Burmese rebels denounce killing of 23 civilians by the military

Archive – Karen militiamen in Burma – Europa Press/Contacto/Kaung Zaw Hein

Burmese Army soldiers reportedly killed 23 civilians, one woman and three Buddhist monks in an attack on the village of Nam Name in Shan State in southern Burma, rebel groups have claimed.

The military arrived at 5:00 a.m. Saturday morning in the village under cover of shell fire from a nearby hill, rebel organizations denounced, as quoted by the Irrawaddy news portal.

Already in the morning began a series of intense battles between the military and militiamen of the People’s Defense Force (FDP), the Karen Nationalities Defense Force (FDNK) and Karen Revolution (KRU) who came from Pinlaung, Pekon, Mobye, Naipyido and Kayah state. The soldiers set fire to several houses, according to the KRU.

Rebel militias have managed to wrest significant quantities of ammunition from the regular forces and there are believed to be numerous casualties among the military, according to the KRU. There are also wounded among the rebel forces, who had to leave the locality when aviation support arrived later in the afternoon.

On Sunday morning the militiamen returned to the village and found the lifeless bodies of the 23 civilians and have released pictures of the battered bodies abandoned in the streets, most with bullet wounds to the head. Three of the dead are Buddhist monks who were killed in the village monastery.

Official media reported the death of several Karen militiamen and published photos of these civilians showing homemade air guns next to the corpses.

A military spokesman, Commander General Zaw Min Tun, explained that »terrorist groups» such as the FDP, FDNK and Karen National Progressive Party (KNPP) ambushed the military and paramilitaries of the Pa-O National Army. Zaw claimed that there have been civilian casualties as a result of random shootings by the »terrorists».

Burma has been mired in civil war since the February 1, 2021 coup. In about a year, more than 3,120 people have been killed as part of operations carried out by the junta and another 16,432 are still being detained, according to data from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners of Burma (AAPP).

The Government of National Unity has indicated that the Burma Army has committed more than 30 massacres of civilians across the country since the military takeover.