The government army fired rocket launchers and grenades to destroy a protest camp in a city near Myanmar’s border with India on Wednesday, killing 12 protesters in a western region northern Myanmar, where civilians have inflicted military casualties.
During a severe crackdown that began before sunrise in the city of Kalay in the Sagaing region, security forces used heavy weapons to smash the protesters’ guard area known as the “Fort Tahan “was built to shield anti-coup protesters from police and soldiers’ guns.”
Witnesses said at least 12 local residents, including protesters, were killed, and many others were injured in Kalay. They were among at least 26 civilians killed on Wednesday in Myanmar’s security forces’ nationwide crackdowns on Wednesday, witnesses in multiple locations said.
“A lot of people were injured,” said a protester in Kalay.
“They fired from both sides,” he said. “There are many people trapped that cannot escape the onslaught because [the military] has expanded their forces across town. They blocked roads from villages to the south.
“Some people were beaten in the stomach, some were on their feet,” added the protesters.
Witnesses said rising casualties forced protesters to temporarily evacuate the protest fence, giving soldiers and police an opportunity to clear the giant fence with bulldozers.
Thought the army had previously made a deal with the young protesters not to use force until 10am, but they started to build up around 4am and launched the attack an hour later. , residents said.
At least 25 protesters in Kalay (Kale), a city of 400,000 people, have died at the hands of security forces since the military took power in the February 1 coup. In Sagaing’s Tamu, north of Kalay, 14 soldiers were killed over the weekend in protesters’ attacks, local media reported on Monday.
Nearly 600 people have died since the military took power and ousted the democratically elected government of country leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
The Association for Supporting Political Prisoners, a Myanmar human rights organization based in Thailand, said as of Wednesday, nearly 2,850 people are currently in the military custody.
Shooting in southern Shan state
In the town of Nyaungshwe, south of Shan State, security forces entered the town on Tuesday night after a power cut, killing one man, seriously injuring another and injuring about 10 people. , people said in the Facebook posts.
Residents pounded the pots to register to protest when the police and the military came over cursing and screaming, they said. When locals went out to confront them on the streets, forces opened fire, killing 20-year-old Taing Chitthu with a gunshot in the head.
Witnesses said a man named Paw Kauk also died from being shot in the head while attending a funeral in the village of Lweliyang in the town of Mogaung in the state of Kachin. The second man, Min Thu, was beaten in the thigh, they said.
“The shots are just single shots and take place when men go out to watch the stones thrown into their homes from the front. The gunshots were not too loud, ”said one resident.
In the Mandalay district of Myingyan, a man was shot in the hand near the electricity office when soldiers and police opened fire indiscriminately in two residential wards, local sources said. 4.
Explosions were heard at five locations in Yangon’s largest commercial and city center on Wednesday, with two explosions in the morning near the housing for servicemen’s families on Shwe Dagon Pagoda and road. Ziwaka, said the locals.
Three subsequent explosions occurred in front of the Sanchaung town management office, the Dagon Center in Myaynigone, and near the Port Authority Office on Strand Road. They said it still did not know if there were any casualties.
In the Bay of Bengal, southwest of the country’s 54 million people, naval forces in the “Quartet” of the United States, Australia, Japan and India launched a joint three-day joint exercise. day with the participation of two naval forces. French naval ships, the US government said.
At the same time, Myanmar’s military held a naval exercise on April 4 in the Gulf of Bengal waters of the country, while China and Russia warned against international interference in its crisis. Myanmar. Beijing and Moscow joined the UN’s criticism of the coup but blocked attempts to impose sanctions on the military.
“On the one hand, you could say it was a coincidence, but on the other hand, there is a question of why is this coincidence,” Htin Linn Aung of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Representative Committee (CRPH) Myanmar’s shadow government is composed of democratically elected lawmakers, said.
“It is very difficult to say precisely because the US, in conducting such an exercise, is not making such a loud statement.” “But now we can say that this is a remarkable event.”
Warnings against ‘improper interference’
Miemie Winn Byrd, Honolulu-based Asia-Pacific security analyst and retired Burmese-American colonel in the US Army, thinks China, a major investor in Myanmar, should change your stance and play an active role in stopping the violence from continuing.
The US “has repeatedly asked China, together with the international community, to speak out and demand that the Myanmar army stop.” [and] stop the killing of unarmed civilians, release all detainees – political prisoners – and respect the voice of the Burmese people, “she told RFA.
“That is more likely to avert action than what China is doing right now,” she added.
Earlier this week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged Southeast Asian nations to be wary of outside forces interfering in Myanmar’s internal affairs and said that efforts should be made to stop the escalation of tensions. straight.
At a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that China had called for efforts to avoid bloodshed, conflict and civilian casualties in Myanmar, and halt the situation worsened.
Recalling Wang Yi’s earlier comments, he said that “improper interference” by the United Nations Security Council should be avoided in order not to undermine Myanmar’s sovereignty and make the situation worse. .
The spokesperson also said that it was necessary to avoid moves by “some outside forces pouring fuel into the fire and causing trouble for Myanmar in the pursuit of selfish interests”, referring to countries such as the United States that have imposed sanctions on Myanmar military officials and entities. .
On April 2, senior UN officials condemned the ongoing violence of Myanmar’s security forces against civilians, including children, as members of the Security Council. An alarmed at the rapidly deteriorating situation in the country.
Southeast Asian leaders announced on Monday that they would meet in Jakarta, Indonesia, to discuss the worsening situation in Myanmar, but did not set a date.
Christine Schraner Burgener, the UN special envoy to Myanmar, warned on March 31 during the UN Security Council emergency meeting of the situation in Myanmar that the illegal shooting of protesters by security forces could lead to civil war and “bloodbath”.
She also called for collective action in crisis resolution “to avert a multidimensional disaster in central Asia.”
Reporby RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translation by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.