“Unprecedented” civilian death toll since coup in Myanmar’s history

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More than 5,600 civilians have been killed in Myanmar since the military seized power last year, according to a new estimate by an independent research institute, which called the death toll “unprecedented” in the country’s history.

The Institute for Strategy and Policy (ISP Myanmar) said in a report last week that it had documented at least 5,646 civilian deaths between Feb. 1, 2021, coup and May 10, including people killed by security forces during anti-junta protests, in clashes between the military and pro-democracy paramilitaries or ethnic armies, while held in detention, and in revenge attacks, including against informers for the regime.

At least 1,831 civilians were killed in shooting deaths, the largest number of which occurred in the war-torn Sagaing region, where junta troops have faced some of the toughest resistance to military rule in clashes with People’s Defense Force (PDF) paramilitaries that have displaced tens of thousands of residents since the coup.

On May 10 alone, junta troops slaughtered 29 civilians in Mon Taing Pin village, in Sagaing region’s Ye Oo township, sources recently said, saying the victims appeared to have been “killed and burned intentionally” by soldiers targeting residents in retaliation for alleged ties to the PDF.

ISP Myanmar said at least 3,107 civilians were killed after being named “Dalans,” or military informants, based on statements issued by the junta on Jan. 14 and by the chairman of the military proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party, Than Htay.

A member of the PDF in Sagaing region said on condition of anonymity that those who report paramilitary movements to the military have been targeted because the armed opposition is “handicapped in manpower and weapons.”

A similar form of revenge killing is on the rise with the emergence of the pro-junta Thway Thauk, or Blood Comrades, militia, whose members have killed at least 18 people — mostly members of the deposed National League for Democracy party and their relatives — in Mandalay region.

 

 

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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