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Myanmar anti-junta militia vow to take on army in Mandalay

·3-min read
FILE - In this 23 May, 2021, file photo, military troops and police go on patrol at Kayah state, eastern Myanmar. A newly-formed militia-group has vowed to fight the military junta in the country (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
FILE - In this 23 May, 2021, file photo, military troops and police go on patrol at Kayah state, eastern Myanmar. A newly-formed militia-group has vowed to fight the military junta in the country (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Two rebels were killed in a clash between a newly-formed anti-junta militia group and security forces in Mandalay on Tuesday, local reports said.

Myanmar’s security forces clashed with Mandalay’s newly formed People’s Defence Force but the group claimed that it fought back after the military raided one of its bases, Myanmar Now reported.

Officials from the People’s Defence Force told local news that two of its members were killed and six arrested.

Reuters reported that fighting against the country’s military junta — that overthrew the democratically-elected government in a coup on 1 February this year — has involved lightly armed militias confined to small towns and rural areas so far.

Since Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested and several charges levelled against her lately, the country has seen numerous protests all across. Groups opposing the military rule have criticised the junta for using force to quell protests.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners activist group in Myanmar, security forces have killed at least 873 protesters since the coup and thousands have been displaced. The junta, however, refutes these claims.

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Meanwhile, a member of the militia identified as Captain Tun Tauk Naing told Reuters by telephone: “The fight has started. There will be more fights.”

Myanmar Now reported that gunfire could be heard in the neighbourhood. The video footage taken by a resident of the area shows repeated gunshots ringing in the area.

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About 20 soldiers carried out the raid on the group, sparking a gunfight with the military which deployed three armoured cars to the area, the local news said.

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In other parts of Myanmar, in earlier incidents, the army responded with artillery and airstrikes after militia groups launched attacks on soldiers, Reuters said, “with casualties on both sides and tens of thousands of people displaced from their homes.”

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The army-owned Myawaddy television reported that security forces raided a house and that “armed terrorists” had fought back with small weapons and bombs. It however mentioned that four people were killed and eight arrested while some security forces were “seriously hurt.”

On Friday, the United Nations General Assembly had called for a stop to the flow of arms to Myanmar and urged the military to respect the results of a November election and release political detainees, including Ms Suu Kyi.

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