Airstrike Reportedly Kills 7 Children

( 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.

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.

While many reports of the September 16 attack have not been verified, some outlets are claiming army helicopters opened fire on a school in the village of Let Yet Kone in the central Sagaing region that housed a Buddhist monastery. Some of the dead were killed in the initial attack while others died after troops entered the village.

Unconfirmed reports also claimed the bodies of the dead were taken away by the military and buried in a town several miles away. One resident claimed that 2,000 people were forced to flee their homes.

In a statement after the attack, the military junta claimed the rebel groups the Kachin Independence Army and the People’s Defense Force had been hiding in the monastery and using the village to transport weapons in the region.

According to the military, security forces were sent in by helicopter to conduct “a surprise inspection” when they were attacked by the rebel forces inside the monastery. It said the security forces then responded and some villagers were killed in the clash while the wounded were taken to nearby hospitals.

In its statement, the military accused the rebel groups of using the villagers as human shields and said weapons, including 16 improvised explosive devices, had later been seized.

The National Unity Government, Myanmar’s pro-democracy shadow government, condemned the attack, accusing the military junta of launching “targeted attacks” on schools.

According to Save the Children, violent attacks on schools in Myanmar skyrocketed last year, from only 10 in 2020 to around 190 in 2021.