Myanmar rebels claim police killings as Aung San Suu Kyi appears in court

Myanmar rebels claim police killings as Aung San Suu Kyi appears in court

Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, Moebyel ,Shan state, Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyer, Thae Maung Maung, military chief Min Aun Hlaing,harbouchanews

Dozens of Myanmar security force members have been killed in fighting, rebel fighters have claimed, as Aung San Suu Kyi appeared in person at a court hearing for the first time since her government was overthrown by the military in February’s coup.

In one battle on Sunday, the People’s Defence Force (PDF) – a civilian anti-junta movement that fights back against security forces with homemade weapons – said at least 20 police died and a police station was seized in the town of Moebyel in Shan state in the country’s eastern fringe.

The police station was burned down and rebel fighters took four security force members into custody, local media reported. Videos shared on social media showed what appeared to be the uniformed bodies of security forces and smoke pouring from the destroyed police post and a police vehicle.

Other pictures showed four men who were said to be police officers with their hands behind their backs, blindfolded with surgical masks.

The town is about 100km (60 miles) east of the capital, Naypyidaw, and lies near territory held by some of the ethnic armed groups that have fought for greater autonomy for decades.

Thet Wai, a PDF member, told Agence France-Presse: “I thought today is a day of conquest. But I am also worried because we have seen airstrikes and tanks today. They have much better weapons than us.”

State television made no mention of the clash, and Reuters was unable to reach a junta spokesman for comment on the fighting.

Myanmar has been in chaos since the February putsch that deposed Aung San Suu Kyi, with the military using lethal force to crack down on dissent. The civilian death toll has climbed to at least 815 people, according to a local monitoring group, spurring some to form groups that fight back.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyer, Thae Maung Maung, said she looked in good health and held a face-to-face meeting with her legal team for about 30 minutes before Monday’s hearing.

The 75-year-old Nobel peace prize laureate is among more than 4,000 people detained since the coup. She faces charges that range from illegally possessing walkie-talkie radios to violating a state secrets law.

Another civilian fighter said at least 13 soldiers had been killed on Sunday at Demoso, in Kayah state, and that four of his men had been wounded.

“We intended to seize their police station, but they used airstrikes and we could not stop their reinforcement trucks getting into the town,” he said. “We had to withdraw our troops from fighting.”

The Mizzima news service said thousands of people had fled after dozens of artillery rounds landed in their neighbourhood.

The fighting continued through Sunday night, according to a senior leader of the Karenni National Progressive party – an ethnic armed group with a stronghold in Kayah state.

He confirmed that the military was using tanks, helicopters and mortar attacks in Demoso and Loikaw, the capital of Kayah state.

An alliance of four ethnic armed groups which are also against the coup battled early on Sunday with security forces in Muse, one of the main crossings to China, Myanmar media reported.

A national unity government set up underground by opponents of the coup announced a new flag and command structure for the PDF, being set up to oppose the army.

Meanwhile, the military chief Min Aun Hlaing, who removed Aung San Suu Kyi from power in the coup, gave a two-hour interview to Hong Kong’s Phoenix Television.

The full programme is yet to air but in a snippet released on Sunday he offered reassurances to Chinese investors after a spate of arson attacks at factories in the commercial capital, Yangon. “Our citizens don’t hate China,” he said. “It happened for political reasons.”

Aung San Suu Kyi has not been seen in public since she was placed under house arrest. She has been hit with a string of criminal charges including flouting coronavirus restrictions during last year’s election campaign and possessing unlicensed walkie-talkies.

The European Union on Sunday denounced a proposal by the election commission appointed by the junta to dissolve Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy.

the guardian

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