Myanmar’s military accused of striking refugee camp, killing 29

Around 11 children were killed in the incident

Myanmar-airstrike-kills-29-AFP A girl cries next to a grave site as a mass funeral takes place to bury victims of a military strike on a camp for displaced people near the northern Myanmar town of Laiza | AFP

Myanmar’s military was accused of launching airstrike on a camp in the northern state of Kachin on late Monday that claimed lives of 29 people.

Col. Naw Bu, a spokesperson for the Kachin Independence Army, said 29 people including 11 children were killed in the incident. Also, 57 others got injured in the attacks carried out by air and artillery, he added.

The casualties occurred at the Mung Lai Hkyet displacement camp in the northern part of Laiza, where the headquarters of the rebel KIA is based.

Laiza is about 324 kilometers (200 miles) northeast of Mandalay, Myanmar's second-biggest city.

According to Myanmar's National Unity Government, opposition, a kindergarten, school, church and many civilian houses were destroyed at the camp.

This deliberate and targeted attack by the terrorist military council on civilians fleeing conflict constitutes a blatant crime against humanity and war crime, it said.

The recent developments of the Israel-Hamas conflict was taken advantage and the Myanmar’s military government has launched the airstrike to commit yet another crime against humanity and war crime, it added.

Meanwhile, Naw Bu said that it is unclear how the attack occurred.

In a statement over the phone to state television MRTV, military government spokesperson Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun denied responsibility for the attack but said the military is capable of attacking the headquarters of all of Myanmar's insurgent groups.

Zaw Min Tun said the area where the explosions occurred may have been used to store bombs for drones and unmanned aircraft for the Kachin fighting forces, reported Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Myanmar Witness, an NGO that collects and analyses evidence related to human rights incidents, said they are still investigating the cause.

Since the military overthrew the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021, Myanmar has been in turmoil. Earlier, the military government had used airstrikes in combat against the armed pro- democracy Peoples Defense Forces and ethnic minority guerrilla groups such as the Kachin.

The military claims that it targets only armed guerrilla forces and facilities.

The Kachin are one of the stronger ethnic rebel groups and are capable of manufacturing some of their own armaments. They also have a loose alliance with the armed militias of the pro-democracy forces that were formed to fight army rule.

Last year, the military had carried out airstrikes that hit an anniversary celebration of the Kachin Independence Organization, political wing of the Kachin Independence Army, in Hpakant. It had left around 80 casualties.

Naw Bu had called for the UN organisations to involve in the incident and take action against the culprits.

(With agency inputs)


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