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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 17 April 2021 8.10 PM IST

Army’s manhunt in Myanmar; Children among 114 killed

myanmar


YANGON: Security forces killed more than 114 people, including some children, across Myanmar in one of the bloodiest days of protests since a military coup last month, news reports and witnesses said.

The lethal crackdown, which took place on Armed Forces Day, drew strong renewed criticism from western countries. British ambassador Dan Chugg said the security forces had “disgraced themselves” and the US envoy called the violence horrifying.

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the junta leader, said during a parade to mark Armed Forces Day that the military would protect the people and strive for democracy.

State television had said on Friday that protesters risked being shot “in the head and back”. Despite this, demonstrators came out on the streets of Yangon, Mandalay and other towns, as they have done almost daily since the February 1 coup that ousted elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Myanmar Now news portal said 91 people were killed across the country by security forces.

At least 40 people, including a 13-year-old girl, were killed in Mandalay, and at least 27 people were killed in Yangon, Myanmar Now said. A boy as young as five was earlier reported among the dead in Mandalay but there were conflicting reports later that he may have survived. Another 13-year-old was among the dead in the central Sagaing region.

“Today is a day of shame for the armed forces,” Dr Sasa, a spokesman for CRPH, an anti-junta group set up by deposed lawmakers, told an online forum.

Meanwhile, one of Myanmar’s two dozen ethnic armed groups, the Karen National Union, said it had overrun an army post near the Thai border, killing 10 people including a lieutenant colonel and losing one of its own fighters.

A military spokesman did not respond to calls seeking comment on the killings by security forces or the insurgent attack on its post.

“They are killing us like birds or chickens, even in our homes,” said Thu Ya Zaw in the central town of Myingyan, where at least two protesters were killed. “We will keep protesting regardless... We must fight until the junta falls.” The deaths on Saturday would take the number of civilians reported killed since the coup to well over 440.

US ambassador Thomas Vajda said on social media: “This bloodshed is horrifying,” adding: “Myanmar’s people have spoken clearly: they do not want to live under military rule.”

British foreign minister Dominic Raab said the killing of unarmed civilians and children marked a new low, while the EU delegation to Myanmar said Saturday would “forever stay engraved as a day of terror and dishonour”.

News reports said there were deaths in Sagaing, Lashio in the east, in the Bago region, near Yangon, and elsewhere. A one-year-old baby was hit in the eye with a rubber bullet.

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