A violent attack on a Buddhist monastery in the eastern Myanmar village of Nam Nain, located in the southern Shan State, has resulted in the deaths of at least 22 people, including three monks.
Both the military-backed junta and local armed resistance groups are accusing each other of carrying out the gruesome assault.
The Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF), an armed insurgent group, claimed that soldiers ambushed the monastery where villagers had sought shelter for the past month. The villagers had been trying to escape ongoing clashes between the military and armed civilians since the February 2021 coup that ended Myanmar’s attempt at democracy.
A KNDF spokesperson told local news outlet The Kantarawaddy Times that the military appeared to have brutally shot the victims, including the monks, after lining them up in front of the monastery.
According to ABC News, an unnamed man who had previously fled the village reported that he spoke to a monk by phone just before the killings occurred. The monk informed him that the attackers were entering the village and that he could hear gunshots and artillery before abruptly ending the call.
A Karenni leader claimed to have witnessed about 100 soldiers setting fire to homes and firing bullets on the village. However, a government spokesperson placed the blame on resistance groups, referring to them as “terrorists” and stating that some villagers were killed and injured during the exchange of gunfire.
This incident comes on the heels of allegations that military soldiers raped and beheaded at least 17 people in western Myanmar villages earlier this month, as reported by ABC News. The escalating violence continues to raise concerns for the safety and stability of the region.