Myanmar’s ruling army, facing national protests against the coup that overthrew the elected government three months ago, has said it would not accept a visit from a Southeast Asian envoy until it could establish stability, causing concern that it would carry out more deadly violence against protesters and ethnic minorities.
Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries had reached a five-point consensus at a summit on the Myanmar crisis last month, which was attended by the architect of the coup. of February 1, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
These include ending violence, dialogue between the military and its opponents, enabling humanitarian aid, and allowing the visit of an ASEAN special envoy.
“Right now, we are giving priority to the security and stability of the country,” military council spokesman Kaung Htet San, a military council spokesman, said on Friday.
“Only after we reach a certain level of security and stability will we cooperate in relation to this envoy.”
The military government would consider the suggestions made at the summit if they were useful for its visions for the country, he added.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the coup, which sparked anger among an audience that did not want to tolerate a return to military government after five decades of economic mismanagement and underdevelopment.
Protests and marches have taken place most days, the last major pro-democracy demonstration on Friday in the commercial capital Yangon and minor protests in at least ten other places in the country.
More unjustified arrest, arrests
At least 774 people have been killed and more than 3,700 detained in military crackdown on opponents, according to a defense group overseeing the crisis.
On Saturday, posts on social media said several people in Yangon were taken by security forces without orders.
The military said it was fighting “terrorists.” On Friday, spokesman Kaung Htet San said more arrests of instigators of the violence had been made than were publicly announced.
The April 24 ASEAN meeting in Jakarta was hailed as a success by attendees, but analysts and activists remain skeptical that Myanmar generals will implement the five-point plan, which had no deadline or mention. the release of political prisoners, including ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Kaung Htet San said ASEAN leaders had provided positive suggestions to Min Aung Hlaing, but whether or not they would be followed would depend on the situation in Myanmar and whether his ideas were “useful for our later views.” .
According to reports, 30 soldiers were killed on Friday in clashes with the Kachin insurgent ethnic independence army in the Kachin state of Myanmar. Sources told FRG that clashes have also escalated between the military and Karen’s national liberation army in Karen state.
– Radio Free Asia (@RadioFreeAsia) May 7, 2021
The prospects for stability soon in Myanmar seem bleak, with a resumption of conflict between ethnic minority and military groups in border areas and minor bombings and explosions now taking place in their main cities.
The military said it was fighting rogue elements of ethnic armies and that all parties remain committed to a nationwide ceasefire.
He has also attributed the attack on the urban bombings to supporters of the ousted government of Aung San Suu Kyi. At least four attacks were reported early Saturday.
A recent National Unity government, a coalition of anti-military groups, said the military orchestrated the bombings as a pretext to crush its opponents.
On Friday, two local media reported that Kachin Independence Army (KIA) fighters attacked and killed 30 Myanmar troops while trying to travel down a river, citing local people and a KIA source.
The KIA also accused the military of using restricted chemical bombs during the current airstrikes, according to reports from Kachin state.
Al Jazeera was unable to verify the information independently due to reporting restrictions.
Kaung Htet San said violence and armed conflict would be handled by the military “appropriately.”
The military has for months been restricting Internet access in an effort to disrupt the anti-coup movement and this week has banned satellite TV receivers from external broadcasts.
Kaung Htet San said the military respected the public’s right to access information, but overseas-based social media was being used to share material that was “very alarming to national security.”
He also said security would be stepped up to protect strategic pipelines, following an attack on security personnel at a site almost in Mandalay this week.
Myanmar has two gas and oil pipelines extending across the country to China, a country that many in Myanmar believe allowed generals to accumulate great personal wealth from natural resources, at a time of paralysis. sanctions and international isolation.
China has said it does not take sides in the conflict and wants a stable Myanmar.
Meanwhile, the Burma-based U.S. campaign in Burma, DC, continues to pressure the UN Security Council to help stop violence in Myanmar in support of a global arms embargo against the country’s military. instigate the coup.
“An arms embargo, while not a solution to all of Burma’s problems, will significantly increase the security of Burma’s population, including all ethnic and religious minorities,” the group said, referring to the country. by its old name.