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Myanmar junta kills 6 internally displaced women and children

Junta troops shot and killed women and children living in eastern Myanmar, a human rights group told Radio Free Asia. 

The group was attacked while fleeing a junta offensive in Kayah state’s Shadaw township, Karenni State Interim Executive Council secretary Zue Padonmar said Wednesday. After being captured in the forest outside their village, they were taken alive as hostages. 

“It happened on Feb. 5. Three women and three children were killed. One of the women who was killed was pregnant,” she said. 

“The children who were killed were very young. This kind of incident rarely happens. They are war-torn displaced people … They were taken as human shields.”

The victims included two disabled women in their 50s, a 33-year-old pregnant woman, and three children between the ages of three and seven.

The women’s bodies were found with wounds on their faces and legs, likely inflicted during their interrogation, said Banyar, director of the Karenni Human Rights Group, who goes by one name. They were later shot in the head.

The group was captured when a special operations force launched an offensive in Kayah state. The column was reinforced at Shadaw Byuhar Hill by a helicopter of troops who captured the women and children, along with a man, to use as human shields, Banyar said. Only the man was able to escape. 

The regime’s targeting and killing of civilians is a war crime, Zue Padonmar told RFA. The Karenni Interim Executive Council said it is preparing to take legal action against the junta in domestic and international courts. Zue Padonmar also urged the international community not to cooperate with the junta or sell them aviation fuel.

RFA contacted junta spokesperson Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun to confirm details about the alleged shooting, but did not receive a response by time of publication.

The junta also carried out an aerial bombardment on a school at Daw Si Ei village in western Demoso township on Feb. 5, killing four children and injuring at least 10, according to local defense forces. 

A total of 4,500 civilians have been killed across the country in the three years since the military coup, according to a statement by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners on Feb. 7.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.