building since fighting in the area escalated last month.
Exactly what happened Saturday morning is unclear, but the aftermath was documented in photos and video.
Those released on social media by the anti-government Karenni Nationalities Defense Force showed monks and other men with apparent bullet wounds lying near and against the wall of the monastery’s main building. They also show pools of blood and bullet holes dotting the wall.
The Pa-O area is next to Kayah State, where the Karenni, an ethnic minority fighting against the government, are dominant.
100 soldiers fired
A local leader of the Karenni guerrillas who took the photos said that his group’s snipers in the surrounding area had used their rifle scopes to watch about 100 soldiers firing their guns and torching houses as they entered the village Saturday morning.
He said the snipers were unable to watch more, because they had to withdraw when coming under fire from government aircraft.
The Karenni guerrilla, who asked not to be identified because of fear of reprisals by the military, acknowledged that his forces had not witnessed the killings, but had only seen the bodies when they entered the village late Saturday and took photos. He strongly denied the resistance forces had been responsible for the killings, as had been alleged by the army and its supporters.
(With inputs from AP)
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