Witnesses say more than 20 civilians have been killed in the past 20 days during a fierce crackdown in the Sagaing region in northwestern Myanmar, a focal point of anti-government protests since the military coup. early February overthrows the elected government.
Clashes between security forces and protesters have increased in the Sagaing towns Yinmabin and Kani, with residents using rifles and any other simple weapons since security forces. ninh tried to arrest a local Buddhist monk from April 2.
There have been at least six clashes in the weeks between April 2 and 23, indicating angry residents that the military used rocket launch grenades to quell the demonstrations.
“The people here have a belief that we must oppose the military dictatorship with whatever weapon is available,” said one resident of Kani who did not want to be identified. “We have to fight them in any way we can. We do not give in. We have an armed force of about 10,000 people. “
Villagers in the area near the Myanmar border with India, have used tumee rifles for mountain hunting for generations and have transformed simple guns that use gunpowder in the military.
Residents say hundreds of soldiers are currently in the area and trying to quell public resistance, with the crackdown growing since a local karaoke bar and restaurant. The property of an army major was recently set fire, and an unknown soldier was killed. people while taking water.
In response to stiff resistance, Burmese forces have been attacking their communities in recent weeks, leaving nearly 10,000 residents in 10 villages removed, residents said. Locals told RFA many people were left with livestock, rice and cash stolen by the soldiers.
“Initially we were in the village during the day to keep an eye on the house, but after that the soldiers arrived so many we dared not stay there,” said a woman from Win Gone Village, who did not name.
“All villagers had to leave their homes,” she said. “There are about 500 homes, and at least 10,000 people, young and old, are on the run.”
Soldiers plunder and extort money from villages where internet service is cut, and at the same time take food and beer bottles from restaurants, and bags of rice and pigs raised by locals, she said.
On Thursday, soldiers arrested about 45 villagers of Thabyay Aye, who recovered the bodies of those killed by security forces, residents said. They were all released on Friday after the settlement of the soldiers, a villager said.
‘We don’t trust them’
The army is now telling the villagers they will have peace if they let go of their weapons. They are asking for our weapons, said a local resident from the Kapai village of Yinmabin.
“But we don’t trust them at all,” he said. “We have seen them do whatever they want with the people of our village. It’s not easy for us now, people are dispersing and hiding here and here in small groups ”.
Aung May Yi, a former member of parliament in the Sagaing region, said the military was “bullying and persecuting people because they had weapons.”
“Although some people were killed, the people did not lose this resistance,” she said. “Everyone is united like never before. The people of our town who have joined the continuing civil disobedience movement, and them [the junta] are lost. “
In other parts of Myanmar, at least 15 people nationwide were arrested amid police and soldier crackdowns on Friday, witnesses said.
Sporadic demonstrations, dubbed “No Bloody Demonstrations” were held on the streets of downtown Yangon, while hundreds of young people marched in remote towns despite their defiance. Overcrowded presence of security forces.
Government employees are in hiding
In Mandalay, anti-government protesters continue to use guerrilla tactics despite government military suppression of pedestrians.
Government employees who have left their jobs and joined the civil disobedience (CDM) movement in Mandalay say they live in fear of being constantly hunted and arrested by crooks.
“Someone from the military moved to our government home after the coup, and we felt unsafe,” said a Mandalay Education Department employee. “Initially, the staff participating in CMD might be together, but after that we had to go home because we were worried about our safety.”
Others remain in hiding.
“Some educational staff from Yangon and Mandalay have moved around to hide their whereabouts since they gave their addresses to the authorities when they joined the service, a university professor participated. CDM said.
“At first they were in university buildings in the cities, but after the military occupied universities and schools, they dared not stay there,” he said. “They have to leave their homes and go hide.”
In Sagaing’s Kalay, hundreds of civilians fled their villages as clashes between the army and local protesters increased, residents said.
Anti-coup protesters have staged a march but have to abandon plans to hold a memorial service to protesters who have died in the past few weeks, a Kalay protest leader said, who did not have anonymity.
“We had to quickly disband when we recognized them [security forces] will block us from both ends of the road and trap us, ”he said. “Anyway, we made it. We held a protest rally, and no one was arrested. “
Villagers wondered about the fire
In Loikaw, capital of the state of Kayah, eastern Myanmar, a protester jumped into a nearby creek when police and soldiers stormed a Thursday morning rally, and he was still missing, people said. Security forces there arrested three women during a crackdown, they said.
In the town of Padaung, in the Bago region, about 10 villagers and a toddler from Taungpo Kwin village were arrested on Thursday for questioning about the fire that broke out the previous night at the local police station, according to a message RFA from a source close to family.
Soldiers allegedly tortured the boy, forcing his father and grandfather to “confess”, a person close to the boy’s father said.
A man with a broken leg on his escape and being treated at a hospital said security forces released the toddler, but other detainees are still being held for questioning.
According to the Association for Supporting Political Prisoners (AAPP), a Thailand-based advocacy group, 745 people have been killed by government troops since Feb. 1 and 3,371 others are in custody as of Friday. 1,118 others are generally facing charges and arrest warrant.
Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translation by Khin Maung Nyane and Kyaw Min Htun. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.