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Horrific Brutality in Burma

(FILE) An aerial view of a village in Sagaing region after villagers say it was set ablaze by the Myanmar military.

While hundreds of people assembled to celebrate the opening of a building put up by a pro-democracy group, the Burmese regime reportedly dropped bombs on the villagers.

Horrific Brutality in Burma
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Since Burma’s military coup two years ago and the regime’s ensuing crackdown on opposition to its rule, the people of Burma have suffered greatly: over 3,000 killed; nearly 17,000 detained; and more than 1.3 million displaced.

But even in the face of this evidence of the regime’s brutality, the airstrikes levelled against a village in the Sagaing region on April 11 stand out in their ruthlessness and cruelty.

While hundreds of people, including women and children, assembled to celebrate the opening of a building put up by a pro-democracy group, the regime reportedly dropped multiple bombs on the villagers. Then, a helicopter strafed the area as people tried to flee. Although the official toll remains unclear, estimates are that more than 100 people were killed, many of them children.

Observers note that the regime is stepping up its use of airstrikes against the civilian population with devastating results. In October, for example, some 80 people were reportedly killed in an airstrike in Northern Burma. On April 10, the day before the attack in Sagaing, air strikes in Chin State reportedly killed at least nine.

The international community has reacted with shock and condemnation. U.S. State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said in a statement, “These violent attacks further underscore the regime’s disregard for human life and its responsibility for the dire political and humanitarian crisis in Burma following the February 2021 coup.”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said he was “horrified” by the attack, noting “it appears schoolchildren performing dances, as well as other civilians ... were among the victims.”

Nabila Massrali, EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said, “The EU is deeply shocked by reports of the latest atrocity committed by the military regime in Sagaing, taking the lives of dozens of innocent civilians.” ASEAN “strongly” condemned the airstrikes.

U.S. Principal Deputy Spokesperson Patel said, “The United States calls on the Burma regime to cease the horrific violence, allow unhindered humanitarian access, and to respect the genuine and inclusive democratic aspirations of the people of Burma.

“The military regime must abide by its obligations under international humanitarian law, including rules on the protection of civilians. The United States will continue to work with the international community to hold the regime accountable for violations and abuses committed in Burma.”