Myanmar: Military airstrike on music concert kills at least 80 (VIDEO)

Tuesday, 25 October 2022 (11:59 IST)
Myanmar's military has been accused of carrying out air strikes against a rebel ethnic group late Sunday, with media and opposition groups reporting at least 80 dead by Monday.

State television made no mention of the attack on Monday, but the military regime's information office said in a statement that there was an attack at the headquarters of the Kachin Independence Army's 9th Brigade.

The government said it was a "necessary operation" in response to "terrorist" acts carried out by the Kachin ethnic rebel group.

#Myanmar: The Myanmar military has reportedly carried out an airstrike against a music festival in Kachin State, killing at least 60 civilians and wounded around 200. The festival was held for the 62nd anniversary of the Kachin Independence Organisation.

(via @burmacampaignuk)

— POPULAR FRONT (@PopularFront_) October 25, 2022

Members of the ethnic rebel groupsaid around 80 people had died during attacks, and dozens others were injured.

Dozens dead during a concert in the region

Opposition groups and media reported earlier Monday that at least 50 people died after the northern state of Kachin was hit by air strikes. The death toll was later revised to 80.

Those killed included civilians, local musicians and officers of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO).

Death toll from #Myanmar #military targeting/attacking #Hpakant #Kachin at a #KIO music celebration rising to at least 80 now with media reports of additional over 100 injured. This seems to the largest fatality in a single attack/location by military #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar

— May Wong (@MayWongCNA) October 24, 2022

The strikes took place during a concert Sunday evening, during the first of three-day celebrations to mark the KIO's founding.

These Kachin ethnic singers and more than 60 people were killed by Myanmar military junta’s forces by air strikes during a Kachin ethnic traditional festival.
It is another crime of genocide.
The world is watching without helping anything. #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar

— SWE ZIN OO (@SzoZinoo) October 24, 2022

A spokesperson for the Kachin Artists Association told the Associated Press that 300-500 people were in attdenance, and 100 people were likely injured as a result of the air strikes.

The military regime on Monday denied reports of a high death toll, citing them as "rumors." It also denied bombing a concert and reports that singers and civilians were among those who died.

UN, Western powers slams air strikes

The United Nations' office in Myanmar said in a statement it was "deeply concerned and saddened" by reports of air strikes.

"What would appear to be excessive and disproportionate use of force by security forces against unarmed civilians is unacceptable and those responsible must be held to account," it said.

The heads of diplomatic missions in Myanmar, including Australia, the UK, the United States and the European Union, condemned the attack on Monday too,

They said the attack "underscores the military regime's responsibility for crisis and instability… and its disregard for its obligation to protect civilians."

The air strikes comes three days before the foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN bloc, are due to meet in Indonesia to discuss the Myanmar crisis.

What is happening in Myanmar?

Myanmar has been trapped in a cycle of violence since the army ousted Aung San Suu Kyi's democratically elected government in February 2021.

The military junta has since cracked down on any opposition to its rule and has arrested demonstrators, jailed journalists, and executed pro-democracy activists.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, an anti-junta human rights group, says that more than 2,000 people have been killed by military officials so far.

In turn, opposition activists have been organizing mass protests, while ethnic armed organizations have come together to fight the junta's rule.

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