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Myanmar: Women, children among dozens killed, report says

BANGKOK – Myanmar government troops rounded up villagers, some believed to be women and children, shooting dead more than 30 people and burning bodies, a witness and other reports said on Saturday.

The photos purportedly show the aftermath of the Christmas Eve massacre in the eastern village of Mo So, just outside the town of Hpruso in Kayah state, where refugees are taking shelter from an army attack, went viral on social media in the country, sparking outrage against the military in power. February.

Accounts cannot be independently verified. The photos show the charred bodies of more than 30 people in three burned-out cars.

A resident who claimed to have arrived at the scene told the AP news agency that the victims had fled fighting between armed resistance groups and the Myanmar army near the village of Koi Ngan, right next to Mo So, on Friday. . He said they were killed after being captured by the army upon arrival at refugee camps on the west side of town.

The government has not commented on the allegations, but a report in the state-run Burmese daily Alinn on Saturday said fighting near Mo So broke out on Friday when members of the guerrilla force Nationalist Radical Party, known as the Karenni National Radical Party, and opponents of the army drove “suspicious” vehicles and attacked security forces after refusing to stop.

The report said they included new members who would be taking part in training to fight the army, and that seven cars they were riding in were destroyed in a fire. It gave no further details about the murder.

Witnesses who spoke to the AP said the remains had been burned beyond recognition, and that children’s and women’s clothing was found along with medical supplies and food.

The unidentified witness said: “The bodies were tied with ropes before being set on fire.

He did not see when they were killed, but said he believed some of them were Mo So villagers who were captured by the military on Friday. He denied that those arrested were members of local organized militia groups.

Myanmar’s independent media reported on Friday that 10 Mo So villagers including children had been detained by the military, and that four members of the local paramilitary Border Force were negotiating to be granted permission. released was tied up by the army and shot in the head.

Witnesses said villagers and anti-government militia groups abandoned the bodies as the army approached Mo So while the bodies were being prepared for cremation. Fighting was still raging near the village.

Banyar Khun Aung, Director of Karenni Human Rights Group, said: “It is a heinous crime and the worst Christmas incident. We strongly condemn that massacre as a crime against humanity. “.

Earlier this month, government troops were also accused of rounding up villagers, some believed to be children, tying them up and killing them. One opposition leader, Dr Sasa, who used only one name, said civilians were burned alive.

A video of the aftermath of the December 7 attacks – apparently in retaliation for an attack on a military convoy – shows the charred bodies of 11 people lying in a circle between what appear to be the remains of a hut.

Meanwhile, fighting resumed Saturday in a neighboring state on the border with Thailand, where thousands of people have fled to seek shelter. Local officials say the Myanmar military has launched air strikes and heavy artillery on Lay Kay Kaw, a small town controlled by Karen guerrillas, since Friday.

The military’s actions prompted many Western governments including the US Embassy to issue a joint statement condemning the “serious human rights abuses committed by the military regime across the country.”

“We call on the regime to immediately stop indiscriminate attacks in Karen state and across the country, and ensure the safety of all civilians in accordance with international law,” the joint statement said.

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