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Myanmar rebels say six dead in clashes

In unison: People rallying in support of the Chinland Defence Force, which has clashed with the junta, in Hpakant.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Six opposition rebels have been killed after days of clashes in Myanmar, an anti-junta defence force made up of civilians said on Sunday, as Britain and the United States condemned the military’s violence against civilians.

The country has been in uproar since the military ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a February 1 coup, triggering a massive uprising which authorities have sought to quell with lethal force.

Some in the anti-junta movement have set up local militias armed with home-made weapons to protect their towns from security forces — which have killed at least 790 civilians according to a local monitoring group.

In the western state of Chin, the town of Mindat has emerged as a hotspot for unrest, where some residents have formed the Chinland Defence Force (CDF).

“Six members of our CDF who tried to protect the security of the people in Mindat attacked (junta forces) and sacrificed their lives for the national revolution,” said a CDF statement on Sunday.

A spokesman also told AFP that over 10 have been wounded this week, while five Mindat residents were arrested by the military.

With mobile data blocked across the country, details about the fighting have been slow to come out, and on-the-ground verification is made harder as locals are fearful of retaliation.

The spokesman, who declined to be named, said CDF fighters set fire to several army trucks, destroying them, and ambushed reinforcement troops, while the military has attacked the town with artillery.

By Sunday, the CDF had retreated into the jungle, he said. “We will not stay any more in the town... but we will come back to attack soon,” he said. “We only have home-made guns. This was not enough.”

He added that residents remaining in Mindat — which has been under martial law since Thursday — were afraid to leave their homes for fear of being targeted by the military.

The United States and U.K. embassies in Myanmar sounded the alarm on Saturday on Mindat’s unrest, calling for security forces to cease violence.


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Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 3:45:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/myanmar-rebels-say-six-dead-in-clashes/article34574169.ece

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