As Myanmar’s coup death toll continues to climb past 500, dozens of children are among those killed by the country’s military junta in the past two months.
The death toll of children has more than doubled in the last 12 days, according to the international humanitarian group Save the Children. Forty-three kids have died since Myanmar’s military announced it would be taking over the country for at least a year on February 1, spurring anti-coup protests and demonstrations throughout the nation.
“We are shocked that children continue to be among the targets of these fatal attacks, despite repeated calls to protect children from harm,” Save the Children said in a Wednesday statement.
Among the dead is a 13-year old boy who was reportedly shot in the head while fleeing from armed forces; a 14-year-old boy who was reportedly killed in or around his own home; and the youngest known victim so far — a 6-year-old girl.
NBC News reported last week that Khin Myo Chit, a 7-year-old, was killed by security forces in her own home before she died in her father’s arms.
“They brought her to me,” her father, U Maung Ko Hashin Bai, said to Sky News. “I was carrying her and running in the street. She died on the way, she didn’t even reach the clinic.”
A total of 15 children younger than 16, including a 9-year-old and 11-year-old, are among the dead, according to Save the Children.
“It is especially horrifying that several of these children were reportedly killed at home, where they should have been safe from harm,” Save the Children said.
The total death count has more than tripled in the last three weeks. In mid-March, 138 peaceful protesters had been killed in Myanmar since the coup. That number is now up to 550, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners advocacy group.
A woman looks at a child as residents inspect a burned house after an overnight fire that engulfed over 100 houses in Mandalay on April 1, 2021.
Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images
The ongoing violence has left its mark on children throughout the country. Save the Children said the number of kids who have been physically injured is unknown, though likely significant. The group did report that among the injured was a one-year-old baby who was reportedly shot in the eye with a rubber bullet.
“This is a nightmare scenario unfolding. Innocent children have had their futures brutally and needlessly snatched away from them,” the group’s statement said. “Children have witnessed violence and horror. It is clear that Myanmar is no longer a safe place for children.”
The military junta has ramped up the violence in the last week, conducting airstrikes in the southeast, according to CNN. More children were among those killed and injured in a series of airstrikes on villages controlled by the Karen National Union, an ethnic group of rebels, the outlet reported.
A 5-year-old boy died over the weekend and a 12-year-old girl suffered facial injuries after being hit with bomb shrapnel, according to Free Burma Rangers, a relief organization.
The country’s military announced it would be taking over earlier this year following the detainment of several top politicians. The junta cited unfounded claims of mass voter fraud as justification for the coup just hours before the new parliament was scheduled to meet for the first time since the November election.
Wide-scale pro-democracy protests continue throughout the country, even as the junta fully cut wireless broadband internet services on Friday, after weeks of overnight cutoffs.
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