From Myanmar Government of National Unity (NUG), created by opponents of the army government, said Wednesday it had formed a “popular defense force” to protect its supporters from military attacks and violence instigated by the military government.
Since the military took power and ousted an elected government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, Myanmar has seen daily protests and an increase in violence with security forces that killed hundreds of civilians. .
The NUG said the new force was a forerunner of a Federal Union army and had a responsibility to end decades of civil wars and deal with the military’s “military attacks and violence.” ‘State (SAC) against its people.
The union government, set up last month by a number of anti-junta groups, including ethnic minority militias, has pledged to end violence, restore democracy and build a “federal democratic union”.
Supporters of the NUG include the Karen National Union (KNU), the country’s oldest rebel force, whose 5th Brigade told the Karen Information Center media group on Wednesday that its fighters had killed 194 government soldiers since hostilities resumed in late March.
The National Unity Government announced on Wednesday that it had formed a People’s Defense Force as a first step towards establishing a federal army in response to attacks by the coup’s military across the country. No further details about the PDF have been published. pic.twitter.com/4mwan4tlXP
– Myanmar Now (@Myanmar_Now_Eng) May 5, 2021
A young activist in Mandalay told Reuters news agency on Wednesday that he planned to join the federal army to “help fight the Tatmadaw [military]”And that networks of activists had mobilized to train in the jungle.
A military government spokesman did not answer any calls for comment.
The military ruled Myanmar from 1962 to 2011, before initiating a temporary transition to democracy and radical economic reforms.
The coup halted this, infuriating many people who were unwilling to endure another phase of military rule.
Myanmar’s well-equipped army, known as the Tatmadaw, is one of the hardest-fought forces in the region’s battle.
Despite this, his opponents have used raw weapons in some places to fight troops, while others have sought training with ethnic armies that have fought the military since independence in 1948 from remote border areas.
The military said they had to seize power because their allegations of fraud in the November elections won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League of Democracy (NLD) party were not addressed by a commission. electoral that considered the vote fair.
Since then, there have been daily protests and an increase in violence since the coup with security forces that killed more than 760 civilians, according to a count by the aid association’s rights control group. for Political Prisoners (AAPP).
The military is vying for the AAPP figure and has banned the group.
He acknowledged 248 deaths in mid-April and further says 24 police and soldiers have died in the protests.
Independent media have been unable to verify the casualties due to sidewalks put up by military rulers.
Many of the journalists are also among the thousands of people detained.
Aside from daily crackdown on protesters, the Myanmar army has also launched strikes against ethnic groups in Karen and Kachin states, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes, some crossing the border into Thailand.
The latest development comes as thousands of people continue to defy violent repression by organizing protests across the country.
In Mandalay, hundreds of people rode their motorcycles and marched to denounce the military and demand that they hand over power to the civilian government.
Similar scenes were also reported in Monywa and Shewebo municipalities in the Sagaing region, as well as in Hpakant, Kachin state, according to various posts on social media.
A “guerrilla” -type protest was also held in Bahan district of Yangon, while students were posting pro-NUG posters at West Yangon University.
There have also been reports of intense clashes between the Northern Alliance group and government forces, which resulted in the displacement of hundreds of residents near the town of Kutkai in Shan state.
Al Jazeera, however, was unable to verify the reports independently due to restrictions.