At least 11 school children were killed in an airstrike and gunfire on a village in Myanmar by rebels.
Rangoon: At least 11 school children were killed in an airstrike and gunfire on a village in Myanmar by rebels. The UN Children’s Agency said in an attack the country’s junta claimed targeted rebels hiding in the area.
Myanmar has been passing through a difficult time since the military overthrew the government in a coup in February last year. Since then, Myanmar has been in complete disarray, with around 2,300 civilians reportedly dead in a crackdown on dissent.
The country’s northwest district of Sagaing has witnessed some of the bloodiest violence and fierce clashes between anti-coup fighters and the military; entire villages have been set ablaze.
Unicef released a statement on Monday stating, “On September 16, an air attack and indiscriminate firing in civilian areas resulted in the deaths of at least 11 children and 15 going missing.”
The video footage received from a local community group reveals a classroom with a pool of blood on the floor; roofs were damaged.
The junta stated that it had sent troops in helicopters to the village after receiving a tip-off that fighters from the Kachin Independence Army, an ethnic rebel group, and a local anti-coup militia were said to be transporting weapons in the area.
The military claimed it had taken explosives and mines from the village and accused the rebel forces of using people as human shields.
Hassan Noor, regional director for Save the Children Asia, sent his condolences to the families and argued that schools should be closed to ensure pupils’ safety. Noor urged prompt action to be taken by the UN Security Council and the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean).
Asean has led futile diplomatic efforts to resolve the Myanmar crisis, and its leaders will meet in Phnom Penh in November to discuss the limited progress on a peace plan.