Bangkok, Jun 6 (EFE).- At least 23 opponents of the Feb. 1 military coup and 20 soldiers died this weekend in different parts of the country, in the bloodiest day in almost two months, local media reported Sunday.
The highest civilian casualties Saturday were in Ayeryawady region, in the country’s west, where at least 20 residents died and several were injured after confronting the army with homemade slingshots and gas pistols, agencies Delta News and Khit Thit Media reported.
The clash occurred in the town of Kyonpyaw, 150 kilometers northwest of Yangon, when villagers clashed with soldiers who wanted to search the home of a neighbor accused of hiding weapons.
These victims are joined by the two civilians who died last night in Shwe Nyaung, in Shan state (to the east) after being shot by motorcycles, while three others were arrested, according to Khit Thit Media.
On the other hand, the Karen National Defense Force, the armed group that leads the clashes against the army in the eastern state of Kayah, announced in a statement that a member of this guerrilla group and 20 soldiers died after yesterday’s shocks.
Clashes that began in April and continue to this day between Armed Forces and rebels of the Karenni Army, together with groups of armed civilians, have forced about 46,000 people to take refuge in the jungle and camps for internally displaced persons.
On the other hand, in Magwe, in the der Yaw region, about 50,000 people have been displaced due to the takeover of the area by the army, according to the Myanmar Now portal yesterday.
The clashes, which accounted for the highest death toll in a day since the beginning of April, occurred despite the Myanmar Army extending the ceasefire with ethnic guerrillas Monday until the end of June.
The Tatmadaw, as the Myanmar Armed Forces are known, suspended “all military operations” until Jun. 30 with the exception of those occasions when security forces or the state administration were attacked.
In addition to these violent episodes, protests against the military junta continued Sunday countrywide, including Rangoon and Mandalay — the most populated cities — and Naypyitaw, more than four months after a coup that has not brought the stability the military expected.
At least 847 people have lost their lives after the coup as a result of the violent repression by security forces against peaceful demonstrations, according to figures from the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners.
The Army justifies the coup on alleged electoral fraud in November’s elections, in which the party of the deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi won a landslide victory, as it did in 2015, and were endorsed by international observers. EFE