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In Myanmar’s conflict-torn Kayah state, women, children and the elderly were killed and their bodies burned by Junta military forces on Saturday, according to a local resident, media reports, and a local human rights group.
The Karenni Human Rights Group reported finding the burnt bodies of internally displaced people, including women, children, and elders, near Mo So village of Hpruso town.
On their Facebook Page, the group said: “We strongly denounce the inhumane and brutal killings that violate human rights.”
According to state media, a number of “terrorists with weapons” from opposition forces were shot and killed by the Myanmar military. According to a state media report, the internally displaced people were in seven vehicles and did not stop for the military when they approached.
The human rights group and local media shared alarming images of bodies burned to ashes on burned-out truckbeds.
An opposition militia, the Karenni National Defence Force, says that the dead were not its members, but civilians seeking refuge from the fighting.
One of the group’s commanders, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters, “We were so shocked at seeing the dead bodies of all sizes.”
A villager who asked not to be named for security reasons said he was aware that a fire had broken out on Friday night, but was unable to get to the scene since shots were being fired.
“I saw burnt bodies this morning, as well as clothes of children and women,” he told Reuters by phone.
A rocket-propelled grenade shattered a house near the Thai border as Myanmar forces continue to fight a rebel group, Thai officials said Saturday. However, no one was injured.
A day earlier, Myanmar’s armed forces conducted airstrikes on an area controlled by the Karen National Union (KNU) near the border, as the military engaged in an escalation of fighting that erupted last week, forcing thousands of people to flee to Thailand.
Almost 11 months ago, the military overthrew the elected government of Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. They claimed fraud in an election that her party had won in November. The results of the election had been declared fair by international observers.
Angry civil rights activists have taken up arms in response to the recent coup and subsequent crackdown on protestors. The country has seen numerous local resistance groups emerge in response to the recent coup and crackdown.
Several opponents and rebels have been outlawed, labelled terrorists or traitors by the military, including a self-proclaimed National Unity Government that seeks to influence international politics and prevent the military from consolidating power.