UN “horrified” by massacre of dozens of civilians in Myanmar | United Nations News
A senior United Nations official said he was “horrified” by reports that at least 35 civilians were killed and their bodies burned in eastern Myanmar, demanding that the government launch a “full and transparent investigation”.
Two employees of the non-profit organization Save the Children are still missing after their vehicle was among those attacked and burned in the incident in Kaya state.
A monitoring group and local media blamed the attack on military troops.
“I condemn this serious incident and all attacks on civilians across the country, which are prohibited by international humanitarian law,” said United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths. said in a press release on Sunday.
I am horrified by reports that 35 civilians have been killed in Kayah State, #Myanmar Dec 24
Of them @sauve_enfants aid workers are also missing.
I condemn all attacks on civilians and call on the authorities to investigate.
My statement: https://t.co/2s7BoeOGwA
– Martin Griffiths (@UNReliefChief) December 26, 2021
“I call on the authorities to immediately open a full and transparent investigation into the incident so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice quickly,” Griffiths said.
“Further, I call on the Myanmar armed forces and all armed groups in Myanmar to take all measures to protect civilians from harm,” he added.
The US embassy in Myanmar said on Sunday it was dismayed by “the barbaric attack in Kayah state which killed at least 35 civilians, including women and children.”
“We will continue to press for the perpetrators of the ongoing campaign of violence against the Burmese people to be held accountable,” he said in a statement posted on social media.
We are appalled by this barbaric attack in Kayah State which killed at least 35 civilians, including women and children. We will continue to hold the perpetrators of the ongoing campaign of violence against the Burmese people to account. #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar https://t.co/Qz1eytOWGL
– U.S. Embassy in Myanmar (@USEmbassyBurma) December 26, 2021
The ongoing turmoil
Myanmar has been in political chaos since the military toppled the elected government of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in February, alleging fraud in an election her party won.
More than 1,300 people have been killed in a crackdown by security forces, according to a local watch group.
Groups known as the People’s Defense Forces (PDF) have sprung up across the country to fight the military government and have dragged the troops into a bloody standoff of clashes and reprisals.
Photos emerged on social media on Saturday purporting to show two burnt down trucks and a car on a highway in Hpruso township, Kayah state, with charred remains of bodies inside.
A member of a local PDF group said on Saturday morning that its fighters found the vehicles after learning that the military had stopped several vehicles in Hpruso after clashes with its fighters nearby on Friday.
“When we went to check the area this morning, we found burnt corpses in two trucks. We found 27 corpses, “he told AFP news agency on Saturday on condition of anonymity.
“We found 27 skulls,” said another witness who did not wish to be named, and who said there were other corpses that could not be counted.
Save the Children said later on Saturday that two of its Burmese employees were “caught” in the incident and were missing.
The pair were returning home after doing humanitarian work in the area, the charity said in a statement, adding that it has since suspended work in several areas.
The Burmese army had previously said its troops were attacked in Hpruso on Friday after trying to stop seven cars driving “suspiciously”.
The troops killed several people in the ensuing clash, spokesman Zaw Min Tun told AFP, without giving details.
The Myanmar Witness Monitor said it confirmed local media reports and testimonies from local fighters “that 35 people, including children and women, were burned and killed by the army on December 24 in Hpruso commune” .
Satellite data also showed that a fire occurred around 1:00 p.m. (06:30 GMT) on Friday in Hpruso, he added.
AFP said it was unable to confirm information about the clash, but its digital verification reporters said images supposed to show the incident did not appear online until Friday evening.
PDF groups have surprised the military with their efficiency, analysts say, as the military struggles to break resistance to its regime.