At least 60 killed in military air strike at music festival in Myanmar
The attack was reportedly carried out by the Myanmar junta, targeting the Kachin Independence Organisation separatist group
At least 60 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in an air strike by the Myanmar military at a festival in Kachin State, the northernmost region of the country, reports Al Jazeera.
Myanmar is currently being ruled by a military junta, which overthrew the democratically elected National League for Democracy government in a coup d'état which started on February 1, 2021.
The festival was celebrating the 62nd anniversary since the founding of Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), a separatist group made up of people from the Kachin ethnic group who have been resistant to the military coup in Myanmar.
It featured performances from famous Kachin singers Aurali and Galau Yaw Lwi, who are reportedly among the casualties caused by the attack.
Footage shared on social media by Burma Campaign UK, which claims to be from the scene of the festival, shows a scene of destruction which many levelled buildings.
Horrific reports of 60 killed & 200 injured by Burmese military airstrikes on a music festival in Kachin State last night. We are trying to confirm details.— Burma Campaign UK (@burmacampaignuk) October 24, 2022
We renew our call for aviation fuel sanctions to try to help stop these attacks.
Footage from WeChat. pic.twitter.com/l8BoX1kAcb
“We lost our people, our artistes and our brothers and sisters. I will never forget this ugly action and they have to pay for it,” a Kachin musician told the dpa on condition of anonymity.
The Kachin ethnic group largely inhabit the Kachin Hills of northern Myanmar, with sizable populations also in the Yunnan province in southwestern China and the north-eastern Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, as well as a small population in Taiwan.
The KIO’s military wing the Kachin Independence Army has been rebelling against the Myanmar junta, who have a fearsome reputation for executing opponents, such as pro-democracy activists and protestors.
Earlier this year in July, it was reported that Myanmar rap pioneer and former activist and lawmaker Phyo Zeya Thaw was one of four men executed in the country, in actions condemned by the UN as "depraved”.
Figures from the human rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners claim that at least 2,370 people have been killed and more than 15,900 arrested since the Myanmar junta took over the country.
The attack on the festival in Kachin State was reportedly carried out by three Myanmar air force jets.
Al Jazeera’s report states that spotter planes have been used by the Myanmar military to target the region and call in air and artillery strikes, causing people to be scared to turn on lights at night.
Internet is closed off in the region in an attempt to suppress the spread of information. The death toll has been reported by a former Myanmar MP who is in the region and has spoken to international media.
The attack has been condemned by the exiled National Unity Government, which has been recognised by the European Parliament as the legitimate government of Myanmar.
[Via: Al Jazeera]
Patrick Hinton is Mixmag's Editor & Digital Director, follow him on Twitter