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In this photo provided by the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force, smokes and flames billow from vehicles in Hpruso township, Kayah state, Myanmar, Dec 24. — AP

BANGKOK: The international aid group Save the Children said two of its staffers were missing in a massacre in eastern Myanmar that left more than 30 people, including women and children, dead and burned in their vehicles after they were reportedly shot by government troops as they were fleeing combat.

Photos of the aftermath of the Christmas Eve killings in Mo So village, just outside Hpruso township in Kayah state, spread on social media, fuelling outrage against the military that took power in February after ousting the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

The US Embassy in Mya­nmar said it was appalled by the barbaric attack in Kayah state that killed at least 35 civilians, including women and children.

“We will continue to press for accountability for the perpetrators of the ongoing campaign of violence against the people of Burma,” it said in a statement. Save the Children said it was suspending operations in the region.

A villager who said he went to the scene said that the victims had fled the fighting between armed resistance groups and Myanmar’s army near Koi Ngan village, which is just beside Mo So, on Friday.

He said they were killed after they were arrested by troops while heading to refugee camps in the western part of the township.

Save the Children said that two of its staff who were travelling home for the holidays after conducting humanitarian response work in a nearby community were caught up in the incident and remain missing.

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