Burma: two employees of the NGO Save the Children reported missing

Dthey staff members of the NGO Save the Children in Burma are « missing » on Saturday, December 25, after the discovery of more than 30 charred bodies in vehicles taken the day before in an attack blamed on the junta in the east. from the country. On Saturday, photos were posted to social media showing two trucks and a car set on fire on a road in Hpruso township, eastern Kayah state, with bodies inside.

“When we went to check the area this morning, we found burnt corpses in two trucks. We found 27 corpses, ”a leader of the rebellion opposed to the ruling junta, the People’s Defense Forces (PDF), told Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity.

« 27 skulls » have been identified

Another witness said that « 27 skulls » were identified, « but there were other corpses in the truck, so charred that we could not count them ». Save The Children then announced that two of its staff had been « caught » and 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.

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. »

Burma has fallen into chaos since the February 1 putsch

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 Agence France-Presse, without giving details.

Burma has sunk into chaos since the February 1 putsch that ended a 10-year democratic transition. In 10 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.

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Ten months after the military coup against her government, former leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, 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 Agence France-Presse 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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