Myanmar: 13, including children killed as army helicopters target school in central Sagaing

Image Source : AP Myanmar: An alphabet book and a notebook lie on top of an elevated wooden floorboard of a middle school


  • Reports claimed 17 others were also reported injured in the attack
  • The bodies were transported by the military to a township 11 kilometres away
  • Some students had lost limbs, an eyewitness said

Myanmar: As many as 13 people, including seven children were killed after army helicopters fired at a school in Myanmar. According to media reports, 17 others were also reported injured in the attack.

The incident took place on Friday in the village of Let Yet Kone in the central Sagaing region.

Reports said the building was being used by rebels.

Army helicopters had opened fire on the school housed in a Buddhist monastery in the village.

According to reports, some children were killed on the spot, while others died after troops entered the village.

The bodies were later transported by the military to a township 11 kilometres away and buried.

School administrator Mar Mar said she was trying to get students to safe hiding places in ground-floor classrooms when two of four Mi-35 helicopters hovering north of the village began attacking, firing machine guns and heavier weapons at the school, which is in the compound of the village’s Buddhist monastery.

By the time she and the students and teachers were able to take shelter in the classrooms, one teacher and a seven-year-old student had already been shot in the neck and head and Mar Mar had to use pieces of clothing to try to stanch the bleeding.

Once the firing stopped, the soldiers ordered everyone in the compound to come out of the buildings.

Mar Mar said she saw about 30 students with wounds on their backs, thighs, faces and other parts of their bodies.

Some students had lost limbs.

A day after the attack, the state-run Myanma Alinn newspaper reported that security forces had gone to check the village after receiving information that the members of the People’s Defense Force were hiding there.

The report said members of the People’s Defense Force and their allies from the Kachin Independence Army, an ethnic rebel group, were hiding inside houses and the monastery and started shooting at the security forces, causing deaths and injuries among village residents.

It said the injured were taken to hospitals but did not mention the situation of the students.

Civilian casualties often occur in attacks by the military government on pro-democracy insurgents and their allies. However, the number of children killed in the air attack last Friday in Tabayin township in Sagaing region appeared to be the highest since the army seized power in February last year, ousting the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Fighting has been especially fierce in Sagaing, where the military has launched several offensives, in some cases burning villages, which displaced more than half a million people, according to a report issued by UNICEF this month.

According to the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which monitors human rights in Myanmar, at least 2,298 civilians have been killed by the security forces since the army seized power last year.

The UN has documented 260 attacks on schools and education personnel since the coup, the UN Child Rights Committee said in June.

(With inputs from agencies)

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