Myanmar Forces Clash With Villagers in Delta Region; Media Report 20 Dead

Myanmar’s security forces clashed Saturday with villagers armed with catapults and crossbows during a search for weapons in the Ayeyarwady River delta, and local media reported as many as 20 people had been killed.State television news said three “terrorists” had been killed and two arrested at the village of Hlayswe as security forces went to apprehend a man accused of plotting against the state.A junta spokesman did not answer calls from Reuters to request comment on the violence at the village in the Kyonpyaw township of Ayeyarwady Region. Reuters was unable to confirm the toll independently.The army has struggled to impose control since February 1 when it overthrew the elected leader, Aug San Suu Kyi, after a decade of democratic reforms had opened up the once isolated state.A meeting Friday between junta leader Min Aung Hlaing and envoys from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) drew anger in parts of Myanmar on Saturday.Clashes broke out before dawn Saturday at Hlayswe, about 150 kilometers (100 miles) northwest of the main city of Yangon, when soldiers said they had come to search for weapons, at least four local media outlets and a resident said.’A lot of casualties'”The people in the village only have crossbows and there are a lot of casualties on the people’s side,” said the resident, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution.Khit Thit Media and the Delta News Agency said 20 civilians had been killed and more wounded. They said villagers had tried to fight back with catapults after soldiers assaulted residents.MRTV state television said security forces had come under attack with compressed air guns and darts. After the shootout, the bodies of three attackers had been found, it said.If confirmed, the toll given by the local media would be the highest in one day in nearly two months. An activist group, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, reports that about 845 people have been killed by the army and police since the February 1 coup. The junta disputes that figure.The Ayeyarwady region is an important rice-growing area that has large populations of both the Bamar majority ethnic group, from which much of the army is drawn, and the Karen minority.Since the coup, conflicts have flared in the borderlands where about two dozen ethnic armies have been waging insurgencies for decades. The junta has also faced daily protests and paralyzing strikes.The anti-junta Shwegu People’s Defense Force said it had attacked a police station in northern Shwegu late Friday together with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).Reuters was unable to reach the KIA for comment.In eastern Myanmar, the MBPDF (Mobye People’s Defense Force) said it had clashed with the army on Friday and four “terrorist soldiers” had been killed.Protesters against Myanmar’s junta burn the flag of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, in Mandalay, Myanmar, June 5, 2021.Army stands firmDespite the turmoil, Myanmar’s army has shown little sign of heeding calls from its opponents to relinquish its hold.This week, the junta received its first high-profile foreign visitors, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the two ASEAN envoys.An underground opposition government set up by opponents of the junta said after the envoys’ visit Friday that it had lost faith in ASEAN’s attempts to end the crisis, the main international effort to resolve it.Protesters in Myanmar’s second city of Mandalay burned an ASEAN flag on Saturday and accused the group of giving legitimacy to the junta. One placard said, “ASEAN way just means standing by uselessly.”

your ad here

leave a reply