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Save the Children workers missing in Myanmar after junta massacre

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This aerial photo taken on October 29, 2021 show smokes and fires from Thantlang, in Chin state, after shelling by Junta forces, according to media reports. (Photo by AFP)

Two members of a leading international humanitarian group are missing in Myanmar after military forces raided a village in the east, fatally shot at least 30 people, and burned their bodies.

The Save the Children Fund, commonly known as Save the Children, said that two of its staff members were traveling to their home villages for the year-end holidays when they were caught up in the attack.

"We have confirmation that their private vehicle was attacked and burned out," read a statement released by the London-based group late on Saturday.

The charity organization said it had suspended operations in Kayah state, as well as parts of neighboring Karen state and in the Magway region, due to the horrifying violence there.

“We are horrified at the violence carried out against innocent civilians and our staff, who are dedicated humanitarians, supporting millions of children in need across Myanmar," said Inger Ashing, Save the Children's chief executive.

Purported photos of the aftermath of the Christmas Eve massacre in Moso, just outside Hpruso township in Kayah state where refugees were sheltering from an army offensive, have spread on social media in Myanmar, fueling outrage against the junta that seized power in February.

The accounts could not be independently verified. The photos showed the charred bodies of over 30 people in three burned-out vehicles.

On Friday, local media and witnesses reported that junta troops had shelled the town of Thantlang. Since October 29, the junta forces have launched numerous attacks on the remote town located in the northwestern Chin State.

The junta confirmed on Saturday that two churches and 70 homes were burnt down in the town. However, it accused the local "people's defense forces" of the blaze, after security forces had clashed with the pro-democracy fighters there.

Myanmar's notorious junta launched a brutal crackdown of pro-democracy activists following a coup that overthrew the government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Since the coup on February 1, protesters have been demanding the restoration of civilian rule and the release of Suu Kyi and her associates, who have been under arrest since then by the ruling junta forces.

Myanmar's junta forces are also responsible for internationally-condemned "genocidal intent" and ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims and other minority groups in the country.

Almost 900,000 Rohingya refugees remain stuck in squalid, crowded conditions in refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh after the Muslim minority was forced to flee their homes in 2017.

Thousands of Rohingya Muslim men, women and children were killed, raped, tortured, or arrested by the junta forces, according to the UN, which has described the community in the western Rakhine state as the most persecuted minority in the world.

 


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