Myanmar military airstrikes kill about 50, Kachin rebels say | CNN


A military airstrike reportedly killed dozens of people at a celebration event in MyanmarThe mountainous region of Kachin state on Sunday protested the junta that has ruled the country for more than a year and a half, drawing international condemnation.

The victims attended an event organized by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) to mark the 62nd anniversary of the armed ethnic insurgent group’s political wing, Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), KIO Secretary-General La Nan said on Tuesday.

La Nan said the dead included about 50 people, both men and women, but that no children had yet been identified among the victims. Another 54 people were injured, many with burns and elbow lacerations.

CNN cannot independently verify the number of reported deaths.

La Nan said the event, which included a musical performance, was the group’s most significant annual celebration, with “hundreds, if not thousands” in attendance, including artists, business owners and elders. He said that many people had attended from across the state.

“We understand that the intention (of the airstrikes) is to cause chaos and great pain to a large number of people, to cause as much damage as possible, on a large scale,” La Nan said.

The military junta, J Toppled the government In a bloody uprising last February, Monday claimed that reports of civilian deaths from airstrikes were “fake news”.

The airstrikes were claimed to have targeted a KIA military base in retaliation for the group’s earlier raids and attacks on passenger ships along the Irrawaddy River. It also claimed to have followed international conventions to “ensure peace and stability in the region”.

La Nan denied the junta’s claim, saying the festival was held in the A Nang Pa region – a small area where travelers often stop at markets. It is “nowhere near military installations,” he said.

Although KIO personnel were present, “they were there not as military personnel but as entertainers,” helping to welcome guests and perform, he added.

Since the coup, rights groups and observers say freedoms and rights in Myanmar have eroded; Government executions have returned and the number of documented violent attacks on schools by the military has increased.

innumerable armed rebel groups have emerged, while millions of others are underway Resistance to junta rule Through strikes, boycotts and other forms of civil disobedience.

Myanmar’s shadow government, the National Unity Government – a group of ousted lawmakers, coup opponents and representatives of ethnic minority groups – condemned the attack in a statement on Monday, saying the military had “deliberately committed another mass killing.”

The attack “flagrantly violates international law as stipulated in the Geneva Conventions,” the statement said, calling for “immediate and effective action” by the international community and the United Nations.

The NUG works through clandestine or overseas members to seek recognition as the legitimate government of Myanmar.

Sunday’s attack drew international condemnation, with the United Nations expressing concern over reports that more than 100 civilians were affected.

“While the UN is verifying the details of this attack, we offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of all those killed or injured. The UN urges the injured to receive urgent medical treatment as needed,” it said in a statement on Monday.

It said the military’s use of “extreme and disproportionate” force against unarmed civilians was “unacceptable” and those responsible should be held accountable.

KIO official La Nan said the military had sealed off roads around A Nang Pa, implemented internet and telecommunications blackouts and deployed plainclothes officers to local hospitals after the attack – meaning victims of the attack had no access to medical facilities. worry

“They are taking shelter in nearby makeshift clinics and primary medical facilities in the mining area. Most of their relatives are very worried because there is very little access to medicine,” he said, calling it a “deliberate blockade”.

The KIO and the local community are now trying to recover all the victims and “give them a proper burial according to our traditions and rituals,” he said – adding that about 10 bodies were beyond identification.

CNN cannot independently verify the current situation.

On Monday, Australia’s ambassador, CanadaCzech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, GermanyItaly, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States issued a joint statement condemning the strike.

“This attack underscores the military regime’s responsibility for the crisis and instability in Myanmar and the region, and disregards its duty to protect civilians and respect the principles and norms of international humanitarian law,” the joint statement read.

Non-profit organization Amnesty International said in a statement that the military’s actions – including executions of pro-democracy activists, jailing of journalists and targeting of civilians – had been allowed to continue “against an ineffective international response”.

“As officials and leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) prepare to hold high-level meetings in the coming weeks, this attack underscores the need to improve our approach to the crisis in Myanmar,” the statement said, urging ASEAN leaders. to take action when they meet for their annual summit in November.

Source link

Leave a Comment