At least 10 policemen were killed by an alliance of ethnic armies
Reports emerged yesterday of more than 80 killed in the latest bloodletting by Myanmar's military, as the country's own ambassador to the United Nations called for “strong action” against the junta.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in February, with protesters refusing to submit to the junta and demanding a return to democracy.
After over two months of military rule, efforts to verify deaths and confirm news of crackdowns have been greatly curtailed by the junta's throttling of mobile data within the country - shunting most of the population into an information blackout.
Details of a brutal crackdown in the city of Bago, 65 kilometres northeast of Yangon took a full day to emerge, as residents told AFP of continued violence from the junta which pushed them to flee to nearby villages.
By yesterday evening, the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners - a local monitoring group tracking deaths - confirmed “over 80 anti-coup protesters were killed by security forces in Bago on Friday.”
AFP-verified footage shot on Friday showed protesters hiding behind sandbag barricades wielding homemade rifles, as explosions could be heard in the background.
Authorities had refused to let rescue workers near the bodies, said a resident.
“They piled up all the dead bodies, loaded them into their army truck and drove it away,” he told AFP.
State-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper yesterday blamed the crackdown on “rioters,” and reported only one dead.
The violence in Bago will add to AAPP's current death toll of 618 civilians killed since the coup.
The junta has a far lower number - 248, according to a spokesman on Friday - and has branded the victims as “violent terrorist people.”
Policemen killed by ethnic armies
An alliance of ethnic armies in Myanmar that has opposed the junta's crackdown on anti-coup protests attacked a police station in the east yesterday and at least 10 policemen were killed, local media said.
The police station at Naungmon in Shan state was attacked early in the morning by fighters from an alliance that includes the Arakan Army, the Ta'ang National Liberation Army and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, media reported.
Shan News said at least 10 policemen were killed, while the Shwe Phee Myay news outlet put the death toll at 14.
19 sentenced to death
Nineteen people have been sentenced to death in Myanmar for killing an associate of an army captain, the military owned Myawaddy TV station said on Friday, the first such sentences announced in public since the coup and crackdown on protesters.
The report said the killing took place on March 27 in the North Okkalapa district of Yangon, Myanmar's biggest city. Martial law has been declared in the district, allowing courts martial to pronounce sentences.
Junta spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun told a news conference in the capital, Naypyitaw, that the country was returning to normal and government ministries and banks would resume full operations soon.
"The reason of reducing protests is due to cooperation of people who want peace, which we value," Zaw Min Tun said. "We request people to cooperate with security forces and help them."