At least eleven children were killed and dozens wounded when army helicopters shot at a school in Myanmar, media reports and residents said on Monday, as the military said it opened fire because rebels were using the building to attack its forces.
According to media reports in the Mizzima and Irrawaddy news portals, army helicopters had opened fire on the school housed in a Buddhist monastery in the village. Some children were killed on the spot by the shooting, while others died after troops entered the village, the reports said.
UN chief António Guterres on Tuesday condemned the strike, according to his office, which stated that the death toll had climbed to at least 13 people died, including the 11 students whose school was hit.
In a statement, the UN Secretary General said that even in times of armed conflict, schools must remain areas in which children are granted protection and a safe place to learn.
Attacks on schools and hospitals in contravention of international humanitarian law also constitute one of the six grave violations against children, in times of armed conflict strongly condemned by the Security Council, said the statement.
The Sagaing region in the country’s north-west has experienced some of the fiercest fighting, and clashes between anti-coup fighters and the military have seen entire villages burned down.