Bangkok, Jun 22 (EFE).- The Myanmar military and the recently formed civilian militia have been engaging in clashes since Tuesday morning in several parts of Mandalay, the second most populated city in the country. No casualties had been reported as of press time.
Videos and photographs posted on social networks show a large deployment of security forces with armored cars throughout the city, where there is strong opposition to the coup that was staged by the military on Feb. 1.
The clashes began when the military raided one of the bases of the People’s Defense Force militia, formed in May by the opposition National Unity Government, local news outlet Myanmar Now reported.
“We retaliated as one of our guerrilla base camps was invaded,” the group said on Facebook.
The fighting was ongoing at the time of reporting, the media added.
Until now, clashes between the militia and the military had only occurred in rural areas near the border, although attacks with explosives carried out by unknown persons against the military have increased in the big cities.
More than four-and-a-half months after the coup that ended Myanmar’s incipient transition to democracy, the military has still not managed to take control of the entire country despite brutal repression of the opposition.
At least 873 people have been killed as a result of a brutal crackdown by security forces, according to figures from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners monitoring group.
Tired of the little progress made by the peaceful demonstrations, some protesters have formed militias or joined armed ethnic groups in the country to put up armed resistance to the military while clashes between the armed forces and ethnic guerrillas – who demand greater autonomy for their regions – have intensified in several areas across Myanmar since the coup.
The military, headed by General Min Aung Hlaing, has justified the coup alleging fraud in elections held in November, in which ousted leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi’s party repeated its resounding victory of 2015, with international observers giving a clean chit to the polls. EFE