Myanmar’s bloody crackdown against nationwide anti-rule shows no sign of easing on Sunday, with human rights groups reporting the nation’s death toll has surpassed 700.
Security forces killed 82 people in a single city on Friday, according to the political prison aid association, which has recorded bloodshed since the military’s Feb. 1 coup. Soldiers used machine guns and rocket bombs to attack established protesters who set up barricades to defend part of Bago.
The military appears to be targeting centers of resistance across the country, exerting overwhelming power against ill-armed and largely untrained protesters in Tamu, a town near the Indian border, members of a local defense group similar to A Bago group claimed to kill some members of the security force on Saturday after being attacked.
The attack by security forces in Bago, about 40 miles northeast of Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, is one of the worst. A famous source, Myanmar Now, said there were also 82 deaths in Bago.
On last Friday, General. The junta spokesman Seo Min Tun suggested the military has exercised restraint since the coup, telling reporters it could kill more people if needed.
“If we were to shoot protesters with automatic rifles, the 500 people you mentioned would have died within hours,” he said after being asked about the tolls across the country.
Khomyo Jow, the head of the Bago defense group, said the soldiers opened fire with heavy weapons before dawn to destroy the barricade set up by protesters and that shooting continued throughout the day. There are few defenders who can do it, he said.
“We don’t have any lethal weapons,” said Myo Jok, whose brother was among the dead. “We only have a slingshot and an air gun.”
The survivors of the attack have fled the city and are reuniting, Myoje said. “We will not give up,” he said. “They have to pay back what they have done to our city.”
The UN office in Myanmar said on Twitter that the violence in Bago “must stop immediately” and urged the military to release medical teams to heal the wounded.
A member of the local defense organization in Tamu, which calls itself the Tamu Security Group, said that, like in Bagokong, the security forces attacked its defenses on Saturday with powered machine guns and bombs. With rocket
Members of the security forces were killed in the ensuing clashes, according to two members of the defense.
Their claims cannot be independently verified. But the killing of several members of the security forces would be a major development of violence since the overwhelming unilateral coup.
A small little-known rebel group, called the Kuki National Army, is one of several ethnic militants who have fought the Myanmar Army for years in the conflict in the region, said to have helped protesters Tamu fight the ranks. The stability force on Saturday The involvement is not clear. Some of the leaders of the protest movement demanded that the rebel army join forces.
Over the weekend, rights groups accused the military of trying to intimidate protesters with a new tactic: the death sentence in military courts. On Friday, state television reported 23 people were found dead after a closed trial for killing soldiers on March 26 in Yangon.
The case has been handled by a military court as the alleged killings said to be related to robbery took place in a region in Yangon under martial law. State television reports said all but two of the defendants were hiding and tried not to attend.
It was not clear whether the defendants were protesters. But Phil Robertson, deputy director of human rights for Asia, called the ruling “another example of the military junta’s efforts to force people off the streets and crushing civil disobedience.”
Daw Aye Aye Thwin, who is 27-year-old Ko Bo Bo Thu, is one of two detained defendants, said he was at home at the time of the murder and had no connection whatsoever, she said she could not. He was seen since his arrest and was made aware of the sentence on Friday, the day after it was delivered.
“Right now I feel like my world is gone,” she said. “I just want to ask the authorities not to kill my son.”