villagers, some of whom were women and children, were rounded up by Myanmar government troops, who then shot and killed more than 30 of them before setting the corpses ablaze, a witness and other reports say.
There was outrage across Burma after photos of the aftermath of the Christmas Eve massacre in the eastern Mo So village, just outside Hpruso township, where refugees were sheltering from an army offensive, were circulated on social media.
No one else was able to independently verify the information. Among the charred remains were the charred bodies of more than 30 people in three burned-out vehicles.
On Friday, the victims fled fighting between armed resistance groups and Myanmar’s army near the nearby village of Koi Ngan, according to a villager who claims he was on the scene. According to him, they were assassinated after being detained by troops on their way to refugee camps in the town’s western part.
Humanitarian workers from a nearby community, two of whom were returning home for the holidays after their work in the area, were “caught up” in the incident and “remain missing.”
According to a statement from the group, “We have confirmed that their private vehicle was attacked and burned out.” A number of people have been reported to have been killed or injured after being extricated from their automobiles by military personnel.
A report in the state-run Myanma Alinn daily newspaper on Saturday claimed that ethnic guerrilla forces, known as the Karenni National Progressive Party, and those opposed to the military started fighting near Mo So on Friday when drivers in “suspicious” vehicles attacked security forces after refusing to stop. The government has not responded to the claims.
The seven vehicles they were traveling in were destroyed in a fire, according to a newspaper report. They included new members who were en route to training to fight the army. It didn’t go into any more detail about the assassinations.
According to the AP’s interview with the eyewitness, the remains were so badly burned that nothing could be recognized, and medical supplies and food were among the items discovered.
a witness, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, described how the victims’ bodies were tied together before being set on fire
Although he was not present at the time of the killings, he claimed to believe that some of the victims were Mo So villagers who had been detained by troops the day before. They were not members of local militia groups, he insisted.
Ten Mo So villagers, including children, were detained by the military on Friday, according to reports in Myanmar’s independent media, and four members of the local paramilitary Border Guard Forces were reportedly tied up and shot in the head while attempting to negotiate their release.
While the bodies were being prepared for cremation, villagers and anti-government militia groups fled the area, according to a witness. Near the village, the fighting had not abated.
“It’s the most heinous crime of the holiday season, and the worst of all time. In the strongest possible terms, we deplore the killing of innocent people “director of the Karenni Human Rights Group, Banyar Khun Aung.
As recently as earlier this month, reports surfaced that government troops had kidnapped and slaughtered villager children. Civilians were allegedly burned alive, according to opposition leader Dr. Sasa, who only goes by one name.
Retaliation for an attack on a military convoy, the Dec. 7 assault left 11 people burned to the ground in a circle around what appeared to be a hut’s remains.
Thousands of people have fled to a neighboring state on the Thai border, where fighting recommenced on Saturday. Military airstrikes and heavy artillery have been targeting Lay Kay Kaw, an ethnic Karen guerrilla-controlled town, since Friday, according to local officials.
Because of the military’s actions, several Western governments, including the US Embassy, have issued a joint statement condemning “serious human rights violations committed by the military regime throughout the country.”.
“We call on the regime to immediately cease its indiscriminate attacks in Karen state and throughout the country and to ensure the safety of all civilians in accordance with international law,” the joint statement stated.