Myanmar: Women and children killed in an army attack

According to witnesses and other sources, Myanmar government soldiers collected up villagers, some of whom were believed to be women and children, fatally shot more than 30 people, and burned their bodies on fire on Saturday.

The alleged images of the aftermath of the Christmas Eve slaughter in eastern Mo So hamlet, just outside Hpruso municipality in Kayah state, where refugees were seeking protection from an army onslaught, went around the nation, increasing resentment against the military, which took control in February.

The accounts were unable to be independently confirmed. The photographs depicted the charred carcasses of more than 30 individuals in three burned-out automobiles.

According to a resident who stated he went to the scene, the casualties escaped fighting between armed opposition groups and Myanmar's army in Koi Ngan village, which is next to Mo So, on Friday. He said they were slain after being apprehended by military on their way to refugee camps on the township's western outskirts.

The government has not responded to the allegations, but according to a Saturday report in the state-run Myanma Alinn daily newspaper, the fighting near Mo So began on Friday when members of ethnic guerrilla forces known as the Karenni National Progressive Party and those opposed to the military drove in "suspicious" vehicles and attacked security forces after refusing to stop.

According to the newspaper story, they included new recruits who were headed to training to fight the army, and the seven cars they were riding in were destroyed in a fire. It didn't go into any further information concerning the killings.

According to a witness, the bones were charred beyond recognition, and children's and women's clothing, as well as medical supplies and food, were discovered.

“The bodies were tied with ropes before being set on fire,” said the witness.

 He was not present at the time they were slain, but he suspected some of them were Mo So people who had been apprehended by military on Friday. He disputed that those apprehended belonged to locally organized militia organizations.

According to Myanmar's independent media, the army arrested 10 Mo So villagers, including children, and four members of the local paramilitary Border Guard Forces who went to negotiate their release were reportedly tied up and shot in the head by the military.

“It’s a heinous crime and the worst incident during Christmas. We strongly condemn that massacre as a crime against humanity,”. Karenni Human Rights Group director Banyar Khun Aung, said.

Government forces were also accused earlier this month of collecting up locals, some of whom were thought to be minors, tying them up, and murdering them. Dr. Sasa, an opposition leader who goes under one name, said that civilians were burnt alive.

The military's move triggered a number of Western nations, including the US Embassy, to release an united statement denouncing "severe human rights violations committed by the military dictatorship throughout the country." 

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