On Tuesday, a village in central Myanmar burned bright enough to be seen on NASA satellites. On Wednesday, all that remained of Kin Ma were a few lone houses and traumatized residents speaking out about what they witnessed. The once vast village of 240 homes was reduced to around 30 standing homes and the rest rubble and ash around them.
The amount of casualties remains unnamed at this time. The state television has declared the tragedy the work of “terrorists”, but locals who gave their accounts to news outlets say otherwise. According to multiple people there, the military is to hold accountable for the destruction of Kin Ma.
Reportedly the incident started with an altercation between Myanmar military forces and a local militia group who opposes the current military coup that has been going on since February 1. The U.K. ambassador for Myanmar, Dan Chugg spoke out against the attack in a post on Facebook. He claimed that this attack showed the military “has no regard for the people of Myanmar.”
Myanmar has been under a declared state of emergency since the military took over in February. The state of emergency is set to last a full year. This move came after an accusation of voter fraud in the last general election, which saw Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (NLD) put into power.
The election commission that oversaw the event said that there was no evidence to support the claim of any widespread fraud and declared the election “largely free and fair”. It has been announced by the military that another general election will be held once the state of emergency is over.
Ms Suu Kyi has been taken and held at an unknown location since the beginning of the coup, along with other members of the NLD. Currently holding the top position of power is Military Commander-In-Chief Min Aung Hlaing. The residents of Myanmar have reacted to this with widespread protests across the state, holding some of the largest mass demonstrations there since 2007.
This has only concluded with curfews and limits to gatherings rather than any open forms of discussion. The military has responded to protests with non-lethal crowd control methods such as rubber bullets and water cannons, but that hasn’t stopped the loss of life. As of today there are about 800 reported deaths and around 5,000 people reported detained. Internationally the military takeover has been criticized, and South East Asian countries are working to find a diplomatic effort to put an end to the crisis in Myanmar.