Six opposition rebels have been killed by the military after days of clashes in Myanmar, an anti-coup defence force made up of civilians said Sunday, as the United Kingdom and the United States condemned the military’s violence against civilians.
Since the military seized power in a February 1 coup, detaining and deposing civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a nationwide uprising has refused to back down on its demands for a return to democracy.
Bombings are reported daily and local militias have been formed to confront the army, while anti-military protests have been maintained across the Southeast Asian country and strikes by opponents of the coup have paralysed the economy.
In the western state of Chin, the town of Mindat has emerged as a hotspot for unrest, where some residents have formed the Chinland Defence Force (CDF).
“Six members of our CDF who tried to protect the security of the people in Mindat attacked [the military] and sacrificed their lives for the national revolution,” said a CDF statement on Sunday.
A spokesman also told the AFP news agency that more than 10 members have been wounded this week, while five Mindat residents were arrested by the military.
With mobile data blocked across the country, details about the fighting have been slow to come out, and on-the-ground verification is made harder as locals are fearful of retaliation.
The spokesman, who declined to be named, said CDF fighters set fire to several army trucks, destroying them, and ambushed reinforcement troops, while the military has attacked the town with artillery.
By Sunday, the CDF had retreated into the jungle, he said.
“We will not stay any more in the town … but we will come back to attack soon,” he said. “We only have homemade guns. This was not enough.”
He added that residents remaining in Mindat – which has been under martial law since Thursday – were afraid to leave their homes for fear of being targeted by the military.