Myanmar rebel groups back anti-coup protests, condemn junta crackdown – Times of India

YANGON: Ten of Myanmar‘s main rebel groups threw their assist behind the nation’s anti-coup motion Saturday, fanning fears {that a} broader battle may erupt in a rustic lengthy affected by preventing between the army and the ethnic armies.
Myanmar has been in turmoil for the reason that army ousted civilian chief Aung San Suu Kyi from energy on February 1, triggering an rebellion that the junta has sought to quell with lethal crackdowns.
According to an area monitoring group, greater than 550 folks have been killed within the anti-coup unrest, bloodshed that has angered some of Myanmar’s 20 or so ethnic groups and their militias, who management massive areas of territory largely in border areas.
On Saturday, 10 of these rebel groups met just about to debate the scenario, condemning the junta’s use of reside ammunition on protesters.
“The leaders of the military council must be held accountable,” mentioned General Yawd Serk, chief of rebel group the Restoration Council of Shan State.
Last week, the junta declared a month-lengthy ceasefire with ethnic armed groups, although exceptions is likely to be made if “security and administrative machinery of the government… are encroached on”.
The announcement didn’t embody stopping deadly power in opposition to anti-coup demonstrations.
But Yawd Serk mentioned the ceasefire required safety forces to halt “all violent actions”, together with in opposition to protesters.
The 10 rebel groups that met on-line are signatories to a nationwide ceasefire settlement that was brokered by Suu Kyi’s authorities, which tried to barter an finish to the ethnic militias’ a long time-lengthy armed battle for higher autonomy.
But mistrust runs deep for the ethnic minorities of Myanmar, and Yawd Serk mentioned the ten signatories to the nationwide ceasefire would “review” the deal throughout their assembly.
“I would like to state that the (10 groups) firmly stand with the people who are… demanding the end of dictatorship,” he mentioned.
Last week, a UN particular envoy on Myanmar warned the Security Council of the chance of civil warfare and an imminent “bloodbath”.
The rebel groups’ assembly comes per week after one of them, the Karen National Union (KNU), seized a army base in japanese Karen state, killing 10 military officers. The junta retaliated with air strikes.
The KNU has been a vocal opponent of the army junta and mentioned it’s sheltering a whole lot of anti-coup activists.
On Saturday, the group condemned the army’s use of “excessive force by engaging in non-stop bombing and air strikes” from March 27 to 30, which have “caused the deaths of many people including children”.
“The air strikes have also led to the further displacement of more than 12,000 people,” it mentioned.
Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun mentioned the army has solely been focusing on KNU’s fifth Brigade — which led to the seizure of the army base.
“We had an air strike on that day only,” he advised AFP.
“We have signed a nationwide ceasefire agreement… If they follow the NCA, there is no reason for conflict to happen.”
Ethnic Karen native media and rights groups have reported a number of bombings and air strikes throughout the state over latest days.
With the junta slicing wifi companies, cellular knowledge and imposing a nightly web blackout that has gone on for practically 50 days, info circulate within the nation has been successfully throttled.
Arrest warrants had been additionally issued for 20 common actors, fashions and social media influencers, most of whom are in hiding, accusing them of spreading info that might trigger mutiny within the armed forces.
Thousands throughout the nation continued to return out to protest — with at the least two cities seeing safety forces violently crack down earlier than midday.
In japanese Mon state, a person was shot within the abdomen and died on his solution to the hospital, whereas a rescue employee in central Monywa advised AFP “two were shot in the head” when going through off in opposition to authorities.
Footage of the crackdown in Monywa verified by AFP exhibits protesters struggling to hold a younger man bleeding from his head to security as gunfire rings out within the background.
CNN — which was granted entry by the junta — arrived this week with correspondent Clarissa Ward, who was ferried round Yangon in a army convoy.
On Friday, she spoke to 2 sisters — Shine Ya Da Na Pyo and Nay Zar Chi Shine — who had been later detained together with one other relative.
Local media reported they’d flashed a 3-finger salute — an emblem of opposition to the junta — whereas talking to Ward.
“We don’t know where they’ve been detained,” mentioned a relative of the sisters who didn’t need to be named.
“Our family is trying our best for their release.”
CNN didn’t reply to a request for touch upon the incident.

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