Amnesty International denounced Wednesday "a new wave of war crimes and probably crimes against humanity" in Burma where the junta has increased air raids and artillery fire against civilian populations.
The army, in power since the 2021 coup, intensified its attacks in the east of the country between December and March, with ground troops carrying out extrajudicial executions, looting and burning villages, notes the NGO. in his report.
The airstrikes hit homes, health centers, temples and churches. "In almost all documented attacks, only civilians appear to have been present," Amnesty International said.
Artillery fire also targeted villages for several days, according to testimonies from residents collected by the organization.
Since the putsch of February 1, 2021 which overthrew the former civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, clashes have intensified in this area, located not far from the Thai border.
The junta is unable to annihilate its opponents, local militias supported by certain ethnic rebel factions. But the latter are not strong enough to overthrow the mighty army.
The NGO highlights several cases that could constitute war crimes in Kayah State (east).
On Christmas Eve, more than 30 charred bodies, including women and children, were discovered in the area, a massacre blamed on junta troops.
In January, the soldiers shot dead six people who were trying to flee to Thailand by crossing a river, according to an eyewitness quoted by the NGO.
That same month, an airstrike hit a camp for displaced people, killing a man and two sisters.
All these operations reflect "the characteristic policy of collective punishment of civilian communities" perceived as supporting opponents of the junta.
“We will carry out air strikes whenever necessary,” a spokesman for the junta told AFP.
The UN has already denounced "probable war crimes and crimes against humanity" committed since the putsch. Nearly 1,900 civilians were killed by security forces, including women and minors. Nearly 14,000 were arrested.
This is not the first time that the Burmese army has been accused of war crimes.
In 2017, more than 750,000 refugees from the Rohinngya Muslim minority found refuge in makeshift camps in Bangladesh, fleeing military abuses, large-scale violence described as "genocide" by the United States.