“Absolutely horrifying”: Aid workers confirmed dead in Myanmar massacre

Photos of Myanmar massacre spark outrage

Photos of Myanmar massacre spark outrage 00: 32

The humanitarian group Save the Children says it has confirmed that two of its staff were among at least 35 people killed in a Christmas Eve attack in eastern Myanmar that’s being blamed on the country’s military.

The aid group says the two men were caught up in the attack in Kayah state as they were traveling back to their office after conducting humanitarian work in a nearby community. In a statement, Save the Children said their names were not being released for security reasons, but identified them as a 32-year-old with a young son who worked training teachers, and a 28-year-old with a 3-month-old daughter who had worked for the charity for six years.

Photos of the aftermath of the massacre showed burned-out vehicles and charred remains of victims, including women and children, who who were reportedly shot by government troops as they were fleeing nearby combat. The Associated Press was able to verify the details of what happened, but a witness gave a description.

In this photo provided by the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF), smoke and flames billow from vehicles in Hpruso township, Kayah state, Myanmar, on Dec. 24, 2021. Government 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. KNDF via AP

On Sunday, the U.S. Embassy in Myanmar said it was appalled by the “barbaric attack in Kayah state that killed at least 35 civilians, including women and children. “

Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a statement Tuesday saying, “The United States condemns the attacks committed on December 24 by the Burmese military in Kayah State, which killed at least 35, including women and children and two staff members of the international aid organization Save the Children. … It is not acceptable to target innocent civilians and humanitarian agents. “

He said the international community must do more to prevent such atrocities, “including by ending the sale of arms and dual-use technology to the military.”

The military has been accused of repeated attacks on opponents and civilians since ousting the elected government in February and jailing officials including the deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

In the wake of the latest attack, Save the Children called on the U.N. Security Council to take steps against those responsible and urged nations to impose an arms embargo on the regime.

“This news is absolutely horrifying. This senseless attack on aid workers and civilians is unacceptable. The violence against civilians and aid workers in Myanmar has shaken us,” said the group.

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