Witnesses: Myanmar air attack kills 13, including 7 children

Government helicopters have attacked a faculty and village in north-central Myanmar, killing at the very least 13 individuals including seven children, a faculty administrator and an help employee mentioned Monday.

Civilian casualties typically happen in assaults by the army authorities on pro-democracy insurgents and their allies. However, the variety of children killed within the air attack final Friday in Tabayin township in Sagaing area seemed to be the very best for the reason that military seized energy in February final yr, ousting the elected authorities of Aung San Suu Kyi.

The military’s takeover triggered mass nonviolent protests nationwide. The army and police responded with lethal pressure, ensuing within the unfold of armed resistance within the cities and countryside. Fighting has been particularly fierce in Sagaing, the place the army has launched a number of offensives, in some circumstances burning villages, which displaced greater than half 1,000,000 individuals, in response to a report issued by UNICEF this month.

A broken rooftop and damaged picket ceiling (AP photograph)

Friday’s attack occurred in Let Yet Kone village in Tabayin, often known as Depayin, about 110 kilometers (70 miles) northwest of Mandalay, the nation’s second-largest metropolis.

School administrator Mar Mar mentioned she was attempting to get college students to protected hiding locations in ground-floor lecture rooms when two of 4 Mi-35 helicopters hovering north of the village started attacking, firing machine weapons and heavier weapons on the college, which is within the compound of the village’s Buddhist monastery. Mar Mar works on the college with 20 volunteers who train 240 college students from kindergarten to eighth grade.

She has been hiding within the village together with her three children since fleeing for security to keep away from the federal government crackdown after taking part final yr in a civil disobedience motion towards the army takeover. She makes use of the pseudonym Mar Mar to guard herself and kin from the army. She mentioned she had not anticipated hassle for the reason that plane had been over the village earlier than without any incident.

“Since the scholars had finished nothing incorrect, I by no means thought that they might be brutally shot by machine weapons,” Mar Mar advised The Associated Press by cellphone on Monday. By the time she and the scholars and academics have been in a position to take shelter within the lecture rooms, one trainer and a 7-year-old pupil had already been shot within the neck and head and Mar Mar had to make use of items of clothes to attempt to stanch the bleeding.

The U.N. has documented 260 assaults on faculties and schooling personnel for the reason that coup, the U.N. Child Rights Committee mentioned in June. (AP photograph)

“They saved taking pictures into the compound from the air for an hour,” Mar Mar mentioned. ”They didn’t cease even for one minute. All we may do at the moment was chant Buddhist mantras.” When the air attack stopped, about 80 troopers entered the monastery compound, firing their weapons on the buildings. The troopers then ordered everybody within the compound to return out of the buildings.

Mar Mar mentioned she noticed about 30 college students with wounds on their backs, thighs, faces and different elements of the our bodies. Some college students had misplaced limbs. “The children advised me that their pals have been dying,” she mentioned. “I additionally heard a pupil yelling, ’It hurts a lot. I can’t take it anymore. Kill me, please.’ This voice nonetheless echoes in my ears,” Mar Mar mentioned. She mentioned at the very least six college students have been killed within the college and a 13-year-old boy working at a fishery in a close-by village was additionally fatally shot.

At least six adults have been additionally killed within the air attack in different elements of the village, she mentioned. The our bodies of the useless children have been taken away by the troopers.

More than 20 individuals, including 9 wounded children and three academics, have been additionally taken by the troopers, she mentioned. Two of these captured have been accused of being members of the anti-government People’s Defense Force, the armed wing of the resistance to the army.

Security forces additionally burned down a home within the village, inflicting residents to flee.

A volunteer in Tabayin aiding displaced individuals who requested to not be recognized due to worry of presidency reprisals mentioned the our bodies of the useless children have been cremated by the troopers in close by Ye U township.

“I’m now telling the worldwide neighborhood about this as a result of I need redress for our children,” Mar Mar mentioned. “Instead of humanitarian help, what we actually want is real democracy and human rights.”

Myanmar Now, an online news service, and different impartial Myanmar media additionally reported the attack and the scholars’ deaths.

A day after the attack, the state-run Myanma Alinn newspaper reported that safety forces had gone to examine the village after receiving info that the members of the People’s Defense Force have been hiding there. The report mentioned members of the People’s Defense Force and their allies from the Kachin Independence Army, an ethnic insurgent group, have been hiding inside homes and the monastery and started taking pictures on the safety forces, inflicting deaths and accidents amongst village residents. It mentioned the injured have been taken to hospitals, however didn’t point out the state of affairs of the scholars.

According to the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which screens human rights in Myanmar, at the very least 2,298 civilians have been killed by the safety forces for the reason that military seized energy final yr. The U.N. has documented 260 assaults on faculties and schooling personnel for the reason that coup, the U.N. Child Rights Committee mentioned in June.

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