Ethnic Armies Condemn Myanmar Junta’s Kayah Massacre

By The Irrawaddy 28 December 2021

Three allied ethnic armed organizations in Myanmar have strongly condemned the military junta’s massacre of 35 civilians in Hpruso Township, Kayah State, last week, calling the international community to bring justice.

The Brotherhood Alliance, which includes the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, Arakan Army and Kokang’s Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), condemned the killings. The MNDAA is heavily engaged with the junta in northern Shan State, while the other two intensely fought the military in northern Shan and Rakhine states before the February coup.

They condemned the killing and burning of around 35 fleeing civilians, including women and children, in seven vehicles on Friday near Moso village. The massacre reportedly happened after an hourlong battle between junta troops and the Karenni Nationalities Defense Forces, an alliance of armed resistance groups fighting the regime.

Four members of the Karenni Nationalities People’s Liberation Front, a border guard force which agreed a ceasefire with the former junta in 1994, were tied up and shot in the head while they were negotiating with junta forces for the release of the 35 civilians, according to the armed group.

“The junta neglects the rules of engagement and committed crimes against humanity and war crimes,” the Brotherhood Alliance said in Monday’s statement.

“Junta troops have repeatedly committed such crimes and atrocities in our areas for a long time,” the statement added.

“We urge the world to take swift and effective action against the regime for war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

The Brotherhood Alliance’s condemnation is the first from Myanmar’s many armed groups and follows statements from civil society groups and the United Nations over the weekend.

A joint statement from 59 civil society organizations called on the international community to refer Myanmar to the International Criminal Court and to impose an arms embargo on the “terrorist” junta.

The United Nations called for an investigation into the massacre and condemned the incident.

Armed resistance against the junta began in Kayah State in late May and nearly half of the state’s population of 150,000 has been displaced by fighting.

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