Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations (UN), U Kyaw Moe Tun, has told the UN that at least 40 people, including a child, were killed by the military regime in Sagaing Region in July. The ambassador made the claim in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the AFP news agency reported on Wednesday.
U Kyaw Moe Tun said in the letter that 40 bodies had been found in Kani Township, Sagaing Region in July. The ambassador opposed the junta’s Feb. 1 coup that ousted State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy government, but has stayed in his role despite the efforts of the regime to replace him.
The ambassador alleged that regime soldiers tortured and killed 16 men in a village in Kani Township around July 9 and 10, after which 10,000 residents fled the area.
He said a further 13 bodies were discovered following clashes between civilian resistance fighters and junta forces on July 26. 11 more men, including a 14-year-old boy, were killed and their bodies set on fire in a different village on July 28, added the ambassador.
“We cannot let the military keep on committing these atrocities in Myanmar,” U Kyaw Moe Tun told AFP. “It is time for the UN, especially the UN Security Council, to take action.”
Sagaing Region in northwest Myanmar has seen numerous armed clashes since the coup between junta forces and civilian resistance fighters who oppose military rule.
Since April, locals have formed themselves into People’s Defense Forces (PDF’s) and used traditional hunting weapons to fight back against regime troops. Prior to the coup, Sagaing Region had not seen any armed insurrections for decades.
Junta forces have employed helicopter gunships and heavy artillery to suppress the PDF’s. The fighting has resulted in thousands of villagers being forced to flee their homes. While conducting clearance operations, the Myanmar military has reportedly committed human rights violations, extrajudicial killings and torture, all of which it has been accused of doing in the past.
In his letter, U Kyaw Moe Tun repeated his call for a global arms embargo on the Myanmar military and for “urgent humanitarian intervention” from the international community.
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