Burmese army charges families $ 85 to recover bodies of relatives killed in crackdown

A police vehicle is parked on a road in South Okkalapa township to block anti-coup protesters.  rally in Yangon, Myanmar on Friday April 9, 2021.

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At least 82 people were killed on Friday in Bago, 90 kilometers (56 miles) northeast of Yangon, after the city was “attacked” by military security forces, the defense group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

More than 700 people have died since the military overthrew Myanmar’s elected government in a February 1 coup, according to the AAPP. Since then, junta security forces made up of police, soldiers and elite counterinsurgency troops have embarked on a systematic crackdown on unarmed and peaceful protesters, detaining around 3,000 people and forcing militants to withdraw. hide.

The Burmese military fired at anti-coup protesters in the town of Bago on Friday, using assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and hand grenades, AAPP said.

An eyewitness who lives in the town of Bago, who cannot be named for security reasons, told CNN on Sunday that many residents had fled to nearby villages since the raid on Friday. The internet has been cut off in the area since Friday, the eyewitness said, and security forces are searching neighborhoods.

“I lived on the main road. Security forces often come and stand, ”the witness told CNN, adding that bodies piled up in the morgue after the shootings. “Due to the threat, we had to move into the house in the next lane”,
The military is now charging families 120,000 Burmese kyat ($ 85) to recover the bodies of relatives who died on Friday, according to a Facebook post by the Bago University Students Union.

Radio Free Asia’s Burmese service corresponded to reports from the University of Bago Student Union. CNN has not independently verified the report and has contacted the military for comment.

The Myanmar military claimed its forces were assaulted by protesters in Bago on Friday, according to the state newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar.

“Security forces were attacked by groups of rioters as they removed road barriers solidified by rioters in the streets of Bago yesterday,” Global New Light of Myanmar reported, adding: attacking security forces. “

The newspaper said a protester died in Friday’s incident. “Evidence of the confiscation of grenades and ammunition indicates that small arms were used,” the report added.

Myanmar’s military detained a volunteer Red Cross doctor in Bago on April 2, the organization confirmed to CNN on Sunday. Volunteer Nay Myo, who is also president of the Red Cross in Bago, has not been charged but remains in detention, the Red Cross said.

Another volunteer doctor providing free medical aid in the field, Wai Yan Myo Lwin, was detained in Bago on Sunday, his family confirmed to CNN.

Protesters march during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on April 11, 2021. Protesters march during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on April 11, 2021.

Reaction to violence

The U.S. Embassy in Myanmar called on Sunday to end the violence.

“We mourn the senseless loss of life in Bago and across the country where regime forces allegedly used weapons of war against civilians,” the embassy said in a statement. post on their official Twitter account.

“The regime has the capacity to resolve the crisis and must start by ending the violence and the attacks,” he added.

Burmese military denies responsibility for child deaths, says elections could be postponed Burmese military denies responsibility for child deaths, says elections could be postponed

The NGO Human Rights Watch published a letter on Thursday urging the European Union to “fully apply” the sanctions against the military and “urgently adopt additional sanctions”.

“The people of Myanmar are once against the bullets of the army, but they courageously continue their fight, relentlessly,” the letter said. “The condemnation of the EU and the efforts to advance accountability and justice for the serious, widespread and systematic abuses by the military junta are welcome and important, but words and partial measures are not enough. “

But the army’s commander-in-chief, Major General Min Aung Hlaing, defended the coup over the weekend, saying the junta “had not seized power but had taken steps to strengthen the system. multiparty democratic ”, according to Global New Light of Myanmar.

Military spokesman General Zaw Min Tun previously told CNN that the generals were only “protecting” the country while they investigated a “fraudulent” election, and that bloodshed in the streets is the fault of the demonstrators “rioters”.

CNN stringers in Myanmar contributed reporting.

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