Myanmar Witnesses Worst Genocide Since Military Coup As Soldiers Kill 106 People Today

Over 100 people, including children, have been killed across Myanmar in one of the bloodiest days of protests since a military coup last month. 

Security forces opened fire on Saturday after citizens defied warnings and took to the streets on the annual Armed Forces Day. 

State television had earlier threatened to shoot protesters ‘in the head and back’. 

MRTV on Friday night showed an announcement urging young people – who have been at the forefront of the protests and prominent among the casualties – to learn a lesson from those killed during previous demonstrations. 

Despite this, hundreds came out on the streets of Yangon, Mandalay and other towns, as they have done almost daily since the coup on February 1 that ousted elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi. 

The Myanmar Now news portal said 91 people were killed across the country by security forces, but some local media reports say the death toll is now as high as 106 over more than two dozen cities and towns. 

At least 29 people, including a 13-year-old girl, were killed in Mandalay, and at least 24 people were killed in Yangon, according to local media.

A boy as young as five was earlier reported among the dead but there were conflicting reports later that he may have survived. Another 13-year-old was among the dead in the central Sagaing region. 

‘They are killing us like birds or chickens, even in our homes,’ said Thu Ya Zaw in the central town of Myingyan, where at least two protesters were killed. ‘We will keep protesting regardless… We must fight until the junta falls.’ The death toll on Saturday takes the number of  civilians reportedly killed since the coup to well over 400. 

It comes after a deadly protest on March 14 when 90 people were feared dead. The violence has drawn international condemnation. 

The UK’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: ‘Today’s killing of unarmed civilians, including children, marks a new low. 

We will work with our international partners to end this senseless violence, hold those responsible to account, and secure a path back to democracy.’ 

Dan Chugg, the British ambassador in Yangon, said that the ‘security forces have disgraced themselves by shooting unarmed civilians’. 

‘At a time of economic crisis, Covid and a worsening humanitarian situation, today’s military parade and extrajudicial killings speak volumes for the priorities of the military junta,’ he said. 

It has also been claimed that Myanmar army fighter jets launched airstrikes on a village near the Thai border in territory controlled by an ethnic armed group that has vowed to fight to overturn the military coup. 

The Karen National Union (KNU), which controls the southeastern region, said fighter jets attacked Day Pu Noe village at around 8pm, forcing villagers to flee.

A spokesperson for the Karen Peace Support Network, a civil society group working in the area, said there were reports two people had been killed and two wounded, but communication was difficult in the remote region and more casualties were feared. 

Earlier on Saturday, the KNU said it overran an army base, killing 10 soldiers including a lieutenant-colonel, as the junta celebrated its annual Armed Forces Day with a parade in the capital, Naypyitaw. 

Suppression of the resistance against the junta has grown steadily more forceful since the coup began, and with it so has the death toll. Pressure is now growing on the international community to intervene. 

Junta chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing used a televised speech to criticise ‘terrorism which can be harmful to state tranquillity and social security. 

Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for campaigns, Ming Yu Hah, said: ‘These abhorrent killings again show the generals’ brazen disregard for the inadequate pressure applied so far by the international community. 

‘This comes a day after the military announced that further protests would be met with shots to the head. The cost of international inaction is being counted in bodies, including children shot dead in their homes.’

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