To quell opposition resistance, Myanmar’s junta reportedly burned village after village. Photo/Illustration
Myanmar’s military has used violence and terror to stamp out dissent and silence opponents. According to local human rights groups about 1,500 people have been killed by the military and 11,800 arrested.
Even so, the opposition remains. In addition to peaceful protest movements, local civil defense forces have also sprung up, some of which are backed by well-established armed ethnic groups. In turn, the military launched artillery and air strikes.
In Chin state, where there is a strong resistance movement, as many as 80,000 people have been forced to flee their homes by fighting, according to the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO). According to the group nearly 900 people were arrested between February and December last year alone, while 182 people died in the same period. Some are thought to have been kidnapped and used as human shields.
“I have lived through previous military regimes and I read stories and reports from all over Chin state,” said veteran activist Salai Za Uk Ling of CHRO.
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“I have never seen this level of brutality in my life,” he added The Guardian, Sunday (30/1/2022).
In December, more than 30 people, including children, died in Kayah state on Christmas Eve. Their bodies were found burned beyond recognition. Earlier this month, the military arrested and killed 11 people in the Sagaing region in northwestern Myanmar. According to local media reports the group was shot and then set on fire.
In parallel with such massacres, the military is increasingly waging a scorched earth campaign as part of its intensifying terror campaign. Myanmar witnesses, who are gathering evidence of military abuses, have corroborated 57 incidents in which buildings in villages and other civilian areas were burned. Many are associated with the military. Severe damage has been recorded in Thantlang, in northwestern Chin state.