fighting between army and rebel groups intensifies in Kayah State

fighting between army and rebel groups intensifies in Kayah State

Almost a year from the military coup in Burma, fighting between the army and anti-junta rebel groups has been intensifying for ten days in the east of the country. According to the UN, the situation is worrying for civilians in Kayah State.

It is more particularly in the towns of Loikaw and Demoso, located 200 km east of the capital, in the state of Kayah, that the situation is said to be very tense. The army reportedly launched air strikes and fired artillery there.

According to witnesses met by AFP, hundreds of monks have abandoned their monasteries, leaving the city aboard dozens of trucks. But that’s not all. The UN says nearly 90,000 people have fled Kayah state. They would be almost double according to local media.

The “deserted” city

In Loikaw, rebel fighters have taken over churches and abandoned houses. They also forced open the doors of a prison in an attempt to induce the detainees to join them, said a local policeman. In this state, 35 people had been killed on Christmas Eve and their bodies burned. A massacre attributed to the military. Fifteen priests also fled.

Burma has descended into chaos since the February 1, 2021 military coup that overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi and ended a decade of democratic transition. In Kayah State, as elsewhere in the country, ethnic rebel groups, aided by citizen militias, have took up arms against the junta since the onset of the dry season in November.

UN calls on army to end attacks

The junta remains silent in the face of calls for dialogue launched by the international community. Tom Andrews, the UN rapporteur on Burma, again asked junta leader Min Aung Hlaing to put ” end to attacks thrown at Loikaw and allow humanitarian aid to pass “.

And, while the health and humanitarian situation is critical, the military is blocking the delivery of aid and medical supplies to regions where resistance is strong, according to the NGO Human Rights Watch. More than 1,400 civilians have been killed by security forces since the putsch and more than 11,000 have been arrested, according to a local NGO.

Aung San Suu Kyi, already sentenced to six years in prison, risk of decades of detention at the end of his trial. Aged 76, she has been kept secret by the generals for nearly a year.

To listen and read also: Burma: the army’s response is “powerful and appalling” warns the NGO Myanmar Witness

(With AFP)