At least 22 people, including three Buddhist monks, were shot dead at close range in central Myanmar last week, according to a doctor's post-mortem report, in what opponents of military rule say was a massacre of civilians conducted by the army.

Iran PressAsia: As many as 22 people, including three Buddhist monks, were shot dead at close range at a monastery in Myanmar’s Southern Shan State on Saturday. The opponents of military rule say it was a massacre of civilians conducted by the army, Reuters reported.

The local insurgent groups and the military-backed junta have accused each other of carrying out a massacre.

Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun told Reuters the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) and another rebel group entered Nan Neint village after government forces arrived to provide security with a local people's militia.

"When the terrorist groups violently opened fire, some villagers were killed and injured," he said.

A spokesperson for Mynammar's junta said its troops had been involved in clashes with rebel fighters in the Pinlaung region of southern Shan state but had not harmed any civilians.

According to CNN, photos and a video of the incident provided by KNDF showed as many as 21 bodies piled up around the Nan Nein Monastery. The report said many of them were seen wearing civilian clothes and had multiple gunshot wound.

In the video provided by the group, visible bullet holes could be seen on the walls of the monastery, the report said. The bodies were seen lined up and slumped against the monastery’s walls with pools of blood on the ground below.

A post-mortem report by Dr. Ye Zaw said automatic weapons were likely used at close range to kill 22 people, including three saffron-robed monks, Reuters said in a report.

"Since there were no military uniforms, equipment and ammunition found on the rest of the bodies, it is evident that they were civilians," said the report, a copy of which was reviewed by Reuters.

Both the KNDF and Myanmar’s military agree fighting took place in the area. But conflicting accounts of the massacre have emerged in the aftermath of the killings at the monastery.

“The Burmese military killed three monks and 19 civilians on 11 March,” KNDF spokesman Philip Soe Aung told CNN. “Our troops arrived at the monastery on 12 March and saw the dead bodies.”

Fierce fighting had taken place between local insurgent groups and Myanmar’s military in an area near Nan Nein Village last week.

Fighting has been raging in the area for at least two weeks, with about 100 structures burnt down in and around the site of the alleged massacre in Nan Neint, according to local media reports, resistance forces and satellite images verified by Myanmar Witness, an organisation that documents human rights violations.