Dozens were reportedly killed in military airstrikes at a festive event in MyanmarOn Sunday, the mountainous Kachin state drew international condemnation of the junta, which seized power in the country more than a year and a half ago.
The victims were attending an event organized by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) to mark the 62nd anniversary of the political wing of an armed ethnic ethnic rebel group, the Secretary-General of the Kachin Independence Office, La Nan, said on Tuesday.
La Nan said both men and women were among about 50 people killed, though no children have been identified among the victims so far. He added that 54 others were injured, many of them with burns and shrapnel injuries.
CNN cannot independently verify the number of reported deaths.
La Nan said the event, which included musical performances, was one of the group’s most important annual celebrations, with “hundreds, if not thousands” of including artists, business owners and elders in attendance. He said many traveled from all over the state to attend.
“We understand that (the air strikes) were largely intended to cause chaos and immense pain to the public, in large quantities and with as much damage as possible,” La Nan said.
Military council that overthrew the government In a bloody coup last February, he claimed on Monday that reports of civilians killed by air strikes were “fake news”.
It claimed that the airstrikes targeted the KIA military base, in response to the group’s previous raids and attacks on passenger ships along the Irrawaddy River. It also claimed that it followed international agreements “in order to ensure peace and stability in the region.”
La Nan refuted the junta’s claim, saying that the celebration took place in A Nang Pa – a small area where travelers often stop at a market. He said it was “nowhere close to the military installations.”
He added that although KIO employees were present, “they were not there as military personnel but as actors”, which helped to welcome guests and make presentations.
Since the coup, rights groups and observers have said that freedoms and rights in Myanmar have deteriorated; State executions have resumed, and the number of documented violent attacks by the military on schools has increased.
Myanmar’s shadow government, the Government of National Unity – a group of ousted lawmakers, coup opponents and representatives of ethnic minorities – condemned the attack in a statement on Monday, saying the military “willfully committed yet another mass murder”.
The statement said the attack “clearly violates international laws such as the provisions of the Geneva Conventions,” and urged the international community and the United Nations to “urgently take effective measures.”
The Government of National Unity operates clandestinely or through members abroad, and seeks to be recognized as the legitimate government of Myanmar.
Sunday’s attack drew international condemnation, with the United Nations saying it was concerned about reports of more than 100 civilians affected.
“As the United Nations continues to verify the details of this attack, we offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of all those who were killed or injured. The United Nations calls for urgent medical treatment to be provided to those injured as needed,” she said in a statement on Monday.
It added that the army’s use of “excessive and disproportionate” force against unarmed civilians was “unacceptable” and called on those responsible to be held accountable.
La Nan, the Kuwait Investment Office official, said the military closed roads around A Nang Ba after the attack, imposed a blackout on the internet and communications, and deployed plainclothes officers to local hospitals – meaning victims of the attack have little access to medical services. Care.
They take refuge in the nearby makeshift clinics and rudimentary medical facilities in the mining district. He said that most of their relatives are very concerned about the lack of access to medicines,” describing this as a “deliberate blockade.”
He said KIO and the local community are now trying to recover all the victims, and “bury them properly according to our religious traditions and rituals” – adding that about 10 bodies have not been identified.
CNN cannot independently verify the current situation.
On Monday, the Australian ambassadors, 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 its disregard for its obligation to protect civilians and respect the principles and rules of international humanitarian law,” the joint statement said.
The non-profit Amnesty International said in a statement that the military’s actions – including executing pro-democracy activists, jailing journalists and targeting civilians – had allowed it to continue “in the face of an ineffective international response”.
“As officials and leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) prepare to host high-level meetings in the coming weeks, this attack highlights the need to reform the approach to the crisis in Myanmar,” the statement said, urging ASEAN leaders to take action when they meet for their annual summit in November.