Over 30 people killed in military raid in Myanmar

Among those killed were members of the Depayin People’s Defense Force. Such groups have emerged across Myanmar to resist the junta in the aftermath of February’s coup

July 06, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
A protest against the military junta in Myanmar. Photo: AFP

At least 31 people, including members of the local resistance group, People’s Defense Force (PDF), were killed in firing by the military in a village in the Depayin township in the Sagaing region of Myanmar on Friday, July 2.

A state-run media outlet claimed that the soldiers had been ambushed leading to them firing back. However, the Depayin People’s Defense Force, in a statement, said that a large number of soldiers had arrived in the village causing residents to flee in panic. Media reports said that amid this, a clash began between the soldiers and members of the PDF.

The local resistance group said that at least 18 of its members were killed. People’s Defense Forces have been formed in many parts of Myanmar with some of them allied to the National Unity Government comprising those opposed to the military junta which came to power following the coup on February 1.

Media reports quoted villagers as saying they heard the sound of artillery fire 26 times. Many of those killed reportedly had bullet marks on their heads.

“The troops captured those who had bullet wounds but were alive. Since they couldn’t run, the junta soldiers shot them all in the head at close range,” one local was quoted as saying by Myanmar Now. Since July 2, an estimated 10,000 residents of 11 villages in Depayin Township have fled the region.

Over 230,00 driven from their homes

In the aftermath of the coup in February, the military junta has unleashed a wave of repression against protesters. As many as 230,000 people have been driven out of their homes, according to the United Nations. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners claims that 892 people have been killed since the coup and 5,085 are in detention of whom 26 have been sentenced to death.

On March 23, seven-year-old Khin Myo Chit became the youngest known victim of the military crackdown. Her story made headlines after she was shot dead in her father’s lap as regime forces raided their house in Mandalay, the second largest city of Myanmar.

Since April, the junta’s troops have been deployed in villages in the Depayin, Yinmabin, Kani, Taze, Ayadaw and Mingin townships, which reportedly have emerged as centers of opposition to the coup in the country.