Burma: two Save the Children employees « missing » after the discovery of charred bodies

The NGO Save the Children announced on Saturday, December 25 that two members of its staff in Burma were « missingAfter the discovery of more than 30 charred bodies in vehicles taken the day before in an attack blamed on the junta in the east of the country. « We have confirmation that their private vehicle was attacked and set on fire« , During an attack on Friday in Kayah state that a monitoring group blamed on the army, 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. Photos were posted on social media on Saturday showing two trucks and a car set on fire on a road in Hpruso township, eastern Kayah state, with bodies inside.

« 27 skulls » identified

«When we went to check the area this morning, we found burnt corpses in two trucks. We found 27 corpsesA leader of the rebellion opposing the ruling junta, the People’s Defense Forces (PDF), told AFP on condition of anonymity. Another witness said that « 27 skulls« Have been identified, »but there were other corpses in the truck, so charred that we could not count them».

According to the Myanmar Witness Observatory, “35 people, including children and women, were burned and killed by the military on December 24 in the canton of Hpruso« . Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun admitted that clashes erupted in Hpruso on Friday after soldiers tried to stop seven cars driving « suspicious« . They killed a number of people in the violence, the spokesperson told AFP, without giving details.

More than 1,300 civilians killed in ten months

Burma has sunk into chaos since the February 1 putsch that 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 February 1 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 his party, the military may have opened Pandora’s Box, with new, sometimes violent junta resistance gaining ground, analysts interviewed by AFP at the beginning of the month.

These analysts point out that hundreds of people have traveled 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 between the NLD and the military, although the junta says it wants to hold new elections.


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