- Security forces in Myanmar killed at least twenty people on Saturday in violent clashes with villagers.
- The Myanmar military has faced heavy resistance since it overthrew elected leader Aug San Suu Kyi in February.
- The civilian death toll in Myanmar since the coup of February 1 has now risen to 865.
YANGON, Myanmar – Security forces in Myanmar killed at least twenty people on Saturday in violent clashes with villagers at Hlayswe village in Kyonpyaw township in the Ayeyarwady river delta region.
The villagers, according to Reuters news agency, were armed with catapults and crossbows.
The civilian death toll in Myanmar since the coup of February 1 has now risen to 865.
The Reuters report said efforts to contact a military junta spokesman, or independently confirm the reports, had not been successful.
The Myanmar military has faced heavy resistance since it overthrew elected leader Aug San Suu Kyi in February.
‘Clashes broke out before dawn on Saturday at Hlayswe, about 150 km northwest of the main city of Yangon, when soldiers said they had come to search for weapons, at least four local media outlets and a resident confirmed to Reuters.
“The people in the village only have crossbows and there are a lot of casualties on the people’s side,” said the resident, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution.
‘It was some of the worst violence since the coup in the Ayeyarwady region, an important rice growing area that has large populations of both the Bamar majority ethnic group, from which much of the army is drawn, and the Karen minority,’ the Reuters report said.
‘Saturday’s civilian death toll appeared to be the highest since more than 80 people were reported killed in the town of Bago in early April.’
‘Since the coup, conflicts have flared in the borderlands where some two dozen ethnic armies have been waging insurgencies for decades. The junta has also been faced by daily protests and paralyzing strikes,’ said Reuters.
‘The anti-junta Shwegu People’s Defence Force said it had attacked a police station in northern Shwegu late on Friday together with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).’
Reuters said it was unable to reach the KIA for comment.
(File photo: Reuters).