Myanmar junta kills 29 displaced civilians in bomb attack in Kachin

YE AUNG THU/AFP via Getty Images
YE AUNG THU/AFP via Getty Images

The Myanmar military, also known as the Tatmadaw, killed at least 29 internally displaced civilians in a bombing attack on a camp in the Buddhist-majority country’s Christian-majority Kachin State. Another 55 were wounded, according to rebel groups.

The bombing occurred last Monday at the Munglai Hkyet Internally Displaced Persons Camp north of Laiza in Waingmaw Township, the Christian group Free Burma Rangers said in a statement to The Christian Post.

Two bombs struck the camp, causing extensive damage, it said, adding that the casualties included women and children younger than 16.

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Destroyed structures encompassed an internally displaced persons’ nursery and middle school as well as a Lisu church. Injured victims are being treated at Laiza Public Hospital.

A mass funeral was held for the deceased on Tuesday.

Since the February 2021 military coup in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, the Tatmadaw has escalated violence against civilians, many of whom are Christian. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners reports that the military has killed 4,146 civilians, including 472 children, and arrested 25,300 individuals, the U.S.-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern noted in a statement sent to CP. Initially, the Tatmadaw pledged to hold free and fair elections but has repeatedly broken this promise.

Analysts say the military’s shaky control over the nation makes the prospect of fair elections unlikely.

According to the Special Advisory Council for Myanmar, anti-junta militias have reduced the area under firm Tatmadaw control to as little as 17%, ICC noted, saying the military’s loosening grip has also affected its standing in regional politics.

In September, the regional bloc Association of Southeast Asian Nations voted to remove Myanmar from its scheduled 2026 chairmanship, opting for the Philippines instead.

Although a majority of the population is ethnic Burman and Buddhist, the country is home to several ethnic and religious communities. About 20%-30% of the ethnic Karen are Christian, and in Chin State, where the majority of the population is Christian, the military finds a target-rich environment for its operations.

The Tatmadaw has a history of persecution against these minority groups, including Rohingya Muslims and Christians, ICC said, explaining that their tactics include bombing civilian areas, torturous interrogations and attempts at forced conversions to Buddhism.

The long-standing persecution has led many to flee Myanmar, seeking refuge in neighboring countries like India, Bangladesh and Thailand. Some have even resettled as far away as the United States and Australia. However, many remain in refugee camps close to the Myanmar border, facing decades of uncertainty.

Last June, multiple reports, including by the United Nations, revealed that the junta brutally attacked and killed hundreds of children since the military coup.

Tom Andrews, the U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, said in a report at the time that “the junta’s relentless attacks on children underscore the generals’ depravity and willingness to inflict immense suffering on innocent victims in its attempt to subjugate the people of Myanmar.”

“I received information about children who were beaten, stabbed, burned with cigarettes, and subjected to mock executions, and who had their fingernails and teeth pulled out during lengthy interrogation sessions,” Andrews said.

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