12 defence chiefs condemn Myanmar army after day of ‘mass murder’

MYANMAR – (WARSOOR) – The defence chiefs of 12 countries have condemned the Myanmar military for its deadly crackdown on demonstrators, as people across the Southeast Asian country mourned those who lost their lives in the bloodiest day since the February 1 coup.

The United States, United Kingdom, Japan and South Korea signed onto Sunday’s joint statement.

“A professional military follows international standards for conduct and is responsible for protecting – not harming – the people it serves,” the defence chiefs said. “We urge the Myanmar Armed forces to cease violence and work to restore respect and credibility with the people of Myanmar that it has lost through its actions.”

The other countries that signed the statement were Australia, Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, and New Zealand.

The rare joint condemnation came as security forces killed at least 114 people on Saturday, Myanmar’s Armed Forces Day, in a crackdown that a United Nations investigator called “mass murder”.

Several children were among those killed.

The General Strike Committee of Nationalities (GSCN), one of the main protest groups, paid tribute to those who died, saying in a Facebook post: “We salute our heroes who sacrificed lives during this revolution”. It added, “We Must Win This REVOLUTION.”

Saturday also brought some of the heaviest fighting since the coup between the army and the ethnic armed groups that control swathes of the country. Military jets killed at least three people in a raid on a village controlled by an armed group from the Karen minority, a civil society group said on Sunday, after the Karen National Union faction earlier said it had overrun an army post near the Thai border, killing 10 people.

The airstrikes sent villagers fleeing into the jungle.

There was no immediate comment from the Myanmar military.


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