Burma: two employees of an NGO announced missing after the discovery of 30 charred bodies


The remains of around 30 people were found in charred vehicles on Saturday in Burma. Two employees of the NGO Save the Children could be among the victims.

In Burma, several burned bodies were discovered in two trucks on Saturday. On a road in the township of Hpruso, in the state of Kayah, in the east of the country, « 27 corpses » were reported by a leader of the rebellion opposing the ruling junta, the People’s Defense Forces (PDF ).

If « 27 skulls » were identified, « there were other corpses in the truck, so charred that we could not count them, » said a witness.

« We are horrified »

Among the victims, two members of the NGO Save the Children could figure there, announced the organization, specifying that its employees were « missing ». « We have confirmation that their private vehicle was attacked and set on fire, » the British children’s rights NGO said in a statement.

The two employees were returning home after a humanitarian mission in the region, according to Save the Children, adding that they had suspended their works in several regions.

« We are horrified by the violence targeting innocent civilians and our staff who dedicate themselves to humanitarian tasks, helping millions of children in need in Burma, » commented the leader of this century-old British NGO, Inger Ashing.

Women and children among the victims

In October, the NGO deplored the destruction of its offices in the city of Thantlang, in the west, in a bombardment by the junta which had also razed dozens of houses after fighting with a local rebel group.

According to the Myanmar Witness Observatory, « 35 people, including children and women, were burned and killed by the military on December 24 in Hpruso township. »

Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun admitted that clashes erupted in Hpruso on Friday after soldiers tried to stop seven cars driving « suspiciously ». They killed a number of people in the violence, the spokesperson told AFP, without giving details.

1,300 civilians killed in ten months

Since the February 1 putsch, Burma has sunk into chaos which ended a decade-long democratic transition. In ten months, more than 1,300 civilians have been killed, according to a local NGO, the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP), which reports cases of torture and extrajudicial executions.

In response, PDF citizen militias have sprung up in the country and regularly inflict setbacks on the powerful Burmese army.

Ten months after the military coup against her government, former leader Aung San Suu Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, is under house arrest.

In seeking to oust Aung Saan Suu Kyi and stifle his influence and party, the military may have opened Pandora’s box, with new, sometimes violent junta resistance gaining ground, experts interviewed say by AFP at the beginning of the month.

These analysts point out that hundreds of people have gone to rebel-controlled areas to train for combat and retaliate against the army, going against the principle of non-violence advocated by Aung San Suu Kyi.

And the months of bloody repression have left little room for the type of compromise characteristic of the ex-leader’s government with the military, although the junta says it wants to hold new elections.

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