Burma: 25 dead in clashes between the army and opponents of the junta

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The Burmese army has killed 25 opponents in clashes with a “local defense group” in the center of the country, villagers reported on Sunday. These groups are made up of militants opposed to the February 1 putsch, armed with hunting rifles and homemade weapons.

The spiral of violence is escalating in Burma, where groups opposing the junta have taken up arms to do battle with military forces. It was during such a clash that 25 fighters and civilians opposed to the coup were killed by the army, villagers reported on Sunday (July 4th).

Since the military coup that overthrew civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the country has been plagued by unrest that has resulted in the deaths of 890 people, according to a local NGO.

In some areas, civilians have organized themselves into “defense groups” to fight the junta, most often using hunting rifles or homemade weapons.

In particular, the region around Saigaing (center) is experiencing an increase in skirmishes between these groups and the military. On Friday, fighting broke out in Depayin Township.

According to residents interviewed by AFP, soldiers arriving in trucks opened fire on a village near the jungle in an attempt to dislodge members of the local defense group.

“We heard artillery fire 26 times,” said a villager. “They shot at everything that moved on the road and in the village,” he added, adding that civilians were among the victims.

Villagers waited until the next day to leave their homes and count the casualties, according to another witness, who helped pick up the bodies around Depayin. “We first found nine bodies which we buried” as early as Saturday, he said, adding that eight more victims had been found by another team. Eight new bodies were discovered on Sunday.

“I noticed that most of them were shot in the head,” he said, an observation confirmed to AFP by another person who took part in the burials.

Daily events

According to the same source, the military presence is increasing in the region, leading to the displacement of thousands of inhabitants who fear a new attack.

The BBC, in its Burmese language version, reported a similar record.

State media assured that soldiers on patrol were ambushed. According to the daily Global New Light of Myanmar, the soldiers repelled “armed terrorists” and subsequently recovered “four mortars and six firearms”.

In another attack in the Sagaing region, a member of the security forces was killed and the authorities “are working to stabilize the region,” according to the newspaper.

Despite threats of repression, demonstrators still take to the streets daily to challenge the military regime. On Sunday in Sagaing, residents held short rallies, making the three-fingered salute, a symbol of resistance.

With AFP

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