At least 60 people have been killed in an aerial attack on a concert in Kachin state, sources have told Al Jazeera.
At least 60 people have been killed, including well-known artists and musicians, in an aerial attack on a concert in Kachin state by Myanmar’s military, sources have told Al Jazeera.
“Three Myanmar jets are reported to have been involved in the attack in Kansi village,” Al Jazeera’s Tony Cheng, reporting from neighbouring Thailand, said on Monday.
“The aftermath of the attack shows an awful lot of destruction. There is a lot of debris … vehicles strewn across the open ground,” he said from the Thai capital Bangkok, adding that there are “still 100 seriously injured people”.
Cheng said the attacks took place while artists were performing on stage as part of the 62nd anniversary of the founding of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), a powerful separatist group based in the country’s north.
“Some very celebrated Kachin singers are also believed to be amongst the fatalities,” he said.
KIO has been fighting Myanmar’s military for decades and supports the resistance against last February’s military coup.
The organisation did not comment immediately on the attack.
Cheng said that, according to sources, the injured were not being allowed to leave the area by the military who closed off the area with checkpoints around the village.
“Many of them in urgent need of medical attention,” he said.
The National Unity Government (NUG) in exile – established by the democratically-elected politicians removed from office in last year’s military coup – condemned the attack. One NUG minister told Al Jazeera this was just another example of Myanmar’s military attacking civilians.
Cheng said the attack appeared to be part of a pattern that has emerged in recent months. Myanmar military, he said, has used its air superiority to conduct air raids, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.
The South East Asian nation has been in political turmoil since the February 1, 2021, military takeover, which was met with peaceful nationwide protests. However, after the army and police killed demonstrators opposing military rule, civilians throughout the country formed armed units as part of a People’s Defence Force (PDF) to fight the military rule.
According to the rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which documents killings and human rights violations in Myanmar, at least 2,370 people have been killed and more than 15,900 arrested since the coup.