Charity group says, staffs missing in Myanmar attack that left bodies burnt


Humanitarian organisation Save the Children has suspended operations in Myanmar after two staff members went missing in a military attack that has left at least 30 people dead, including women and children.

The staff members were reportedly travelling to their home villages for a Christmas break on Friday in conflict-torn eastern Kayah state, the UK-based charity said on Saturday.

“We have confirmation that their private vehicle was attacked and burned out,” the statement said.

Opposition groups on Saturday blamed the military, which seized power from a civilian government in February, for the carnage on Friday near Mo So village of Hpruso town.

Junta spokesman General  Zaw Mun Tun did not answer his telephone on Sunday. Reuters could not independently verify Saturday’s accounts of the attack from a local resident, media reports and a local human rights group.

State media reported army troops had fired on and killed an unspecified number of “terrorists with weapons” from armed opposition forces fighting the military government.

Photos shared by Karenni Human Rights Group and local media showed the charred remains of bodies on burnt-out truck beds.

A villager told Reuters on Saturday that he had seen 32 bodies, while Save the Children said at least 38 people were killed.

The London-based charity said it had suspended operations in Kayah and parts of neighbouring Karen state and in the Magway region.

“We are horrified at the violence carried out against innocent civilians and our staff, who are dedicated humanitarians, supporting millions of children in need across Myanmar,” said Save the Children’s chief executive, Inger Ashing.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military on Feb. 1 overthrew the elected government of Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been sentenced to four years’ detention and faces multiple other criminal charges.

At least 1,375 people have been killed and more than 8,000 jailed in crackdowns on protests and armed opposition since the coup, according to a tally of the Association for Assistance of Political Prisoners.

The military government disputes those numbers and says soldiers have also been killed in clashes. (Source: CNA)