The UN is “horrified” by the massacre of 35 people in Myanmar | International


Vehicles burned after the attack in the town of Moso, last Friday in the Burmese state of Kayah.
Vehicles burned after the attack in the town of Moso, last Friday in the Burmese state of Kayah.AP

The United Nations joins the multiple convictions against the Burmese military junta for the latest massacre in Myanmar, the day before Christmas. Martin Griffiths, Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and coordinator of the UN Emergency Aid, denounced this Sunday the death of at least 35 civilians and the disappearance of two workers from the Save the Childen organization in the small town of Moso, in the municipality of Hpruso, in the east of the country, where a Christian community resides. In a statement, the British diplomat was “horrified” by the massacre, which, according to opposition to the military government, was carried out by Tatmadaw (Burmese Army) troops as part of an “ethnic cleansing operation.”

“Credible reports claim that at least 35 people, including at least one child, were forced to abandon their vehicles, killed and burned. Two humanitarian workers remain unaccounted for, “said Griffiths, who also urged the authorities to” immediately initiate a thorough and transparent investigation into the incident so that the perpetrators of the crime can be brought to justice. “

On Saturday, dozens of charred bodies were found inside several completely destroyed vehicles in the vicinity of Moso in Kayah State, some 150 miles southeast of the Burmese capital Naipyidó. The Government of National Unity – the shadow Cabinet made up of legislators fired as a result of the February 1 coup, representatives of the opposition and members of ethnic groups, which claims to be the legitimate representation of the Burmese people – has attributed the attack to the board led by Min Aung Hlaing, in response to resistance groups operating in this area.

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Kayah was one of the first regions of the country where ethnic guerrillas rose up against the Tatmadaw after the riot. For decades, the Army has intermittently fought with various armed groups of the Karenni minority, the majority in this state and which for years have sought autonomy from the central government. In the area, a frequent scene of cruelty between the military and the rebels, tensions had escalated in recent weeks.

The Government of National Unity asserts that the troops were carrying out a “cleaning operation” in the municipality in order to expel the residents, a brutal practice that the Burmese Army frequently used during the 2017 campaign against the Muslim minority. Rohingya. The opposition claims that troops blocked access to Moso, trapped residents trying to escape in cars and trucks, tied them up and burned them alive.

The pro-government media have limited themselves to reporting that the military killed an unknown number of “armed terrorists” on Friday, belonging to guerrillas opposed to the regime. The state newspaper Myanmar Alin He noted that the fighting took place after members of the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) group refused to stop their vehicles during a routine check. However, the KNDF emphasizes that the victims are civilians who are not part of its ranks, according to information collected on the independent news portal Myanmar Now.

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Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, believes that the deceased were probably locals fleeing the military troops that had reinforced their presence in the region on Friday.

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“We are appalled at the violence against innocent civilians and our own staff, who are dedicated humanitarian workers helping millions of children in need across Myanmar,” Inger Ashing, executive director of Save the Children, an NGO present in the country since 1995. The organization has announced that they will temporarily suspend work in the states of Kayah, Karen and Magway, and have condemned that “attacks against aid workers cannot be tolerated.”

The conflict has also escalated in recent days in Karen, a region neighboring Kayah and bordering Thailand, where the rebel group Karen National Union is also challenging the military junta. Around midnight on Thursday, the Army launched at least two air strikes against the guerrillas. It is estimated that since December 15, more than 10,000 people have fled Karen, including more than 4,200 who, according to the Thai Foreign Ministry, have already crossed the border. Thai Foreign spokesperson Tanee Sangrat reported on Friday that the two attacks also affected Thais residing on the border between the two countries. Several non-governmental organizations are asking Bangkok not to close its borders due to the arrival of refugees.

Ancient Burma has been in the deepest chaos for almost a year. The leader de facto of the Government deposed by the Army on February 1, Aung San Suu Kyi, under house arrest since then, is waiting to return to court to face several of the charges against him. The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner is charged with a total of 11 crimes that could take her more than a century behind bars. On December 6, she was already sentenced to two years in prison for inciting violence and failing to comply with measures to contain the covid-19 pandemic.

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Despite the violence exerted by the junta against dissent, peaceful protests, new civilian militias that emerged in opposition to the Tatmadaw and guerrillas formed by ethnic minorities for decades, have made it impossible for the Min Aung Hlaing Administration to achieve control complete about the country. According to the Association for Political Prisoners of Myanmar, more than 1,300 people have been killed by the military and almost 8,300 are arrested or convicted.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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