The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has strongly condemned the recent air strikes carried out by the Myanmar Armed Forces in Pa Zi Gyi Village, Kanbalu Township, Sagaing Region of Myanmar.
The attacks have claimed the lives of at least dozens of civilians. ASEAN has called for an immediate end to all forms of violence, particularly the use of force against civilians.
In a statement issued on Thursday (13 Apr), ASEAN called for the creation of a conducive environment for an inclusive national dialogue to find a sustainable, peaceful solution in Myanmar.
The organization reiterated its commitment to continuing to assist Myanmar in seeking a workable and durable solution to the ongoing crisis by promoting the full implementation of the Five-Point Consensus.
Local media reports indicate that dozens of people in central Myanmar were killed in air strikes on Tuesday.
According to the human rights minister of the ousted shadow National Unity Government, Aung Myo Min, at least 165 people, including 27 women and 19 children, were killed after Myanmar’s military junta bombed Kanbalu township in the central Sagaing region on Tuesday.
A further 30 people were wounded, 20 remaining in serious condition, including a pregnant woman and an eight-year-old child.
Of those who died, 158 bodies have been cremated. First responders and medical teams have been unable to return to the site of the attack because military planes have continued flying over the town, although there have been no further strikes.
About 300 people had gathered in Pazigyi Village early on Tuesday morning to celebrate the opening of a local administration office. Families had travelled from nearby villages for the event, where tea and food were offered, which coincided with the start of the Thingyan New Year celebrations.
Like much of Sagaing, the area is not under the control of the military junta. The new town office was being opened under the authority of the shadow National Unity Government (NUG), for the people, as part of the anti-junta resistance.
An eyewitness who spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity, because he fears retribution said that they did not have any warning, and most of the villagers were inside the event, so they did not notice the jet.
Just before 8 am., a junta aircraft bombed the village where the ceremony was being held. A Mi35 helicopter then circled and fired on the village minutes later.
“When I arrived at the scene, we tried to search for people still alive,” he said. “Everything was terrible. People were dying (as they were being transported) on motorbikes. Children and women. Some lost their heads, limbs, and hands. I saw flesh on the road.”
The Southeast Asian country has been in chaos, and its economy is in tatters since the military seized power in a February 2021 coup.
The military’s continued use of violence against civilians has been widely criticized by the international community.