The report gives a more detailed account of a Myanmar junta helicopter attack on a school that killed at least six children

A report from a Myanmar human rights organization claims to shed new light on an airstrike and attack on a school and a Buddhist monastery earlier this year that killed at least 11 people, including six children.

Warning: This story contains descriptions of graphic violence that may upset some readers.

The junta has acknowledged that two army helicopters fired on a school in Let Yet Kone village in Tabayin township in the central Sagaing region in September.

It said rebels used the targeted building to attack its troops and as a base through which to move weapons.

However, new information – collected in the weeks following the attack and published today by Myanmar Witness, which collects and verifies evidence of human rights incidents in Myanmar – has provided a more detailed account of the incident.

According to Myanmar Witness, the school, which had more than 240 students and was housed in a monastery building, was attacked on the afternoon of Sept. 16 by junta forces arriving in four Russian-made helicopters.

As about 80 junta soldiers raided the village, two Mi-35 attack helicopters fired Soviet-developed S-5 ground attack missiles at the school.

Front of a school that was attacked in Myanmar
The attack on the school lasted about an hour.(Reuters)

Initial reports suggested six children had been killed and 17 injured.

In its new report, the Myanmar Witness said at least 13 people were killed.

It confirmed that at least six of the dead were children from the school, but it is also alleged that a seventh child was killed.

The attack also killed seven villagers aged 13 to 49, along with volunteer teachers.

A building with two large holes just below the awnings.
Buildings in Let Yet Kone village were damaged in the airstrikes.(Included: Myanmar Witness)

“The locals’ depictions of the events tell of a grim and bloody aftermath, with many injured, some seriously, with limbs lost,” Myanmar Witness said.

“Debris from shelling and the airstrike left casings, including the verified remains of claimed S-5 missiles.”

Metal pieces of various sizes and shapes are placed on a bamboo mat.
Myanmar Witness says S-5 missile debris found in Let Yet Kone.(Included: Myanmar Witness)

According to Myanmar Witness, only junta forces have the aircraft suitable for use with S-5 missiles.

After the attack, which lasted about an hour, junta forces took between 15 and 20 people and also removed the corpses of the child victims, the investigation found.

“Their bodies were buried or cremated seven miles away in Ye-U township, presumably to destroy evidence of child victims,” ​​Myanmar Witness said.

“This shows a lack of care and the effort to remove the scene of potential evidence of the crimes. This has prevented families from holding funerals.

“Reports state that the injured were treated at the nearby Ye-U Hospital and some of the injured have reportedly lost limbs.”

Myanmar Witness says it has the largest database of verified evidence related to human rights incidents in Myanmar, and used interviews with people on the ground in its report The Tabayin School Attack: How children were killing while learning.

The ABC has not been able to independently verify the claims.

Junta accuses armed opponents of using human shields

A group of soldiers with bayonets while wearing maroon berets
At the beginning of last year, the army returned to power in Myanmar.(Reuters: Ann Wang)

The military issued a statement as the first details of the attack emerged, blaming opposition movements.

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