Report: At Least 22 Killed in Alleged Massacre at Myanmar Monastery

    Report: At Least 22 Killed in Alleged Massacre at Myanmar Monastery
    Last updated Mar 17, 2023
    Image credit: KNDF [via The Straits Times]


    • According to a doctor's post-mortem report, at least 22 people, including three monks, were killed at a Buddhist monastery in Myanmar's southern Shan state on Saturday as local insurgent groups and Mynammar's junta accused each other of carrying out a massacre of civilians.[1]
    • The post-mortem report by Dr. Ye Zaw, who is part of the National Unity Government — an exiled civil administration formed since the 2021 coup — said automatic weapons were likely used at close range, and the victims were civilians since "there were no military uniforms, equipment, and ammunition found on the rest of the bodies."[1]
    • Photos and videos provided by the armed insurgent group Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) appeared to show at least 21 bodies with multiple gunshot wounds around the Nan Nein Monastery, with its walls dotted with bullet holes.[2]
    • While the KNDF claims the junta is behind the alleged massacre, a spokesperson for the military-backed junta said its troops had been involved in clashes with rebel fighters in Shan but blamed "terrorist groups" for the violence. Fighting has been ongoing in the area for the last two weeks, with reports of around 100 structures being destroyed.[1]
    • The massacre comes after accusations earlier this month that some 90 troops rampaged through several villages in central Myanmar on Feb. 23, killing at least 17 people.[3]
    • Myanmar has been mired in political violence since military leader Min Aung Hlaing seized power by unseating the administration led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in a 2021 coup. More than 3K are estimated to have been killed and over 17K arrested during military crackdowns in the past two years.[4]


    Narrative A

    The international community must remain firm against Myanmar's illegal and illegitimate military rule, imposing further coordinated sanctions on the junta and supporting the pro-democracy shadow National Unity Government. As long as the nationwide human rights, humanitarian, and economic crises from the coup remain and the junta continues to legitimize its indiscriminate violence against civilians, a peaceful and democratic transition is impossible.

    Narrative B

    Due to its commitment to restoring perpetual peace and stability in Myanmar, the junta has no option other than to use lethal force to fight armed insurgents and terrorists trying to seize power. Exactly what happened on Saturday morning remains unclear as there are no eyewitnesses, which is why accusing Myanmar's military of committing crimes against humanity is unacceptable.

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