Rebels in Myanmar, junta blame monastery killings
Myanmar’s junta and anti-coup militants exchanged allegations Monday over the killing of around 30 people who were sheltering at a monastery.
The neighboring country has been in turmoil since a coup two years ago, with the military battling dozens of “People’s Defense Forces” (PDFs) across much of the country.
Local villagers and media have reported killings and arson by junta forces in many parts of the country as they fight to crush opposition to the coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s government.
Two rebel groups operating in Shan State — the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) and the Pa-O National Defense Force — said soldiers entered the village of Nam Neint on Saturday.
After ordering civilians sheltering at a monastery to come out, the soldiers shot dead 33 people, including three Buddhist monks, the KNDF said.
Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun confirmed that clashes broke out in Nam Neint village on Saturday and some coup plotters were killed.
He also confirmed that some civilians died in the village but blamed local PDF fighters for their deaths.
AFP was unable to independently verify those involved.
Images posted to Facebook by the KNDF showed a bloody aftermath of the incident with bodies on the ground, including some apparently wearing the monks’ saffron robes.
The Pa-O National Defense Force said junta forces killed 22 civilians, including three Buddhist monks.
Its members have found seven other bodies but are working to confirm who they are, she added.
AFP also received video Monday from the Karenni Revolution Union (KRU), another anti-junta group operating in the region.
The video showed around a dozen bodies lying on the ground in pools of blood near a wall with what appeared to be bullet holes. Three of the dead wear saffron robes.
– ‘shot in the head’ –
Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun did not confirm how many civilians had died in Nam Neint village.
He said reports that the military had killed civilians were intended to “foment illusions between the local population and the Tatmadaw,” using the word the Myanmar military refers to itself.
Another series of pictures allegedly taken in the same village was published by a well-known pro-military Telegram channel.
According to AFP Digital Verification reporters, the sights seen in the images matched a satellite image of Nam Neint village.
Images from the pro-military Telegram channel showed several bodies on the ground, and the report said 24 “PDFs had been shot in the head.”
An image from the pro-military Telegram account showed three bodies slumped in a corner, holding what appeared to be homemade rifles – in contrast to the KRU video, which showed the same bodies with no rifles visible.
“Discipline unruly Kayah PDFs,” read the text on the pro-military Telegram account.
Kayah State borders Shan State and has seen regular clashes between the military and anti-coup militants, including the KNDF.
Source: Crypto News Deutsch