Bangkok, Sep 11 (EFE).- At least 20 Myanmar soldiers have died in attacks by the armed wing of the self-denominated National Unity Government (NUG), in favor of democracy and opposed to the current military regime, which declared this week a “defensive war,” local media reported Saturday.
The attacks on the army were perpetrated between Thursday and Friday by the People’s Defence Force (PDF) militia, created in May by the NUG, mainly in Yangon and central Magway, according to the The Irrawaddy newspaper.
On Tuesday, the NUG – made up of politicians and activists that rejected the military coup on Feb.1 – declared a more belligerent stage in its opposition strategy, warning of attacks against the military, calling for support from armed ethnic groups and urging a people’s rebellion.
Myanmar has been going through a period of political and social turmoil since the army coup ended a decade of democracy in the country and imprisoned important civilian leaders, including the ousted State Councilor, Aung San Suu Kyi.
Since then, hundreds of clashes have occurred between the military and different rebel groups, mostly in the interior provinces or border regions.
However, skirmishes have gradually increased in Yangon, the country’s former capital and its most populous city.
The highest death toll was recorded in Magway, where at least 15 soldiers were killed in clashes with the PDF, according to the Myanmar Now news portal.
Local media said that following the attack, the army launched a “punishment” operation in the region on Friday, burning villages and where the military allegedly killed more than 20 civilians.
Two other soldiers died on Thursday and several were injured as rebels threw explosive devices inside a military truck in a central neighborhood in the former Burmese capital, the Mizzima news portal reported Saturday.
The attack was followed by a brief shooting before the militia members fled with the arrival of military reinforcements.
At least 1,058 people have lost their lives as a result of the violent repression from authorities, who have shot to kill those attending peaceful demonstrations, while more than 6,000 opponents are being detained, according to the Association for Assistance of Political Prisoners.
The Myanmar Army justifies the coup on alleged electoral fraud in November’s elections, in which Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide victory, as it did in 2015, and which were considered free and fair by international observers. EFE