On Sunday Jul 4th, two residents and Myanmar media said Myanmar security forces killed at least 25 people on Friday. The killings were due to a confrontation between the security forces and military government opponents at Depayin. This town is located in the Sagaing region, in the centre of the Southeast Asian nation.
Calls requesting comment on the violence at Depayin, received no response from a military spokesman. Depayin is approximately 300km north of Myanmar’s capital, Naypyidaw.
The Feb 1st coup against elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi has left Myanmar in shambles. In many parts of the country of more than 53 million people, violence by opposition protesters is on the rise.
Four military trucks dropped soldiers off at the village early on Friday. This is according to one resident of Depayin. Out of fear of reprisals, the resident remains anonymous.
Another anonymous resident claims his uncle was among the dead. He said “There were people dying at farms and by the railroad. They (soldiers) shot everything that moved.”
Local People’s Defence Force
To confront the soldiers, youths from a local People’s Defence Force took up positions. The People’s Defence Force is a group that opposes the military rule. The resident said the security forces heavier firepower made them retreat. The youths only had makeshift weapons.
State media reports of attack by armed terrorists
“Armed terrorists” had ambushed security forces patrolling the area, according to the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar. The terrorists killed one of the security forces, and wounded six soldiers. After retaliation by the security forces, the attackers quickly retreated.
The death tallies
Both anonymous residents said that a total of 25 bodies had been collected after the fighting. Similar accounts were carried by the BBC Burmese service website and Than Lwin Khet News service.
Around 10,000 people had fled the area as the death toll reached 31, according to the Myanmar Now news service. The details were not verified independently by Reuters.
On its Facebook page, the Depayin People’s Defence Force said that 18 of its members had been killed and a total of 11 members wounded.
Rivalling the military
Opponents of the junta in many parts of Myanmar founded the People’s Defence Forces movement. The opposing National Unity Government is an underground movement. It is working in association with some of the opponents to rival against the junta government.
For decades in Myanmar’s borderlands, around two dozen ethnic armed groups have fought for freedom. However, Depayin is in the heartland of the ethnic Bamar majority, which also dominates the armed forces.
Outcome from the Feb 1st coup
According to the United Nations, the violence sparked from the coup has driven over 230,000 Burmese people from their homes. Also, the UN says since the coup, security forces have killed over 880 people. Over 5,200 Burmese are under detention.
These figures are disputed by the military authorities without giving their own estimates.
The assumption of power is in line with the country’s constitution says the army. Madam Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, swept the November elections in a landslide win. The former electoral body dismissed the army’s allegation of election fraud, leading to the Feb 1st military coup.
Junta faces another challenge
On Sunday, Myanmar reported a daily record of 2,318 COVID-19 cases. This poses another challenge for the authorities. The state health system is currently in near collapse. Doctors and other health workers have deserted the health system in protest of the coup. Foreign countries have placed sanctions on Myanmar as well, resulting in medical equipment and supplies in critical short supply.
5th July 2021 23:00
This article brought to you by Legacy Times 传城时代