"The military forced people out of their cars, arrested some, killed others, and burned their bodies," Save the Children denounced.
On Sunday, the United Nations coordinator for United Nations emergency aid, Martin Griffiths, condemned the massacre of at least 35 civilians and the disappearance of two humanitarian workers from the NGO Save The Children that occurred on December 24 in Moso town, in Kayah State, Myanmar.
"Credible reports claim that at least 35 people, including at least one child, were forced to abandon their vehicles, killed and burned," Griffiths said in a statement in which he was "horrified" by what happened. Save The Children reported that its two workers are still missing and stressed that, "the military forced people out of their cars, arrested some, killed others, and burned their bodies."
"I condemn this serious incident and all attacks against civilians across the country," said Griffiths, who urged authorities to "immediately initiate a full and transparent investigation into the incident so that the perpetrators can be quickly brought to justice."
He also asked the Burmese Armed Forces and all the armed groups in the country "to adopt all measures to protect civilians from any harm."
According to the Burmese official press, however, the military killed an unknown number of "armed terrorists" who were traveling in seven vehicles and who had no intention of stopping at the request of the officers.
The Kayah state is one of the scenarios where armed ethnic guerrillas fight the Army, which has been cruel since the takeover of February 1 against this and other areas controlled by the rebels that oppose the coup government. The Karenni National Defense Force (KNDF), a guerrilla group operating in the region, stressed that the victims are civilians and not part of its ranks.
Burma has entered a spiral of crisis and violence since the military led by Min Aung Hlaing took power in a coup on February 1. In addition to peaceful protests and a civil disobedience movement, civilian militias have been formed that have taken up arms alongside ethnic guerrillas that have been in conflict with the Burmese Army for decades.
After almost 11 months after the coup, the military junta still does not have complete control of the country despite the brutal violence used against dissent, which has caused at least 1,375 deaths to date.