A seven-year-old girl has been shot dead by security forces in Myanmar, becoming the youngest known victim in the crackdown following last month’s military coup, local residents say. Family members said the girl was killed at her home in the city of Mandalay.
Myanmar has been gripped by protests since the military seized control on 1 February. Rights group Save the Children says more than 20 children are among dozens of people who have been killed. In total, the military says 164 people have been killed in protests, while the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) activist group puts the death toll at at least 261.
The military earlier on Tuesday expressed sadness at the death of protesters, but blamed them for bringing anarchy to the country. An army spokesman said anti-coup demonstrators were responsible for acts of violence and arson. Staff at a Mandalay funeral service told Reuters news agency that the seven-year-old died of bullet wounds in Chan Mya Thazi township. Local media outlet Myanmar Now reported that soldiers shot at her father, but hit the girl as she was sitting on his lap inside their home.
The child has been identified as Khin Myo Chit. Aid workers said a rescue team rushed to get her medical treatment, but could not save her life. Family members say her 19-year-old brother was also arrested. The military has not commented on the reports. In a statement, Save the Children said it was “horrified” by the girl’s death, which came a day after a 14-year-old boy was reportedly shot dead in Mandalay.
“The death of these children is especially concerning given that they reportedly were killed while being at home, where they should have been safe from harm. The fact that so many children are being killed on an almost daily basis now shows a complete disregard for human life by security forces,” the group said.