03/13/2023, 18.13
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Military slaughter 28 civilians at a monastery in Shan State

According to a local ethnic army, residents of Nan Nein sought refuge at a monastery to escape shelling and soldiers. The affected village is located along a crucial supply route. The incident once again highlights the brutality of the conflict.


Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Government forces slaughtered at least 28 people, including three Buddhist monks, in the southern Shan State, the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) announced.

The KNDF is one of many ethnic armies fighting Myanmar’s regular forces following the coup d'état of 1 February 2021.

On Saturday, the village of Nan Nein was shelled before soldiers entered it and killed civilians who had sought refuge at a local monastery.

A video released by the KNDF shows at least 21 bodies on the ground and the monastery’s walls riddled with bullets.

“It was like the [military] made them line up in front of the monastery and brutally shot them all, including the monks,” a KNDF spokesperson said.

Seven more bodies were found later, nor far from the village, the group told the BBC.

Like last year, fighting has intensified in recent months, favoured by the dry season, while the monsoon season, which runs from May to October, usually makes it harder for planes and ground forces to operate.

According to another local organisation, the western state of Chin has seen at least one attack a day by planes in the first two months of 2023.

Nan Nein is located along a highway that connects Shan State to Kayah State and is considered crucial for resupplying local ethnic armies.

The region is inhabited by ethnic Shan, Karenni and Pa-o, but, unlike the first two, the Pa-o are allied with Myanmar’s ruling junta, and has received strong military support in recent weeks in an attempt to recapture the villages occupied by anti-coup forces.

Villagers probably thought that they would be safe inside the monastery since monks are well respected.

Since the coup d'état, interethnic relations have changed. The country’s largest group, the mostly Buddhist Bamar, are concentrated in the central region; for this reason, they were spared from the fighting in the past.

Since independence from the United Kingdom in 1948, ethnic armies have operated along the country’s borders, and fought against the central government for greater autonomy.

After the coup two years ago, these same forces have not only joined together, but have also struck an alliance with the People Defence Forces (PDF), the armed group loyal to the exiled National Unity Government (NUG), who are mostly ethnic Bamar from central Myanmar. For several observers, this is unprecedented.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has reported that 40,000 homes have been destroyed since fighting broke out, and about one and a half million people have become displaced; at least eight million children are not going to school, while 15 million people are at risk of hunger.

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See also
Karenni forces take two key locations in Kayah State
12/12/2023 18:16
At least one airstrike a day in Chin state since the start of 2023
10/03/2023 15:20
Chin refugees flee to India as the number of dead and prisoners rises
19/05/2021 12:20
Yangon, monitoring group: 3,000 civilians killed since the coup. Religious sister latest victim
21/02/2023 11:21
UN: more than 100,000 displaced by violence in Kayah State
09/06/2021 15:37


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