‘Nowhere is safe’ – two children among six killed as junta bombs camps sheltering civilians in Karenni
The two sisters were sleeping when shrapnel tore through the walls of their shelter
Two children who were sisters were killed along with a man in his 50s when a junta attack helicopter bombed a camp for displaced people in Karenni State’s Hpruso Township on Tuesday morning, a volunteer there told Myanmar Now.
The camp, which is near the village of Ree Khee Bu, holds some 700 people who fled a military massacre in the village of Moso last month.
The camp volunteer said the young victims were 12-year-old Caroline, who was also known as Khine, and 15-year-old Maria Corrette, who also went by the name Chaw Su.
A 51-year-old man named Andrea who was sleeping in the same shelter as the girls also died when a barrage of shrapnel tore through the walls, the volunteer said.
“The shrapnel hit the building where the girls were sleeping… their bodies were completely ripped apart and flew everywhere,” she said. “The man was sleeping near the fireplace as he was not feeling well. He got hit as well.”
Another two bombs exploded in a different area of the camp where buildings were under construction.
“There was no battle at all but the helicopter was hovering around for a long time last night,” the volunteer said. “We went out to check but we didn’t see anything. It was very loud.”
The bomb that killed the sisters and the man exploded about 120 feet from the camp and left a five–foot-deep crater, she added.
“I know they’re ruthless but why come after harmless displaced people? They only came here because they thought it would be safer,” she said.
Between 30 and 50 people from Moso village were massacred and burned by junta soldiers on December 24.
The Moso villagers have now fled the camp in the wake of the bombings, and are in need of blankets, warm clothes, and water.
“There’s no safe place in our state anymore,” the volunteer said. “We’re planning to arrange safe places for this many displaced villagers but we don’t know who would be able to sponsor us. We’re just trying to think positively at the moment.”
On Sunday three young men who were volunteering at a camp in Nan Mel Khone, Demoso Township, were killed when junta helicopters dropped bombs at around 6pm, according to the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force, a local armed resistance group.
Military controlled newspapers on Monday published a claim by the junta that the military used artillery and air strikes in Karenni because of the presence of “terrorists” in the area.
The junta has not commented on the airstrike in Hpruso.
Aung San Myint, second secretary of the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), whose armed wing is one of the groups fighting the junta’s forces in the state, called for foreign countries to enforce a “safe zone” in the area.
“We need to declare the area as a safe zone according to each civilian’s right to live and to the collective rights of the entire ethnicity,” he told Myanmar Now. “The international community can no longer regard what’s happening here as a civil war. They need to intercept as soon as possible,”
Over 200,000 people have been displaced in recent months in southern Shan and northern Karenni states.
There has been intense fighting in and around the Karenni capital Loikaw since January 7. The junta has attacked the town with fighter jets and cut off its water and electricity supply.