Government forces massacred at least 28 people, including three Buddhist monks, in southern Shan state, the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) said.
The KNDF is one of several ethnic armies fighting Myanmar’s regular forces following the February 1, 2021 coup.
On Saturday, the village of Nan Nein was shelled before soldiers entered and killed civilians who had taken refuge in a local monastery.
A video released by the KNDF shows at least 21 bodies on the floor and walls of the monastery riddled with bullet holes.
“It was like the [military] lined them up in front of the monastery and brutally shot them all, including the monks,” a KNDF spokesman said.
Seven other bodies were later found not far from the village, the group told the BBC.
Like last year, fighting has intensified in recent months, aided by the dry season, while the monsoon season, which runs from May to October, generally makes it more difficult for aircraft and ground forces to operate. .
According to another local organization, the western state of Chin has seen at least one attack per day by planes in the first two months of 2023.
Nan Nein is located along a highway that connects Shan State to Kayah State and is considered crucial for the resupply of local ethnic armies.
The area is inhabited by the Shan, Karenni and Pa-o ethnic groups, but unlike the first two, the Pa-o are allied with Myanmar’s ruling junta and have received strong military support in recent weeks in an attempt to retake the villages occupied by anti-coup forces.
The villagers probably thought they would be safe inside the monastery because the monks are highly respected.
Since the coup, inter-ethnic relations have changed. The largest group in the country, the Bamar, mostly Buddhists, is concentrated in the central region; for this reason, they have been spared the fighting of the past.
Since independence from the United Kingdom in 1948, ethnic armies have operated along the country’s borders and fought against the central government for greater autonomy.
After the coup two years ago, these same forces not only united, but also entered into an alliance with the People’s Defense Forces (PDF), the armed group loyal to the Government of National Unity. (NUG) in exile, who are predominantly of Bamar ethnicity. from central Myanmar. For many observers, this is unheard of.
Meanwhile, the United Nations reported that 40,000 homes have been destroyed since fighting broke out and around one and a half million people have been displaced; at least eight million children are out of school, while 15 million people are at risk of going hungry.
(SOURCE: Asia News)
#Military #Massacre #Civilians #Monastery #Independent #Newspaper #Nigeria
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