At least 29 people, including women and children, have been killed in an artillery strike on a refugee camp in Myanmar, according to local media reports.
The camp in Kachin State was struck close to midnight on Monday, three miles from a base in the town of Laiza, which borders China.
The town is run by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), which has been in conflict with Myanmar’s military junta for years.
Khon Ja, an activist with the Kachin Peace Network Civil society, said she had visited the local hospital and was told 29 people were dead and 59 injured.
“The bomb was too strong… the village was totally destroyed and disappeared,” she said.
Sky News could not independently verify the number of dead.
The shadow National Unity Government (NUG) blamed Myanmar’s military junta for the attack, It condemned it as a vicious attack on civilians and urged the world to take action to halt the atrocities and put Myanmar’s generals on trial.
“This act of military council is war crime and crime against humanity,” NUG spokesperson Kyaw Zaw said, adding the attack at the border with China showed the junta did not respect its neighbour’s demand for peace and stability.
A spokesperson for the junta said the military was not responsible.
“We are investigating. We always take care of border peace situation,” Zaw Min Tun told People Media, adding the explosion may have involved an ethnic rebel group’s own munitions.
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The country has been embroiled in a brutal conflict in multiple regions in the wake of a 2021 coup that saw the military junta seize control.
Widespread protests followed, which were brutally suppressed by the security forces. Ethnic minority armies and a resistance movement continue to battle to undermine military rule.
Tensions have led to more than one million people being displaced, according to the United Nations.
The United Nations in Myanmar said on Facebook it was deeply concerned by reports of the incident, adding that “civilians should never be a target”.
Unverified images shared on social media showed casualties on the floor and body bags lined up.
Others showed men in military attire sifting through wreckage and a man carrying the body of a small child.