Conflicts & War

Some 1,500 soldiers have deserted Myanmar army since coup: media

Bangkok, Aug 18 (EFE).- Around 1,500 soldiers have defected from Myanmar’s military since the Feb. 1 coup and have joined the troops created by the political opposition to fight the military junta, according to a captain who defected.

Lin Htet Aung, who left the military ranks in April, told Myanmar Now that soldiers are now defecting faster and in greater numbers.

Since June, the number of desertions from the Tatmadaw (armed forces) has doubled, Myanmar Now reported on Tuesday.

Lin Htet Aung said he has been putting defectors in contact with the shadow National Unity Government (NUG), made up of elected politicians and activists close to deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi, while encouraging more from the army.

In mid-April, the self-proclaimed NUG announced the creation of its armed wing under the name People’s Defense Force and with the aim of standing up to the military junta.

Since then, there have been dozens of clashes between the Tatmadaw and the rebels, mostly in border areas or small towns, although attacks by dissidents are increasing in Yangon and Mandalay, the most populated cities.

The Tatmadaw, which is estimated to number more than 400,000 and is one of the largest armies in the world, has violently repressed dissent.

Almost 1,000 people have lost their lives since the coup as a result of the crackdown launched by security forces, according to the latest figures from the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners.

More than six months since the coup, the regime has not managed to gain the support of the population and protests and indefinite strikes against the military command continue, although many protesters have chosen to take up arms due to the limited progress of the peaceful opposition.

Various ethnic guerrillas, which have been fighting the army for decades, have opened combat fronts throughout the country.

In addition to the deep political and social crises in which Myanmar is immersed, is the uncontrolled wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and complaints that the military regime uses the health crisis as a weapon against dissidents. EFE


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