Myanmar’s military-led government has denied reports it launched an air strike on a school in the volatile north-central region that killed scores of children, and accused the media of distorting the truth.
On Tuesday (20/9), Major General Zaw Min Tun, spokesman for the ruling military council, blamed the government’s armed opponents for the casualties.
Zaw Min Tun said, “Terrorists called the People’s Defense Force (PDF) and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) forced people to stay under the main building of the monastery. They then started shooting at the security forces while using the villagers as human shields. We have to return fire to them.”
He accused reports of the attack being fabricated ahead of the annual session of the UN General Assembly, at which Myanmar’s violent crisis will be discussed.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday condemned the attack, his office said, saying at least 13 people were killed, including 11 students.
The Southeast Asian nation has been in turmoil since the military seized power in a coup on February 1, 2021, in which nearly 2,300 civilians died in a crackdown on dissidents, a local monitoring group said. [uh/ka]