Ethnic group says Myanmar air attack kills 60 at celebration



Air strikes by Myanmar’s navy killed greater than 60 individuals, together with singers and musicians, attending an anniversary celebration of the Kachin ethnic minority’s major political group, members of the group and a rescue employee mentioned Monday.

The reported attack comes three days earlier than Southeast Asian international ministers are to carry a particular assembly in Indonesia to debate widening violence in Myanmar.

The variety of casualties at Sunday evening’s celebration by the Kachin Independence Organization within the northern state of Kachin gave the impression to be essentially the most in a single air attack because the navy seized energy in February final 12 months from the elected authorities of Aung San Suu Kyi.

(*60*) was inconceivable to independently affirm particulars of the incident, although media sympathetic to the Kachin posted movies displaying what was mentioned to be the attack’s aftermath, with splintered and flattened wood buildings. There was no quick remark from the navy or authorities media.

The United Nations’ workplace in Myanmar mentioned in an announcement that it was “deeply involved and saddened” by experiences of the air strikes.

“What would look like extreme and disproportionate use of power by safety forces in opposition to unarmed civilians is unacceptable and people accountable should be held to account,” it mentioned.

Myanmar has been wracked for many years by rebellions by ethnic minorities in search of autonomy, however anti-government resistance elevated markedly nationwide with the formation of an armed pro-democracy motion opposing final 12 months’s navy takeover.

The Kachin are one of many stronger ethnic insurgent teams and are able to manufacturing a few of their very own armaments. They even have a unfastened alliance with the armed militias of the pro-democracy forces that had been shaped in central Myanmar final 12 months to combat military rule.

Sunday’s celebration of the 62nd anniversary of the founding of the Kachin Independence Organization, which included a live performance, was held at a base additionally used for navy coaching by the Kachin Independence Army, the KIO’s armed wing. (*60*) is positioned close to Aung Bar Lay village in Hpakant township, a distant mountainous space 950 kilometres (600 miles) north of Myanmar’s greatest metropolis, Yangon.

Hpakant is the centre of the world’s greatest and most profitable jade mining trade, from which each the federal government and the rebels derive income.

More than 60 individuals had been killed and about 100 had been injured in Sunday’s attack on the primary day of a three-day celebration of the KIO’s founding, a spokesperson for the Kachin Artists Association instructed The Associated Press by telephone.

He mentioned navy plane dropped 4 bombs on the celebration at about 8 p.m., in keeping with members of his group who had been there. Between 300 and 500 individuals had been in attendance and a Kachin singer and keyboard participant had been among the many lifeless, mentioned the spokesperson, who requested to not be recognized as a result of he feared punishment by the authorities.

Those killed additionally included Kachin officers and troopers, musicians and jade mining enterprise house owners and different civilians, he mentioned. They additionally included at least 10 Kachin navy and enterprise VIPs sitting in entrance of the stage, and cooks working backstage, he added.

The Kachin News Group, a media outlet sympathetic to the KIO, reported the identical variety of casualties and mentioned authorities safety forces blocked the wounded from being handled at hospitals in close by cities.

Col. Naw Bu, a spokesperson for the Kachin Independence Army, mentioned by telephone that KIA troopers, musicians, businesspeople and villagers had been among the many lifeless, however he couldn’t affirm a casualty quantity on account of communications issues. He mentioned the deaths had been a loss for all Kachin individuals, and its group would fly the Kachin flag at half-staff.

An emergency providers rescue employee who was in Hpakant and in addition requested for anonymity mentioned he noticed three navy plane making bombing runs over the celebration floor, only a few kilometres (miles) away. He mentioned he was barred by the KIO from coming into the world however heard that greater than 60 individuals had been killed, together with a KIA brigade commander.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a non-governmental group that tracks killings and arrests, mentioned Friday that 2,377 civilians have died in crackdowns by the safety forces because the military took energy. Its determine, nonetheless, doesn’t at all times embody individuals killed in navy actions within the countryside.

“We concern this attack is a part of a sample of illegal aerial assaults by the navy which has killed and injured civilians in areas managed by armed teams,” Amnesty International’s deputy regional director, Hana Young, mentioned in an announcement.

“The navy has proven ruthless disregard for civilian lives in its escalating marketing campaign in opposition to opponents. (*60*) is tough to imagine the navy didn’t know of a big civilian presence at the location of this attack. The navy should instantly grant entry to medics and humanitarian help to these affected by these air strikes and different civilians in want,” Young mentioned.

Cambodia, the present chair of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations, mentioned Sunday that the group’s international ministers will maintain a particular assembly in Indonesia this week to contemplate the peace course of for Myanmar. Myanmar’s generals have all however shunned the group’s earlier efforts.

“As officers and leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations put together to host high-level conferences within the coming weeks, this attack highlights the necessity to overhaul the strategy to the disaster in Myanmar,” Amnesty International mentioned. “ASEAN has to step up and formulate a extra strong plan of action in order that navy leaders finish this escalating repression.”


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