More than 30 people, including women and children, were killed and their bodies burnt in Myanmar‘s conflict-torn Kayah state on Friday, according to a local resident, media reports and a local human rights group.
Karenni Human Rights Group said they found the burnt bodies of internally displaced people, including elders, women and children killed by the military that rules Myanmar, near Mo So village of Hpruso town.
According to reports, the incident took place due to infighting between armed resistance groups and Myanmar’s army near Koi Ngan village, which is just beside Mo So. The villagers were arrested by the troops while they were escaping to the refugee camps in the western part of the village.
The scrimmage broke out between the members of ethnic guerrilla forces, known as the Karenni National Progressive Party, and the army. Those opposed to the army drove in “suspicious” vehicles and attacked security forces after refusing to stop.
The vehicles were stopped and destroyed in a fire, according to reports by local media. Witnesses have revealed that bodies were tied to ropes before being set on fire.
The Myanmar military confirmed the murder and said that they had killed an unspecified number of people and termed them “terrorists with weapons” from the opposition.
According to Myanmar’s local media, around 10 villagers, including children and women were arrested by the army. When four members of a local paramilitary force went to negotiate their release, they were shot in the head. Two workers for the non-profit group Save the Children remained missing after their vehicle was among several that were attacked and burned in the incident in Kaya state.
A high-ranking United Nation’s official says he is “horrified” by reports that at least 35 civilians have been killed and their bodies burned in eastern Myanmar, demanding the government launch a “thorough and transparent investigation”.
“I condemn this grievous incident and all attacks against civilians throughout the country, which are prohibited under international humanitarian law,” United Nations Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths said in a statement on Sunday.
“I call upon the authorities to immediately commence a thorough and transparent investigation into the incident so that perpetrators can be swiftly brought to justice,” said Griffiths.
“Moreover, I call upon the Myanmar Armed Forces and all armed groups in Myanmar to take all measures to protect civilians from harm,” he added.
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a monitoring group cited by the United Nations, says more than 10,700 civilians have been detained and 1,300 killed by security forces since the military seized power. The military says AAPP is biased and uses exaggerated data and that hundreds of soldiers have also been killed.