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UNITED NATIONS: A UN official said Sunday he was “horrified” by credible reports that at least 35 civilians were killed and their bodies burned in Myanmar, and demanded the government launch an investigation.

Two workers for non-profit group Save the Children remain missing after their vehicle was among several that were attacked and burned in the incident in eastern Kaya state.

A monitoring group and local media have blamed the attack on junta troops.

“I condemn this grievous incident and all attacks against civilians throughout the country,” United Nations under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs Martin Griffiths said in a statement.

He called for “a thorough and transparent investigation”.

Myanmar has been in chaos since a February coup, with more than 1,300 people killed in a crackdown by security forces, according to a local monitoring group.

“People’s Defence Forces” (PDF) have sprung up across the country to fight the junta, and have drawn the military into a bloody stalemate of clashes and reprisals. On Saturday, photos appeared on social media purporting to show two burned-out trucks and a car on a highway in Hpruso township in Kayah state, with the charred remains of bodies inside.

A member of a local PDF group said its fighters had found the vehicles Saturday morning after hearing the military had stopped several vehicles in Hpruso after clashes with its fighters nearby on Friday.

“When we went to check in the area this morning, we found dead bodies burnt in two trucks. We found 27 dead bodies,” he told AFP on condition of anonymity Saturday. “We found 27 skulls,” said another witness who did not want to be named, and who said there were other dead bodies that could not be counted. Save the Children said later Saturday that two of its Myanmar staff had been “caught up” in the incident and were missing.

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