Anti-coup rebels withdraw from Myanmar city after junta launched deadly attack

At least five opposition rebels have been killed after days of clashes in Myanmar, an anti-junt family said on Sunday, as Britain and the United States condemned the military’s violence against civilians.

The country has been in turmoil since military civilian leader Aung San Suu ousted Kyi in a Feb. 1 coup, sparking a massive uprising that authorities tried to quell with deadly force.

Some in the anti-junta movement have set up local militias armed with homemade weapons to protect their cities from security forces – which, according to a local control group, have killed at least 790 civilians.

In the western state of Chin, the city of Mindat has become a hot spot for unrest, where some residents have formed the Chinland Defense Force (CDF).

“We killed at least five members and injured more than 10 this week,” said a CDF spokesman, adding that five residents of Mindat have also been arrested by the military.

With cellular data blocked nationwide, details of the fighting are slow to come out and on-the-spot verification becomes more difficult as locals fear retaliation.

The spokesman, who declined to be named, told AFP that CDF fighters set fire to several army trucks, destroyed them and ambushed reinforcement troops, while the army attacked the city with artillery.

On Sunday, the CDF had retreated to the jungle, he said.

“We won’t stay in town anymore … but we’ll be back to attack soon,” he said. ‘We only have homemade weapons. This was not enough. ‘

He added that residents left in Mindat – which has been under martial law since Thursday – were afraid to leave their homes for fear of the military’s target.

The US and British embassies in Myanmar on Saturday raised the alarm about the unrest in Mindat and called on the security forces to end the violence.

“The military’s use of weapons of war against civilians, also this week in Mindat, is another demonstration of the depths to which the regime will sink to retain power,” the US embassy said in a tweet on Saturday.

The military’s use of weapons of war against civilians, also this week in Mindat, is a further demonstration of the depths to which the regime will sink to remain in power. We call on the military to end violence against civilians.

– US Embassy Burma (@USEmbassyBurma) May 15, 2021

The British Embassy said the violence in Mindat “cannot be justified”.

“Evidence of atrocities should be sent to the (United Nations Independent Investigation Mechanism for Myanmar) so that the perpetrators can be held accountable,” the embassy tweeted, referring to a commission collecting evidence of international crimes.

The state newspaper New Light of Myanmar reported on Sunday that a military tribunal would be convened to try “perpetrators of terrorist attacks” in Mindat.

Anti-coup protesters continue to march for democracy across the country – with protesters in northern Hpakhant holding signs saying “Stay strong, Mindat”.


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