Conflicts & War

Myanmar military junta declares martial law over rebel stronghold

Bangkok, May 14 (EFE).- Myanmar’s military junta declared martial law in the city of Mindat, in Chin state, where the army has been met with strong armed resistance since the Feb. 1 coup.

State newspaper The Global New Light of Myanmar said Friday the measure was adopted Thursday after a series of attacks perpetrated by the newly formed Chin Defense Force group.

Under martial law, applied in at least six neighborhoods in Yangon since March, those arrested on charges such as treason, attacks with weapons or incitement to violence, among others, are tried in military courts, where sentences are more severe and includes capital punishment.

About 150 rebels, classified as “terrorists” by the military, attacked a police station and a branch of the bank owned by the military Wednesday in Mindat with weapons and homemade explosives. These incidents were repeated Thursday with no victims, the newspaper said.

This new group claims to have caused dozens of casualties among the military ranks during confrontations or attacks with guerrilla tactics.

The Chin Media World portal said an 18-year-old lost his life and four other people were injured Thursday during the military offensive, supported by artillery fire, against the population. Fighting continued Friday, according to the Khit Thit Media newsite.

At least 788 people have lost their lives since the uprising as a result of violent repression by the security forces on demonstrations, who reject the military government, according to the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners.

Demonstrations, mostly peaceful, continued Friday countrywide in cities such as Yangon or northern Myitkyina, despite the violent response and coercion by authorities, who have detained more than 5,000 people, according to the association, including ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Security forces have even detained foreign citizens. Independent Japanese reporter Yuki Kitazumi was arrested in April and accused of publishing false information and supporting the resistance movement against the coup.

He faced up to three years in prison before charges against him were dropped Friday, according to Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, who added that he will instead be deported.

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 were considered free and fair by international observers. EFE


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