Myanmar’s military regime has killed at least 43 children since the Feb. 1 coup, according to Save the Children.
Several children were shot while playing near or inside their homes as soldiers and police raided residential areas, shooting at random. Among the fatalities were a five-year-old boy and six-year-old girl.
The international children’s humanitarian organization said 15 under-16s have been killed by the regime. It said the death toll of children has more than doubled in the last 12 days, “demonstrating the utter disrespect of armed forces for the lives of children”.
“This is a nightmare scenario unfolding,” the group said. “We are shocked that children continue to be among the targets of these fatal attacks, despite repeated calls to protect children from harm.”
The group said the number of injured children has not been recorded but is likely to be significant.
The youngest child recorded to have suffered an injury is a one-year-old who was shot in the eye with a rubber bullet. She survived after surgery but lost sight in one eye.
“Innocent children have had their futures brutally and needlessly snatched away from them. Grieving families – among them young children who have seen siblings die – are suffering unimaginable loss and pain. Children have witnessed violence and horror,” Save the Children said. It added that the fear, stress and grief caused by the violence is having a deep impact on the mental health of millions of children.
Last Saturday at least 11 children were shot dead, including an 11-year-old girl who was shot in the head while playing in front of her home, a 13-year-old who was shot in the back of the head while trying to run away from the armed forces and a 14-year-old girl who was hit after a bullet pierced a bamboo wall at her home.
“We once again call on the armed forces to end these deadly attacks against protesters immediately,” Save the Children said.
By April 1, the regime had killed 543 people, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. Half of the victims were under 31.
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