Myanmar’s security forces shot dead a 7-year-old girl in Mandalay’s city on Tuesday, the youngest victim yet in the military’s bloody crackdown on civilian opposition to the February 1 coup.
According to the advocacy group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) and Reuters news agency, the young girl was killed in her home during a military raid.
Citing relatives, local news outlet Myanmar Now reported the girl, named Khin Myo Chit, was shot while sitting in her father’s lap after security forces kicked down the door to the family’s home. Soldiers asked the father of everyone in the family was present in the house — when the father said yes, they accused him of lying. They shot at him, hitting the girl instead, Myanmar Now reported, quoting the victim’s older sister.
The ruthless killing of a child in her father’s arms fits a pattern of abuse and indiscriminate use of deadly violence from Myanmar’s security forces that have targeted not only unarmed protesters and opponents to the coup, but bystanders, civilians in their homes, and children.
Myanmar was thrown into turmoil when the military, headed by coup-leader Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, seized power last month, overturning a democratic election, detaining civilian leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, and establishing a ruling military junta.
Photos from local media showed empty streets and deserted roads throughout the country Wednesday morning.
At least 275 people have been killed since the coup, according to AAPP, though activists say the death toll is likely much higher. More than 20 of those deaths are children, the humanitarian organization Save the Children said.
“We are horrified that children continue to be among the targets of these fatal attacks on peaceful protestors. 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,” Save the Children said in a statement Tuesday. “The fact that so many children are being killed on an almost daily basis shows a complete disregard for human life by security forces.”