Two relief workers for Save the Children were among those killed in eastern Myanmar in an attack on Christmas Eve, the group said Tuesday.
The group blamed the country’s military for the incident that left at least 35 people dead in Kayah state.
“Violence against innocent civilians including aid workers is intolerable, and this senseless attack is a breach of International Humanitarian Law,” the group’s chief executive, Inger Ashing, said in a statement.
“This is not an isolated event. The people of Myanmar continue to be targeted with increasing violence and these events demand an immediate response,” Ashing said.
Myanmar’s military said its forces had come under attack when it tried to stop seven cars it said were driving in a “suspicious way.”
Military spokesman Zaw Min Tun told the French news agency that troops killed several people in the ensuing clash.
An anti-government militia that operates in the area, the Karenni National Defense Force, said those killed were not militia members but rather civilians fleeing conflict.
In response to the attack, Save the Children called for the U.N. Security Council to implement an arms embargo on the country’s government.
The U.S. Embassy in Myanmar described the attack as “barbaric.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also condemned the attack.
“The targeting of innocent people and humanitarian actors is unacceptable, and the military’s widespread atrocities against the people of Burma underscore the urgency of holding its members accountable,” Blinken said in a statement.
Myanmar has been the scene of much unrest since a military coup in February led to nationwide protests and violent crackdowns on them by government forces. Some 1,400 have been reported killed.
While initial protests were peaceful, armed resistance against the military government has increased, leading some U.N. experts to warn the country is at risk of a civil war.
Some information in this report comes from The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.