At least three Buddhist pilgrims were killed by Myanmar regime troops who shot out at random after being attacked by an armed group on Wednesday morning at the bottom of the famous Kyaik Htee Yoe Golden Rock pagoda in Mon State.
An anonymous armed group attacked a junta outpost in Kin Mon Chaung village at the foot of the Kyaik Htee Yoe mountain.
“None of the attackers were hit or arrested as they retreated. But the troops kept shooting for about 30 minutes in response, killing two female pilgrims on the spot and another woman died on the way to hospital,” said a villager.
The pilgrims were waiting for a truck up to the pagoda when the shooting broke out. Thirteen people were treated at Kin Mon Chaung and Kyaikto hospitals with some in a critical condition.
Other resistance attacks have been reported recently in Mon State. No one claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack.
The regime accused an anti-regime People Defense Force allied with the Karen National Liberation Army’s Brigade 1, the civilian National Unity Government and its parliamentary wing for the attack. It said three were killed and 19 injured.
Regime personnel were injured and pictures of two decapitated soldiers circulated online.
Reinforcements from Light Infantry Division 44 and Infantry Battalion 96 have been sent to Kin Mon Chaung since the attack, according to the Kyaikto Information Team.
More shots were reported on Wednesday morning near the peak.
Known internationally as the Golden Rock, the striking Kyaik Htee Yoe pagoda is built on a giant, gold-painted boulder that perches on a mountaintop.