KIO: Hpakant Concert Bombing Is A War Crime

The Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) has vowed to use the massacre in Hpakant, in which at least 78 people were killed at a concert, as an opportunity to step up its fight against the illegal military regime.

The political organisation, whose military wing, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), is fighting the Burma Army (BA) in Kachin and northern Shan states, said in a statement on 25 October that it would avenge this tragic loss of civilian and military lives committed by the regime.

On Sunday, three jet fighters bombed a concert marking the 62nd anniversary of the KIO in A Nang Pa in the KIA’s Brigade 9 area in Kachin State. Many have pointed out that the bombing was a crime against humanity because the regime deliberately killed many civilians who had gathered for the open-air concert.

“This army is not our friend, they are our enemies,” a Hpakant man told KNG on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals.

Three shells dropped during the concert killed four Kachin artists, including the famous Kachin singer Aurali and pianist Kingb, at least 8 KIA and businessmen and ordinary civilians.

“They violated international law; it’s a war crime,” said KIO spokesperson Col Naw Bu, pointing out that the BA knew they were targeting a public gathering.

On Monday, regime soldiers prevented those who were wounded from being transported to hospitals in Hpakant and Myitkyina and wouldn’t let doctors and nurses reach A Nang Pa to provide aid, adding to the death toll from the bombing.

“People’s legs and hands were severed, and they bled to death because they could not get medical attention in time,” another anonymous source told KNG. He heard that the Kachin Baptist Convention and the Kachin Peace-talk Creation Group have given up trying to negotiate with the soldiers to let the injured past army checkpoints because they have hit a brick wall.

Several Kachin civil society organisations, ethnic armed organisations and international organisations have released their own statements condemning the BA’s massacre in Hpakant Township.

To commemorate the victims of the bombing, the KIO/KIA has flown its flag at half-mast in the areas under its control in Kachin State.

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