The situation in Myanmar continues to be volatile after junta forces allegedly killed 28 individuals at a monastery in southern Shan State on March 11.
“They (the military) made them line up in front of the monastery and brutally shot them all, including the monks,” the Kantarawaddy Times quoted a spokesperson of the Karenni Nationalities Defence Forces as having said.
According to the Karenni Nationalities Defence Forces, regime reinforcements entered Nan Nein village in Pinlaung Township at around 4 am. According to Myanmar Now, the village was largely empty as most residents had already fled. Those who had stayed behind had sought shelter in the village monastery. The junta forces found them there and fired on them.
Graphic visuals of the massacre—shared by one of the armies resisting the coup regime—showed the blood-soaked bodies of at least 21 individuals lying in and around the monastery building, including two individuals wearing orange monk’s robes and two teenagers.
Bullet marks can be seen on the walls in the background. The bodies also displayed visible bullet marks, some in the head.
Spokespeople for Myanmar’s military junta have, however, rejected the claim that civilians were killed. On the state-owned Myawaddy television channel, they alleged that the victims were members of armed groups.
The incident took place in an area that is deemed to be critically located between Shah State and Kayah State, which, according to the junta, is mainly used for the supply of arms to anti-coup insurgents.
The junta has also carried out 652 airstrikes in different parts of Myanmar since taking over power in 2021. A report in Mizzima estimated that the military government carried out 57 airstrikes in January alone.
According to the BBC, a village official near the military outpost of Saung Pyaung told The Irrawaddy newspaper that because “Karenni groups [had] captured some villages,” the junta was “now shelling them.”
The military’s airstrikes—which have only intensified in recent months—have reportedly killed more than 288 people. In the ongoing violence, 40,000 homes have been destroyed, rendering a large number of people homeless. As per UN estimates, 15 million people are short of food in Myanmar.