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Monks among 30 people ‘brutally murdered’ by army in Myanmar monastery attack, insurgent group says

Anti-coup protesters walk through a market with images of ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon, Myanmar (AP)
Anti-coup protesters walk through a market with images of ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon, Myanmar (AP)

At least 30 people including monks have been brutally executed after soldiers burst into a monastery in Myanmar, resistance groups have claimed.

Myanmar has been plunged into chaos with a resistance movement fighting the military since a junta seized power two years ago.

Military forces launched airstrikes on the Nan Nein village on Saturday, the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) said.

The KNDF, one of several ethnic forces fighting the military government, said Myanmar troops entered the village after the shelling and executed villagers they found hiding inside a monastery, the KNDF said.

A graphic video released by the KNDF showed at least 21 bodies, including three in the orange robes worn by Buddhist monks, piled up outside.

Their bodies were riddled with gunshot wounds with bulletholes visible on the monastery walls.

A UN report released this month found that violence had intensified in northwestern and southeastern Myanmar due to the military’s “indiscriminate air strikes and artillery shelling, mass burnings of villages to displace civilian populations, and denial of humanitarian access.”

It came after soldiers rampaged through several villages, raping, beheading and killing at least 17 people, residents said, in the latest of what critics of the ruling military say are a series of war crimes since the army seized power two years ago.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military’s February 2021 seizure of power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi prompted nationwide peaceful protests that security forces suppressed with deadly force. The violence triggered widespread armed resistance, which has since turned into what some UN experts have characterized as a civil war.

The army has been conducting major offensives in the countryside, including burning villages and driving hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. It has faced some of its toughest resistance in Sagaing, in Myanmar’s historic heartland.

Myanmar’s military has long been accused of serious human rights violations, most notably in the western state of Rakhine. International courts are considering whether it committed genocide there in a brutal 2017 counterinsurgency campaign that caused more than 700,000 members of the Muslim Rohingya minority to flee to neighboring Bangladesh for safety.