Myanmar Army Helicopters Fire on School, Killing 13

(Reuters) —
A table and debris are seen at the entrance of a local school that was hit by an air attack carried out by the Myanmar military against the People’s Defense Force, in Sagaing, Myanmar, Sept. 16. (REUTERS)

At least 13 people including seven children were killed when army helicopters shot at a school in Myanmar, media reports and residents said, as the military said it opened fire because rebels were using the building to attack its forces.

Myanmar has been gripped by violence since the army overthrew an elected government early last year. Opposition movements, some of them armed, have since emerged across the country, which the military has countered with lethal force.

Reuters could not independently verify details of the violence that took place on Friday in the village of Let Yet Kone in the central Sagaing region.

According to reports on the RFA (Radio Free Asia), Mizzima and Irrawaddy news portals, army helicopters had opened fire on the school housed in a Buddhist monastery in the village.

Some people were killed on the spot by the shooting, while others died after troops entered the village, the reports said.

Two residents, who declined to be identified due to security worries, said by telephone the bodies were later transported by the military to a township 11 km (7 miles) away and buried.

Another resident said about 2,000 people had fled their homes in the area.

Images posted on social media showed what appeared to be damage, including bullet holes and blood stains at a school building.

Documented violent attacks on schools surged to about 190 in 2021 in Myanmar from 10 the year before, according to Save the Children, a non-governmental organization.

Use of schools as bases by both the military and armed groups also increased across the country, the organization said in a report this month, disrupting education and endangering children.

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