Save the Children staff missing in deadly Myanmar attack

The attack left at least 30 people dead with many bodies burnt

Smokes and flames billow from vehicles in Hpruso township, Kayah state, Myanmar on Saturday. Troops rounded up villagers, some believed to be women and children, fatally shot more than 30 and set the bodies on fire, a witness and other reports said. Photo: AP
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International aid group Save the Children has said it is suspending operations in Myanmar's strife-torn Kayah state after two staff members went missing in an attack that left at least 30 people dead, including women and children, with many bodies burnt.

"We have confirmation that their private vehicle was attacked and burnt," the statement said.

The two workers were travelling to their home villages for the year-end holidays when they were caught up in the violence in the eastern state, Save the Children said on Saturday.

The charred remains of more than 30 people, including women and children, were found in burnt-out vehicles in Myanmar on Saturday, a rebel group and a monitor said.

A villager said he had seen 32 bodies, while Save the Children said at least 38 people were killed

Opposition groups on Saturday blamed the military, which seized power from a civilian government in February, for the carnage on Friday near Mo So village of Hpruso town.

State media reported that troops opened fired and killed an unspecified number of "terrorists with weapons" from armed opposition forces fighting the military government.

A member of a local People’s Defence Forces group said its fighters had found the vehicles on Saturday morning after hearing the military had stopped several vehicles there in response to clashes with its fighters nearby on Friday.

“When we went to check in the area this morning, we found dead bodies burnt in two lorries. We found 27 dead bodies,“ he said on condition of anonymity.

“We found 27 skulls,“ another witness said.

The charred remains of more than 30 people, including women and children, were found in burnt-out vehicles in Myanmar on Saturday. Photo: AP

Photos shared by Karenni Human Rights Group and local media showed the charred remains of bodies on burnt-out truckbeds.

“We are horrified at the violence carried out against innocent civilians and our staff, who are dedicated humanitarians, supporting millions of children in need across Myanmar," said Save the Children's chief executive, Inger Ashing.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military on February 1 overthrew the elected government of Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been sentenced to four years' detention and faces multiple other criminal charges.

At least 1,375 people have been killed and more than 8,000 jailed in crackdowns on protests and armed opposition since the coup, according to a tally of the Association for Assistance of Political Prisoners.

The military government disputes those numbers and says soldiers have also been killed in clashes.

Updated: December 26, 2021, 6:17 AM