London: At least 28 people were killed by the Myanmar army at a monastery in southern Shan State, an insurgent group said. Troops shelled the Nan Nein village on Saturday, the Karenni Nationalities Defence
Force (KNDF) said.
Myanmar has seen a growing number of deadly battles between its military and armed resistance groups since the junta seized power in a coup two years ago. Some of the fiercest fighting has been in this region between the capital Nay Pyi Taw and the border with Thailand.
On Saturday, the military’s air force and artillery entered the village after the shelling around 16:00 local time (09:30 GMT, and executed villagers they found hiding inside a monastery, the KNDF said.
A video from KNDF – one of several ethnic armies which have joined the fight against the military government – showed at least 21 bodies, including three in the orange robes worn by Buddhist monks, piled up against the monastery. The bodies had what appeared to be multiple gunshot wounds. The video also shows the walls of the monastery peppered with bullet holes.
The Kantarawaddy Times, a local news- paper, quoted a KNDF spokesperson saying: “It was like the [military] made them line up in front of the monastery and brutally shot them all, including the monks.”
The group told the BBC it had found the other seven bodies nearby in the tiny village.
Some of the surrounding buildings and houses were also burned down in what the KNDF has said was a military attack on the village. The group said the villagers had believed taking shelter with the highly respected monks in the area might guarantee them protection. Others in the village had evacuated before the soldiers arrived.
Details of the incident are difficult to verify, but the savage nature of the attack against unarmed civilians is not new in this part of Myanmar, which has seen some of the strongest resistance to the military junta
since the coup. The KNDF told the BBC that since 25 February, there had been increased clashes and fighting as junta soldiers had advanced on the Nan Nein area and its monastery.