Myanmar army kill more than 30 in monastery attack – insurgent group

Myanmar army kill more than 30 in monastery attack - insurgent group
Aftermath of an aerial shelling at a village in Myanmar's Shan StateKNDF

More than 30 people have been killed in a monastery in Myanmar’s southern Shan State, an insurgent group said.

Troops shelled the Nan Nein village on Saturday, the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) said.

Myanmar has seen a growing number of deadly battles between its military and armed resistance groups since the junta seized power in a coup two years ago.

Some of the fiercest fighting has been in Shan State, which borders the capital Nay Pyi Taw and Thailand.

On Saturday, the junta’s air force and artillery entered the village after the shelling around 16:00 local time (09:30 GMT)- and executed villagers they found hiding inside a monastery, the KNDF said.

At least 30 civilians and three Buddhist monks were killed, the group said.

Local newspaper the Kantarawaddy Times quoted a KNDF spokesperson saying: “It was like the [military] made them line up in front of the monastery and brutally shot them all, including the monks.”

A video from KNDF – one of several ethnic armies which have joined the fight against the military government – showed at least 20 bodies, some in the orange robes worn by Buddhist monks, piled up against the monastery.

The bodies had what appeared to be multiple gunshot wounds. The video also shows the walls of the monastery peppered with bullet holes.

Some of the surrounding buildings and houses were also burned down in what the KNDF said was the government soldier’s attack on the village.

Details of the incident are difficult to verify, but the savage nature of the attack against unarmed civilians is not new in this part of Myanmar, which has seen some of the strongest resistance to the military junta since the coup.

There are reports of continuing operations against other villages in the area – which has led to thousands of displaced people.

Myanmar’s military, or the junta as it is known, had been hoping to hold an election this year in the belief this would give their government some badly-needed legitimacy.

But their failure to crush opposition to their rule, even with the extensive use of aerial bombardment in recent months, has made holding an election a near impossible task.

Myanmar has been caught up in a civil war for decades, which escalated after the coup in 2021.

One-and-a-half million people have been displaced, 40,000 homes have been gutted, eight million children are no longer in school, and 15 million people are judged by the UN to be dangerously short of food.

More than 2,900 people have been killed during the junta’s crackdown on dissent, according to monitoring group the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

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