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Save the Children workers go missing after the massacre of 30 villagers by Burmese troops | Burma

Two members of the international humanitarian group Save the Children are missing after Burmese government troops round up villagers, some believed to be women and children, shot dead more than 30 and burned bodies, witness and others say reports.

Alleged photos of the aftermath of the Christmas Eve massacre in Moso, a village in the east of the country, just outside of Hpruso township in Kayah state where refugees were sheltering from an offensive by the army, spread on the country’s social networks, fueling outrage against the army which seized power in February.

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

A villager who said he visited the scene told The Associated Press that the victims fled fighting between armed resistance groups and the Burmese army near the village of Koi Ngan, which is just outside Moso, Friday. He said they were killed after being stopped by soldiers on their way to refugee camps in the western part of the commune.

Save the Children said two of its employees who were returning home for the holidays after carrying out humanitarian response work in a nearby community were “overtaken by the incident and are still missing”.

“We have confirmation that their private vehicle was attacked and set on fire,” the group added in a statement. “The army reportedly forced people out of their cars, arrested some, killed others and burned their bodies. “

The government has not commented on the allegations, but an article in the state daily Myanma Alinn on Saturday said fighting near Moso erupted on Friday when members of the ethnic guerrilla forces, known as the National Party. progressive Karenni, and those opposed to the military drove “suspicious” vehicles and attacked the security forces after refusing to stop.

The newspaper said the seven vehicles they were traveling in were destroyed in a fire. He gave no further details about the murders.

The witness who spoke to the PA said the remains were burnt to the point of being unrecognizable and children’s and women’s clothing was found along with medical supplies and food.

“The bodies were tied with ropes before being set on fire,” said the witness, who requested anonymity because he feared for his safety.

He did not see the moment they were killed, but said he believed some of them were Moso villagers who were allegedly arrested by troops on Friday. He denied that those captured were members of locally organized militias.

Myanmar’s independent media reported on Friday that 10 Moso villagers, including children, were arrested by the military. Four members of a local paramilitary group who went to negotiate their release were reportedly tied up and shot in the head by the military.

The witness said villagers and anti-government militia groups left as military troops arrived near Moso as bodies were being prepared for cremation. The fighting was still intense near the village.

“This is a heinous crime and the worst incident of Christmas. We strongly condemn this massacre as a crime against humanity, ”said Banyar Khun Aung, director of the Karen Human Rights Group.

Earlier this month, government troops were also accused of rounding up villagers, some believed to be children, of tying them up and slaughtering them. Opposition leader Dr Sasa, who uses only one name, said civilians were burned to death.

Video of the aftermath of the December 7 assault – apparently in retaliation for an attack on a military convoy – showed the charred bodies of 11 people lying in a circle in the middle of what appeared to be the remains of a hut.

Fighting resumed on Saturday in a neighboring state bordering Thailand, where thousands of people have fled to seek refuge. Local officials said the Burmese military had launched airstrikes and heavy artillery on Lay Kay Kaw, a small town controlled by ethnic Karen guerrillas, since Friday.

The military’s action prompted several Western governments, including the United States Embassy, ​​to issue a joint statement condemning “the serious human rights violations committed by the military regime across the country.”

“We call on the regime to immediately cease indiscriminate attacks in Karen State and throughout the country, and to ensure the safety of all civilians in accordance with international law,” the joint statement said.

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Rodney N.

The author Rodney N.