Genocidal Attack Leaves 80 People Dead

( Last weekend, Myanmar’s military launched air strikes in the northern state of Kachin that killed as many as 80 people, including those attending an anniversary celebration of the Kachin minority’s main political organization.

The October 23 attack on the Kachin Independence Organization’s 62nd-anniversary celebration appears to be the single deadliest attack since the military seized power in February 2021. However, news outlets have been unable to confirm the extent of the damage.

The military junta’s information office confirmed the following day that the attack occurred but claimed the strike was targeting the headquarters of the Kachin Independence Army’s 9th Brigade. The information office said the air strike was a “necessary operation” in response to “terrorist” acts carried out by the Kachin group.

The military junta denied the death toll numbers, calling them “rumors.” It also denied that the strike hit a concert and that performers and audience members were among the fatalities.

The Myanmar office of the United Nations released a statement saying the UN was “deeply concerned and saddened” by the reports. It described the attack as an “excessive and disproportionate use of force” against civilians and said those responsible “must be held to account.”

Myanmar has been gripped by violence after a military coup ousted the elected government early last year. Since then, opposition forces have emerged, prompting the military to respond with lethal force.

In September, at least 13 people, including 7 children, were killed when an army helicopter opened fire on a school in Myanmar after the military claimed rebels were using the building to launch attacks.

The Kachin ethnic minority rebel groups have formed a loose alliance with armed pro-democracy militias that were formed in central Myanmar after last year’s military coup.

Last Sunday’s anniversary celebration, which included a concert, was held on a base used by the Kachin Independence Army for military training not far from the village of Aung Bar Lay in the mountainous region 600 miles north of Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon.