At least 20 people have been killed in fighting between militias and Myanmar’s security forces, according to witnesses and media in Myanmar, in the worst violence since opponents of the military government this week called for a ‘people’s defense war’.
The latest violence comes when activists and anti-military forces on Saturday urged the international community to take action, saying the lack of ‘significant outside intervention’ led to the armed resistance.
‘The young people of Myanmar [have] no choice but to fight back with what they have, ”the civil disobedience movement said in a statement early Saturday, while the United Nations and representatives of the Southeast Asian nations made a direct appeal to the opposition’s national unity government. it (NUG).
Ahead of a UN General Assembly meeting to decide who represents Myanmar as a special envoy, opposition forces are also launching a campaign this weekend to recognize the NUG as the legitimate government representative.
The NUG, formed to resist the takeover of the army on February 1, had earlier called for an uprising against military rule, in an apparent attempt to coordinate groups fighting the army and persuade soldiers and civil servants to side to change.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the overthrow of Aung San Suu Kyi’s government, which ended a decade of provisional democracy and provoked nationwide anger, strikes and protests, and the emergence of militia groups attacking security forces.
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which monitors the human rights situation in Myanmar, at least 1,058 have been killed since the uprising against the military began. More than 6,300 others are currently in custody.
More arrests were reported across the country on Saturday morning, including in the country’s largest city Yangon and in the Sagaing region.
Fighting since Thursday between the military and defense volunteers attached to the unity government in the town of Myin Thar has resulted in local militias and villagers being killed, after troops used heavy artillery, according to media and a witness.
“They fired artillery, burned down houses in our town,” said a 42-year-old resident, adding that three children as well as his 17-year-old son, a member of the militia, were killed among 20 people.
“I have lost everything I have … I will not forgive them until the end of the world,” he told Reuters by telephone, struggling to recognize his son among the bodies.
Messages on social media on Friday and Saturday also paid tribute to the people killed, including young men who appear to be minors.
According to reports, minors have died
BBC Burmese said on Friday that 10 people were killed in Myin Thar in the Magway region in central Myanmar, while the Irrawaddy news website reported 17 victims, including minors.
According to Irrawaddy, military spokesman Zaw Min Tun said fighting had taken place in Magway. The spokesman did not respond to calls from Reuters for comment.
Four civilians, including a 9-month-old, were injured when the military regime fired heavy weapons on Thursday during a clash with local resistance fighters in Thantlang, Chin State. Some houses were damaged and residents were forced to flee their homes. #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar pic.twitter.com/Nqih9pod0N
– The Irrawaddy (Eng) (@IrrawaddyNews) 10 September 2021
Myanmar’s neighbors are demanding all restraint following Tuesday’s call for nationwide retaliation by the shadow government.
Some analysts have warned that the move could have a setback and complicate the opposition’s efforts to gain international support. But the opposition said the lack of international support had led to activists and other people taking matters into their own hands.
Irrawaddy also reported that three soldiers were killed in the largest city, Yangon, on Thursday.
Clashes erupted on Thursday and continued late on Friday in Thantlang in the state of Chin, which borders India, news reports also said.
The news service Radio Free Asia and Mizzima said the army carried out airstrikes. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
The defense minister of the NUG did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation of the incidents on Thursday and Friday.
Reuters could not verify the reports of clashes, which the state-run MRTV mentioned in its news report.
The military controls information strictly and its media was selective in reporting unrest.
On Tuesday, about a dozen military-owned communications towers were destroyed, the same day a shadow government that overthrew the coup called for a ‘defense war of the people against the junta’.