A heartbroken dad has told of the moment he watched his 10-year-old daughter shot dead by a camouflaged assassin in Myanmar.
U Soe Oo was chopping open coconuts when his excited daughter Aye Myat Thu ran off with a freshly-cut slice dripping in her hands at a sleepy area in their home town.
He told the New York Times how he dropped his machete and ran towards her after she suddenly began to stumble and fell flat on her stomach.
No one saw Aye’s killer as the father knelt down next to her and noticed there was blood spilling onto the ground from a bullet wound at about 5.30pm, on March 27.
He said: “She just fell down. And she died.”
Armed forces have been accused of showing “utter disrespect” to children’s lives following a military coup in the south-east Asian country.
Security forces had opened fire into a crowd of civilian protestors in Mawlamyine, killing two, but Mr Soe Oo said he did not know why soldiers had wandered into his quiet neighbourhood.
“I want to tear off the soldier’s skin as revenge,” U Thein Nyunt, the girl’s uncle, told the Times. “She was just an innocent child with a kind heart. She was our angel.”
Aye Myat Thu’s family placed her favourite belongings next to her body at her funeral: a set of crayons, a few dolls and a purple rabbit, some Fair and Lovely cream, a Monopoly board and a drawing of Hello Kitty she had sketched two days before she was killed.
On the paper, next to the cartoon cat, Aye Myat Thu had written out her name in careful English letters.
Her mother Ms Toe Toe Lwin said: “I feel empty.”
Aye Myat Thu was then cremated by her family amid reports of soldiers stealing corpses of those they killed across the country in a suspected cover-up of their brutality.
Save the Children says at least 43 children – as young as six – have been killed by armed forces in the two months since the country was engulfed in a military coup.
It said the army is demonstrating the “utter disrespect of armed forces for the lives of children”.
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“This is a nightmare scenario unfolding,” the group said.
“Innocent children have had their futures brutally and needlessly snatched away from them. Grieving families – among them young children who have seen siblings die – are suffering unimaginable loss and pain.”