Myanmar army helicopters fired on the school, killing six

Myanmar has been gripped by violence since the army overthrew an elected government early last year. Opposition movements, some of them armed, have since sprung up across the country, and the army has dealt with them with lethal force.

Reuters could not independently verify details of the violence that occurred in Let Yet Kone village in Sagaing region on Friday.

The news portals of Mizzima and Irrawaddy reported that army helicopters fired at the school located in a Buddhist monastery in the town.

Some of the children died on the spot as a result of the shooting, while others died after the troops entered the town, reports said.

Two residents, who declined to be identified due to security concerns, later said by phone that the military had taken the bodies to a township 11 km (7 miles) away and buried them.

Images posted on social media showed what appeared to be damage, including bullet holes and bloodstains, to a school building.

In a statement, the military said the Kachin Independence Army, a rebel group, and the People’s Defense Force (PDF), an umbrella organization of armed guerrillas the junta calls “terrorists”, were hiding in the monastery and using the town. transporting weapons in the area.

Security forces sent by helicopter carried out a “surprise inspection” and were attacked by the PDF and KIA inside the houses and the monastery.

He said the security forces responded and some villagers were killed in the clash and the injured were taken to public hospitals for treatment. The statement accused armed groups of using civilians as human shields and later seized weapons including 16 hand-made bombs.

In a statement after Friday’s violence, Myanmar’s pro-democracy government, known as the National Unity Government (NUG), accused the junta of “targeted attacks” on schools.

The NUG called for the release of 20 students and teachers, who it said had been arrested after the airstrikes.

Violent attacks on schools rose to around 190 in Myanmar in 2021, up from 10 the previous year, according to the NGO Save the Children.

The use of schools by the military and armed groups also increased across the country, the organization said in a report this month, disrupting education and putting children at risk.