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Over 80 killed by military in central Myanmar: reports

Over 80 killed by military in central Myanmar: reports Protesters carry a wounded man shot with live rounds by security forces during a crackdown on demonstrations against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on March 17, 2021. (AFP/Stringer)
News Desk
Yangon, Myanmar   ●   Sun, April 11, 2021 2021-04-11 15:05 28 99d7d57c053835b58634634621cc3d11 2 SE Asia Myanmar,Coup,democracy,crackdown,ASEAN Free

Over 80 people were killed in Bago in central Myanmar from Thursday night to Friday as the military opened fire on anti-coup protesters and others, local media and Reuters reported, likely making it the deadliest day a single area has seen in the country since a February coup.

Also, Friday, Myanmar's military-affiliated TV channel reported that 19 people were sentenced to death by court-martial the previous day over the death of an army officer's associate.

Both developments are almost certain to draw further international condemnation over the military's bloody crackdowns on protesters.

While the precise number of deaths remains unclear, the Irrawaddy news website on Saturday put the death toll in Bago at over 70, while local media outlet Myanmar Now reported that 82 people were killed.

Reuters cited the Myanmar Now report and a tally by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a Thai-based rights group monitoring the situation in Myanmar.

Soldiers reportedly surrounded residents from early morning, using heavy weaponry. They brought the dead into a pagoda, where over 50 bodies might be, Myanmar Now reported, citing a protest group leader who spoke with eyewitnesses.

Troops arrived in a residential area in 10 trucks in the late afternoon and shot people, the report said.

Before the reports of the mass killings in Bago, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners had put the death toll from the military's violence against protesters since the coup at 618 as of Friday.

Thursday's death penalty against 19 people by court-martial likely marked the first such sentences imposed by the junta following the coup.

On March 27, the 19 robbed and tortured an army officer and his associate after stopping their motorbike in the township of North Okkalapa in the country's largest city Yangon, killing the latter, according to MRTV. The township is one of several in Yangon where the junta declared martial law in March.

Out of the 19, only two are in custody, and the rest remain at large, the report said.

On the country's Armed Forces Day on March 27, more than 100 people were killed by security forces across Myanmar, the deadliest day of protests since the Feb. 1 coup.

According to local media, at least 14 police officers were killed and several other people wounded in Shan State in the country's northeast on Saturday morning as armed ethnic minority groups attacked a police outpost there.

Some of the country's armed ethnic minority groups that had fought against the military have come out to support anti-coup protesters, fueling concerns that the chaos unleashed by the coup could intensify.

In an earlier development, the junta's top decision-making body, the State Administration Council, indicated at a news conference on Friday that the one-year state of emergency issued following the coup could be extended.

The country's Constitution stipulates that a one-year state of emergency can be extended for another year, with a general election to be held within six months after the state of emergency ends.

Spokesman Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun said the council will abide by regulations, stressing that it has promised the world an election would be held. He also defended the military as a protector of democracy.

Read also: Myanmar sentences 19 to death for killing army officer's associate