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Myanmar's military junta confirms deadly air strike on a village in Sagaing region

Bangkok [Thailand], April 12 (ANI): Myanmar's military junta has confirmed a deadly air strike on a village in the country's centre in the Sagaing region, reported malaymail.

"There was (a People's Defence Force) office opening ceremony ... (Tuesday) morning about 8 am at Pazi Gyi village," junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun confirmed late Tuesday night.

He said some of the dead were anti-coup fighters in uniform while acknowledging "there could be some people with civilian clothes."Sagaing region -- near the country's second-largest city, Mandalay -- has put up some of the fiercest resistance to the military's rule, with intense fighting raging there for months.

"According to the ground information we got, people were killed not because of our attack only. There were some mines planted by PDF around that area," he said, adding the airstrike had also hit a storage area for gunpowder and mines.

Airstrikes by Myanmar's military have killed as many as 100 people, including many children, who were attending a ceremony held by opponents of army rule, said a witness, a member of a local pro-democracy group and independent media, reported The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH).

However, The Irrawaddy reported that at 50 civilians including children were killed and 30 injured.

UN rights chief Volker Turk said Tuesday he was "horrified" by the deadly air strikes, whose victims he said included schoolchildren performing dances, with the global body calling for those responsible to be brought to justice.

It was the junta's deadliest attack since seizing power in 2021. As resistance forces have become better armed, the military has doubled down on its strategy of carrying out air raids and targeting civilians.

At least 30 children were among the dead in the attack in Sagaing Region, said an emergency worker at the scene and an official of the shadow National Unity Government, which considers itself to be Myanmar's true government. The death toll was expected to rise, reported The New York Times.

However, the death toll from the early Tuesday morning strike in the remote Kanbalu township in Sagaing region remains unclear.

Photos from the village being shared on social media showed more than a dozen burned and mutilated bodies, while videos showed a destroyed building, burned motorcycles and debris scattered over a wide area. Rescuers at the scene confirmed the authenticity of the images with The New York Times.

The apparent target of the attack was a celebration to mark the local resistance movement's opening of an administration office. Only the charred frame of the building remained standing after the air raid, a video and photos showed.

Myanmar's military, which has battled armed ethnic groups for territorial control since soon after independence in 1948, has a long history of brutal attacks on civilians.

Since the coup, pro-democracy forces have united with some armed ethnic groups in a national campaign to oust the military from power, creating the most unified resistance movement the military has faced.

As the rebel forces have become increasingly better armed, the military has doubled down on its strategy of carrying out deadly air raids and attacking civilians, including the killing of monks and civilians at a monastery last month. (ANI)