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Over 50 killed in army airstrike in Myanmar: Residents

This picture shows damage in the northern state of Kachin, where Myanmarese military jets bombed a concert venue on October 25, 2022. (File by AP)

More that 50 people, including women and children, were killed in central Myanmar when the army launched an airstrike on an event attended by opponents to military rule, witnesses and media say.

According to residents and survivors, the event was being held by the opponents of the junta in a village in the northwestern Sagaing region in central Myanmar on Tuesday when the attack occurred.

A member of the local People's Defense Force (PDF), an anti-junta militia, told Reuters fighter jets had fired on the ceremony, which was being held to open their local office.

"So far, the exact number of casualties is still unknown. We cannot retrieve all the bodies yet," said the PDF member.

The military, which seized power in a coup d’état in February 2021, has formerly used airstrikes against its opponents.

The latest attack could be one of the deadliest among a string of airstrikes since a jet attacked a concert in October, killing at least 50 civilians, local singers, and members of an armed ethnic minority group in Kachin State.

At least eight civilians, including children, were also killed in an airstrike on a village in northwest Myanmar last month.

The military has denied that it has committed atrocities against civilians, saying it is fighting "terrorists" determined to destabilize the country.

The United Nations estimates that some 14,000 people have been arrested and at least 2,000 killed since the military takeover, which plunged the South Asian country into an economic as well as security crisis.

Late last year, the UN Security Council voted in favor of the first-ever resolution on Myanmar in more than seven decades, calling on the military rulers to end violence and release all political prisoners. The 15-member Council urged the junta to "immediately release all arbitrarily detained prisoners," including ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

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