MYANMAR: A devastating airstrike by Myanmar’s military on a concert held by a prominent ethnic minority group has killed at least 50 people and injured about 100. The air raid was carried out by three jets, says the report.
The reason for the air raid is summed up to be the country’s minority Kachin ethnic group’s conflicts with the ruling military.
The military has not yet confirmed the jet strike that occurred late on Sunday in the northern state of Kachin, but according to witnesses, three planes were used to carry out the attack, which killed civilians, local singers, and officers of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).
The claimed attack took place three days before Southeast Asian foreign ministers were due to attend a special gathering in Indonesia to discuss the escalating violence in the nation. At 20:30 (14:00 GMT) on Sunday, witnesses reported seeing three enormous explosions. The audience suffered significant casualties as they destroyed the group of buildings at the base.
On Monday, Colonel Naw Bu stated that “two military jets from Myanmar attacked” the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) ceremony that was taking place in Kachin state.
“About 50 people were killed, both KIA members and civilians,” he added further. A total of 70 persons were also injured. Locals claimed that there was no warning given prior to the raid.
Bu, a KIA spokesperson, said that the attack was directed at events marking the Kachin Independence Organization’s 62nd anniversary of its foundation (KIO). “This is definitely a wicked deed that can even be termed war crimes,” he remarked over the phone.
Four well-known Kachin singers are reportedly among the dead. As per eyewitnesses, the soldiers prevented medical personnel from transporting the injured to the nearby hospital-equipped town of Hpakant.
The military and Kachin insurgents have fought bitterly over this region of Kachin State for many years because of its jade mines, which are estimated to be worth about $30 billion (£27 billion) annually. There have been numerous clashes there both before and after the military takeover last year that toppled the Aung San Suu Kyi-led civilian administration.
The Kachin insurgents have been supporting other armed groups in Myanmar that were founded to oppose the coup, thus this strike could be retaliation or a warning from the military.
Since the coup, the open conflict has resurfaced between the Myanmar army and the KIA, which has been fighting for greater autonomy for the Kachin people for the past 60 years. The KIA has declared its support for the anti-junta resistance.
The United Nations and the international community were exhorted by Myanmar’s shadow National Unity Government to act and put an end to the atrocities right away.
The military has repeatedly criticized the UN for interfering in Myanmar’s internal affairs, claiming that its operations are aimed at “terrorists.”