Myanmar army helicopters shoot at school, six dead

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Myanmar has been gripped by violence since the military overthrew an elected government early last year. Opposition movements, some armed, have since sprung up across the country, which the military has fought with deadly force.

Reuters was unable to independently verify details of the violence that took place Friday in the village of Let Yet Kone in the central Sagaing region.

According to reports on the news portals of Mizzima and Irrawaddy, army helicopters had opened fire on the school in a Buddhist monastery in the village.

Some children were killed on the spot by the shooting, while others died after troops entered the village, the reports said.

Two residents, who declined to be identified due to security concerns, said the bodies were later transported by the military to a community 11 km (7 miles) away and buried.

Images posted to social media showed what appeared to be damage, including bullet holes and bloodstains in a school building.

In a statement, the military said the Kachin Independence Army, a rebel group, and the People’s Defense Force (PDF), an umbrella organization of armed guerrilla fighters the junta calls “terrorists,” hid in the monastery and used the village to transfer weapons into the city. transport the area.

Security forces sent by helicopter had conducted “a surprise inspection” and were attacked by PDF and the KIA at homes and the monastery, it said.

It said security forces had responded and some villagers had died in the clash and the injured were taken to public hospitals for treatment. The statement accused the armed groups of using villagers as human shields and said weapons, including 16 handmade bombs, were later seized.

In a statement following Friday’s violence, Myanmar’s pro-democracy shadow government known as the National Unity Government (NUG) accused the junta of “targeted attacks” on schools.

The NGG also called for the release of 20 students and teachers it said had been arrested following the airstrikes.

According to Save the Children, a non-governmental organization, documented violent attacks on schools rose to about 190 in 2021 in Myanmar from 10 the previous year.

The use of schools as bases by both the military and armed groups also increased across the country, the organization said in a report this month, disrupting education and endangering children.



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