| 23 September 2021, Thursday |

Myanmar diplomat alerts UN to alleged military ‘massacre’

Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations Kyan Moe Tun, sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres saying 40 bodies had been found in Kani township in the Sagaing area of northwestern Myanmar in July. Tun who has refused to leave his post despite being fired after the military seized power in a coup six months ago, has alerted the world body to a “reported massacre” by the military regime.

The generals have denied the allegations, while AFP said it was not able to independently verify the reports due to mobile networks being cut in the Sagaing region.

Kyaw Moe Tun alleged that soldiers tortured and killed 16 men in a village in the township around July 9 and 10, after which 10,000 residents fled the area.

He said a further 13 bodies were discovered in the days following clashes between local fighters and security forces on July 26. Kyaw Moe Tun added that a further 11 men, including a 14-year-old boy, were killed and set on fire in a separate village on July 28.

In the letter, the ambassador repeated his call for a global arms embargo on the military and “urgent humanitarian intervention” from the international community.

“We cannot let the military keep on doing this kind of atrocity in Myanmar,” Kyaw Moe Tun told AFP.

“It is time for the UN, especially the UN Security Council, to take action.”

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the army removed the civilian leadership on February 1, launching a crackdown on dissent that has killed more than 900 people, according to a local monitoring group.

Kyaw Moe Tun has rejected the coup and brushed aside the military’s claims that he no longer represents Myanmar. The United Nations still considers him as the rightful envoy.

The representative was sacked by the military in February, a day after he gave a three-finger salute at the UN General Assembly following an impassioned speech calling for the return of civilian rule.

The “Hunger Games” gesture has been widely used by pro-democracy demonstrators in the country and in neighboring Thailand.