Bangkok, Jun 14 (EFE).- Myanmar’s military junta on Monday accused an armed ethnic group it is fighting of killing 25 construction workers and kidnapping 22 others in the east of the country, according to state press.
The Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper published on its website a photograph of the 25 bodies in a clearing in a forest and accused the Karen National Defense Organization of their death and of kidnapping 22 others – including 10 children and six women.
According to the military regime, the victims were working on the construction of a bridge in Myawaddy, near the border with Thailand, and were kidnapped while working on May 31, along with the women and children who accompanied them.
The newspaper said seven lifeless bodies, one burned, were found Friday, while the military found the remaining 18 bodies the following day. The Karen group has not given its version of the events.
The army is in conflict with ethnic minorities in various parts of the country, including Chin, Kachin, Karen, Kokang, Kayah, Mon, Rakhine, Shan and Wa, who together represent more than 30 percent of the country’s 54 million people.
Many of these ethnic guerrillas have expressed their rejection of the military uprising that overthrew the government led by deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi and ended a decade of brittle democracy in Myanmar.
At least 863 people have died from military violence, according to figures from the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners, which also counts more than 6,028 detainees since the uprising.
The Myanmar Army justifies the coup on alleged electoral fraud in November’s elections, in which Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide victory, as it did in 2015, and which were considered legitimate by international observers. EFE