At least five opposition rebels have been killed after days of clashes in Myanmar, anti-junta militia said on Sunday, as Britain and the United States condemn military violence against civilians .
The country has been in turmoil since the military ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a February 1 coup, sparking a massive uprising that authorities have sought to quell with lethal force.
Some members of the anti-junta movement have set up local militias armed with homemade weapons to protect their towns from security forces – who have killed at least 790 civilians according to a local watch group.
In western Chin state, the town of Mindat has become a hotspot for unrest, where some residents have formed the Chinland Defense Force (CDF).
“We have at least five members killed and more than 10 injured,” this week, a CDF spokesperson said, adding that five residents of Mindat had also been arrested by the army.
With mobile data blocked across the country, details of the fighting have been slow to come out and verification on the ground is made more difficult as residents fear reprisals.
The spokesperson, who declined to be named, told AFP that CDF fighters set several army trucks on fire, destroying them, and ambushing reinforcement troops, while that the army attacked the city with artillery.
On Sunday, the CDF withdrew into the jungle, he said.
“We won’t stay in town anymore… but we will be back to attack soon,” he said. “We only have homemade weapons. It was not enough. ”
He added that residents who remained in Mindat – which has been under martial law since Thursday – were afraid to leave their homes for fear of being targeted by the military.
The US and British embassies in Myanmar sounded the alarm on Saturday over unrest in Mindat, calling on security forces to end the violence.
“The military’s use of weapons of war against civilians, including this week in Mindat, is yet another demonstration of the depths into which the regime will sink to retain power,” the US embassy said in a statement. tweet Saturday.
The British Embassy said Mindat’s violence “cannot be justified”.
“Evidence of atrocities should be sent to the (United Nations Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar) so that perpetrators can be held to account,” the embassy tweeted, referring to a committee that collects evidence. evidence of international crimes.
State newspaper New Light of Myanmar reported on Sunday that a military court would be convened to try “terrorists” in Mindat.
Across the country, anti-coup protesters continue to march for democracy – with protesters in northern Hpakhant holding signs saying “Stay strong, Mindat”.
© 2021 AFP