Kachin, Myanmar: Dozens killed by military airstrikes during celebration event


According to local news agencies and international organizations, dozens of people were killed in military airstrikes on a holiday in Myanmar’s mountainous Kachin state on Sunday.

The victims were attending an event, including a concert marking the 62nd anniversary of the Kachin Independence Organization, the political wing of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) group, Reuters reported, citing KIA spokesman Nav Bo.

Reuters and local news agency The Irrawaddy reported that at least 50 people had been killed.

CNN cannot independently verify the death toll and has reached out to the military for comment.

The Kachin Alliance, a Washington-based Kachin community organization, said Kachin artists, local elders and KIO leaders were among the dead.

“Following the massacre, families struggled to get news about their loved ones due to a prolonged internet blackout in Hpakant,” the statement said. “We are also concerned to learn of the report on the denial of medical access to victims of the massacre.”

Myanmar has been in conflict since the military junta seized power in a coup last February. Human rights activists and observers say that freedoms and rights in the country have deteriorated since then; state executions returned and the number of documented violent attacks on schools by the military increased.

Many armed rebel groups have emerged, and millions of others continue to resist the junta’s rule through strikes, boycotts, and other forms of civil disobedience.

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

The attack “clearly violates international law, including the provisions of the Geneva Conventions,” the statement said, urging the international community and the United Nations to “take immediate and effective measures.”

The NUG seeks to be recognized as the legitimate government of Myanmar, operating in secret or through its members abroad.

Sunday’s attack sparked international outrage, with the United Nations expressing concern over reports that more than 100 civilians were injured.

“While the UN continues to investigate the details of this attack, we offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed or injured. The UN calls on the injured to provide immediate medical assistance if necessary,” said a statement on Monday.

It added that the army’s use of “excessive and disproportionate” force against unarmed civilians was “unacceptable” and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

The ambassadors of Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States also issued a joint statement on Monday 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 obligations 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 the execution of pro-democracy activists, the imprisonment of journalists and the targeting of civilians – continued “in the face of an effective 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 rethink the approach to the crisis in Myanmar,” said the statement, inviting ASEAN leaders. take action when they meet at their annual summit in November.


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