About 50 people were murdered and 70 were injured when the Myanmar military bombed a concert put on by a significant ethnic rebel group, the rebels claimed on Monday.
Two military jets from Myanmar targeted a ceremony the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) was having at 8:40 p.m. (1440 GMT) on Sunday, Colonel Naw Bu said AFP.
According to him, “around 50 people were murdered, including KIA members and civilians,” and “about 70 people were injured.”
Up to 60 soldiers and civilians were reported dead by the local media.
Images posted by the local media allegedly depicted the aftermath, with the ground covered in debris.
According to the UN office in Myanmar, news of airstrikes in Hpakant, Kachin State, have left it “very alarmed and dismayed.”
It stated in a statement that “early reports indicate that more than 100 civilians may have been impacted by the bombing.”
It said, “Numerous fatalities have also been reported.”
A junta spokesman did not respond to request for comment.
The US Embassy in Yangon said it was “following reports of a military airstrike targeting a Kachin gathering resulting in the deaths of a large number of civilians”.
The KIA has clashed regularly with the military for decades, with heavy fighting erupting in the wake of last year’s coup.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since a military coup last year, with swathes of the country engulfed by fighting.
Reports of the strikes come days before Southeast Asian foreign ministers will hold emergency talks to discuss strife-torn Myanmar ahead of November’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations leaders’ summit.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has spearheaded so far fruitless efforts to resolve
the crisis, and the bloc is frustrated by escalating human rights atrocities.
In September, at least 11 schoolchildren died in a military air strike and firing on a Myanmar village in northern Sagaing region.
The junta said it had sent troops in helicopters to Let Yet Kone after receiving a tip-off that fighters from the KIA and a local anti-coup militia were moving weapons in the area
A number of Myanmar’s myriad ethnic rebel groups have come out in support of the anti-coup movement, offering shelter and even training to activists.
The KIA claimed to have shot down a military helicopter gunship in May of last year following severe fighting close to the northernmost town of Momauk.
According to a local monitoring organization, more than 2,300 people have been killed and over 15,000 people have been detained in the military’s crackdown on dissent since the coup.
The junta attributes over 3,900 civilian fatalities on anti-coup fighters.