• Wednesday, Jun 29, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

Myanmar violence escalates with rise of 'self-defence' groups

  • Published at 04:41 pm June 28th, 2021
Myanmar Anti-Coup Resistance
File Photo: An anti-coup activist aims a weapon while undergoing basic military training at a camp of the Karen National Union (KNU), an ethnic rebel group, in Karen state on May 2021 AFP

An estimated 230,000 people have already been displaced by fighting and insecurity so far

Violence in post-coup Myanmar has escalated as anti-junta "self-defence" forces step up to take on the military, a report said on Monday, warning of an "enormous" human cost if the regime uses its full power in subsequent crackdowns.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the February coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi's government, with more than 880 killed in a junta crackdown on dissent, according to a local monitoring group.

In some areas, locals -- often using hunting rifles or weapons manufactured at makeshift jungle factories -- have formed "defence forces" to fight back.

In response, the military has used helicopters and artillery, including against groups in north-western Chin state and along the eastern border with Thailand.

"Faced with armed insurrection, the Tatmadaw [the Myanmar military] can be expected to unleash its military might against civilians," the International Crisis Group said Monday. 

"The human cost will be enormous –- particularly for women, children and the elderly, who face the greatest hardships from violence and displacement."

Clashes have taken place in areas that have not seen conflict for decades, forcing humanitarian agencies into a race to set up new operations and supply lines, the ICG said.

An estimated 230,000 people have already been displaced by fighting and insecurity so far, the United Nations said last week. 

The self-defence groups add to the volatile mix in the poor Southeast Asian country, where more than 20 ethnic rebel groups were already in various stages of the conflict with the state before the coup.

As the economy collapses, the new militias may "seek sources of revenue beyond the ad hoc community donations that have so far sustained them," the ICG warned.

It is also unlikely that the shadow "National Unity Government" -- formed largely of lawmakers from Suu Kyi's ousted government --  will be able to bring them under its control, it added. 

Clashes involving civilian militias and the military have largely been restricted to rural areas.

But last week, at least six people died in a gun battle between security forces and a self-defence group in the country's second city of Mandalay.

50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail