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22 people are killed in a monastery attack in Burma, and there are conflicting reports of a massacre.

Myanmar temple atrocity

Since military leader Min Aung Hlaing took control of the 55 million-person Southeast Asian country in a coup in 2021, which dashed all hopes the country would establish a functioning democracy, Myanmar has been engulfed in political violence.

Following the coup, there was a savage military crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, during which civilians were shot in the street, kidnapped during nocturnal raids, and allegedly tortured while detained.

According to the advocacy group Aid Group for Political Prisoners, junta troops have killed at least 2,900 citizens of Myanmar since the coup and arrested over 17,500 others, the most of whom are still being held.

In a nation that has been plagued by insurgencies for decades, the coup has also led to an increase in violence between the military and a variety of resistance organizations aligned with long-standing ethnic militias.

The military junta of Myanmar has frequently denied these allegations despite mounting evidence. Opposition organizations have accused the military of carrying out mass executions, airstrikes, and war crimes against civilians in the areas where combat has raged.

On September 7, 2022, protesters participated in a demonstration in Sagaing, Myanmar’s Sagaing Division, protesting the military coup. Anti-coup warriors escorted the participants. Several local “Peoples Defence Units” are battling the military in Myanmar’s northwest Sagaing region in an effort to undo the coup it staged last year.

According to analysts, some of these organizations have astonished the military with their efficiency while using just improvised weaponry and local geographical knowledge.

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Last week, a new atrocity claim came to light in Shan State, a rural and mountainous region of northeastern Myanmar that borders China, Laos, and Thailand.

Images and a video shot of the incident, given by the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) and authenticated by CNN, revealed at least 21 bodies heaped up near the Nan Nein Monastery, located in the town of Nan Nein in Pinlaung Township.

Many of them had multiple gunshot wounds and were seen wearing regular clothes. And among them were three bodies covered in the customary Buddhist monk garb of saffron orange.

The walls of the monastery could be seen to have gunshot holes in the group’s footage.

Pools of blood were discovered on the ground below the victims, which were reportedly lined up and slumped against the walls of the monastery.

Both the KNDF and Myanmar’s military acknowledge fighting took place in the area but two contradictory narratives have arisen in the aftermath of the fatalities at the monastery.

On March 11, the Burmese military killed 19 civilians in addition to three monks, according to KNDF spokesman Philip Soe Aung to CNN. “On March 12, when our men got at the monastery, they discovered the dead bodies.”

This week, fierce combat broke out between local insurgent groups and the military of Myanmar in a region close to Nan Nein Village.

As a result of the battle spreading, the military shelled the town and conducted airstrikes directly above it, prompting the villagers’ villagers to seek refuge in the neighboring monastery, according to Soe Aung.

“These citizens and monks were tortured and killed by the Burmese military,” Soe Aung claimed in describing the tragedy.

He said, “Civilians and monks stayed there together since the monks did not want to leave their monastery.

Soe Aung hypothesized that “a hit squad” was responsible for their murders based on how the bodies were found arranged in a line in front of the monastery.

All of the victims were defenseless, and many of their bodies displayed evidence of “torture and beatings” along with “sustained bullet wounds to the head,” he continued

Major General Zaw Min Tun, a spokesman for the Myanmar government, denied allegations that the military was to blame.

He cited the Karen National Police Force (KNPF), the People’s Defence Force (PDF), and the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), an administration that unites ethnic groups in the state, as “terrorist groups” in remarks published in the state-run newspaper Global Light of Myanmar on Tuesday.

After “the Tatmadaw (cooperated) with the local people’s militia and implemented security measures for the region,” according to Zaw Min Tun, fighters allegedly opened fire.

Several residents were murdered and injured as the terrorist organizations forcefully opened fire. (Others) escaped.

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Nevertheless, Soe Aung, a spokeswoman for the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force, told CNN that there were numerous “military outposts” along the road leading to the settlement. Nonetheless, he claimed that neither the community nor the monastery had either KNDF or PDF armies.

Because it can provoke conflicts among the villagers, he continued, it is against company policy to station warriors there.

He continued, saying that the region had witnessed fighting for several weeks, most of it concentrated on the nearby jungle and mountain ranges.

The KNDF claims that in addition to ground attacks, the Myanmar military also “bombarded” the Nan Nein Village.

The “terror campaign”
The democratically elected civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s government was overthrown by the junta, and she was eventually found guilty and given a 33-year prison term after a series of covert and highly-politicized trials.

The most recent incident in Nan Nein village was referred to as “a terror campaign” and the nation is currently in the “worst position,” according to Aung Myo Min, spokesman for the National Unity Government, which stands in for the deposed civilian leadership.

“An growing number of people have been slain over the last three months. The military has been deploying additional forms of violence against the populace, and the number of mass murders it has carried out has increased, he claimed.

“The victims of this massacre… It is quite evident that they are civilians and are not a part of any sort of anti-military campaign, he continued.

The deaths, according to Myo Min, were “cold-blooded” and fit a pattern in which the Myanmar military often targets civilians.

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Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch’s deputy director for Asia, demanded swift action.

The military and police of Myanmar carry out cruel acts that qualify as crimes against humanity every day throughout the nation. Robertson stated that the massacre of civilians at a Buddhist monastery in a hail of gunshots “shows the desperate brutality of a regime utterly estranged from the Burmese people.

Governments everywhere should understand that Myanmar’s military junta does not give a damn about what it says, he continued.

“It must be targeted by a UN-imposed global arms embargo and the kind of severe sanctions needed against the Tatmadaw and its financial interests… that maintain this heinous, rights-violating force in the field – massacring civilians without remorse.”

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