Asia - Pacific

At least 780 killed since Myanmar coup: Rights group

Defected high-ranking soldier begins training new recruits to fight coup regime, says local report

Devina Halim   | 10.05.2021
At least 780 killed since Myanmar coup: Rights group

JAKARTA, Indonesia

Myanmar military forces have killed four more people, taking the death toll from the protests against the Feb. 1 military coup to 780, according to a local monitoring group.

The military detained 3,826 people, with 84 of them being convicted, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said in its latest report released late Sunday.

“Since the coup, there has been no rule of law, there is a state of panic because civilians’ lives and private property can be destroyed and looted at any time by armed thugs,” the group said.

It said, “the peace process has been wrecked by the tyrannical junta, ethnic people once again feeling the brunt of the civil war.“

“Although arbitrary shootings continue on a daily basis, the international community has not taken effective action – so the junta lawlessness is getting worse,” the group stressed.

Defected military major begins training recruits

A high-ranking soldier who defected from the Myanmar military after it seized power began training new recruits to fight the coup regime on Saturday in the territory controlled by an armed insurgent group, local media reported.

Major Hein Thaw Oo defected from Light Infantry Division 99 in the central town of Meiktila in late March after serving the military for 20 years, according to Myanmar Now.

The trainees were between the ages of 20 and 35, and recently fled towns and cities across the country amid a military campaign of mass murder and terror designed to crush resistance to its rule, the report said.

Besides teaching the recruits to fight, the basic training covered battlefield first-aid, English language lessons, and computer and vocational courses, it said.

“We will not accept these blatant and unnecessary killings of innocent civilians,” Myanmar Now quoted the major as he told the recruits in the beginning of training.

“The people will not accept it either. Those in this evil army will die when it’s their time,” he added.

Thaw Oo said he was willing to join forces with any group that will work towards a country without dictatorship, adding that alliances with some organizations have already been established.

The National Unity Government (NUG), formed by opponents of Myanmar's junta, has been negotiating with armed ethnic groups with the aim of forming a federal army to fight the coup regime, the report said.

On May 5, it announced the formation of a People’s Defense Force, it added.

*Writing by Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo with Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian language services in Jakarta

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