Six opposition rebels have been killed by the military after days of clashes in Myanmar, a civilian defense force said on Sunday as the United Kingdom and the United States condemned military violence against civilians. .
Since the military took power in a February 1 coup, they have arrested and deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a national uprising he has refused to leave behind his demands for a return to democracy.
Bombings have been reported daily and local militias have been formed to clash with the army, while anti-military protests have been held across the Southeast Asian country and strikes by opponents of the coup have paralyzed the economy.
To the east of Chin, to the west, the city of Mindat has become a hot spot for unrest, where some residents have formed the Chinland Defense Force (CDF).
“Six members of our CDF who tried to protect the safety of the people of Mindat attacked [the military] and they sacrificed their lives for the national revolution, “a CDF statement said Sunday.
A spokesman also told the AFP news agency that more than ten members had been injured this week, while five residents of Mindat were arrested by the military.
With mobile data blocked across the country, details of the fighting have been slow to come to light and field verification is becoming more difficult as locals are afraid of retaliation.
The spokesman, who refused to be named, said CDF fighters set fire to several army trucks, destroying them and ambushing reinforcement troops, while the military attacked the city with artillery.
On Sunday, the CDF had retreated to the jungle, he said.
“We won’t stay in the city anymore … but we’ll attack again soon,” he said. “We only have homemade weapons. That was not enough. “
He added that residents staying in Mindat (which has been under martial law since Thursday) were afraid to leave their homes for fear of being targeted by the military.
Violence “cannot be justified”
U.S. and UK embassies in Myanmar sounded the alarm on Saturday over the riots in Mindat, which called for security forces to cease violence.
“The army’s use of weapons of war against civilians, including this week in Mindat, is one more demonstration of the depths with which the regime will collapse to maintain power,” the US embassy said. american in a tweet Saturday.
“Attacks on civilians are illegal and cannot be justified,” the British embassy said, referring to Mindat’s reports of violence.
“Evidence of atrocities should be sent to [United Nations Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar] so the perpetrators can be held accountable, ”he tweeted from the embassy in reference to a committee that collects evidence of international crimes.
‘Keep the faith’
At least 796 people have been killed by security forces since the February 1 coup, according to a local surveillance group, while about 4,000 people are behind bars.
Despite the threat of violence and detention, Myanmar protesters continue to take to the streets on a daily basis in favor of democracy, and some also applaud Mindat’s defense force for its resistance.
Local media showed images of downtown Monywa residents holding a night strike on Saturday, writing the words “Hang there, Mindat” with candles.
On Sunday, protesters in northern Hpakant marched through the jade-producing district with placards saying, “Stay strong, Mindat! We, Hpakant, are always behind you! ”
Pope Francis held a special service for Myanmar on Sunday inside St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, in which he called for an end to the bloodshed and called on the faithful not to lose hope.
“These days, when your beloved country of Myanmar is experiencing violence, conflict and repression, let us ask ourselves: what does it call us to maintain? First, keep the faith, ”the 84-year-old pontiff said.
Francis has spoken about the Myanmar crisis several times since the coup, urging the military government to respect “democratic coexistence” with the people while calling for the release of political leaders.