April 12, 2021 2:27:50 pm
The Myanmar military is allegedly asking families of victims of those killed in Friday’s bloody crackdown to pay $85 for their bodies, CNN quoted activists as saying.
On Friday, at least 82 people were killed in Bago after the city was “raided” by the military’s security forces, advocacy group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said.
AAPP claimed that the military used assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and hand grenades on anti-coup protesters. An eyewitness told CNN that many residents have fled to a nearby village following the events of Friday. Residents have been left without Internet and security forces continue to search the area.
According to a Facebook post from the Bago University Students’ Union, the military is charging people 120,000 Myanmar kyat ($85) to retrieve the bodies of their relatives.
CNN has reported that Radio Free Asia’s Burmese service matched the claims of the Students’ Union. CNN has also reached out to the military for a comment.
In a statement to the state-run newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar, the military claimed that its forces were attacked by protestors in Bago. “Rioters used handmade guns, fire bottles, arrows, handmade shields and grenades to attack the security forces,” the report said.
The newspaper said that one protester died and evidence of confiscated grenades and ammunition were found.
Friday’s event invited widespread international backlash. The US embassy in Myanmar called for an end to the violence. “We mourn the senseless loss of life in Bago and around the country where regime forces have reportedly used weapons of war against civilians,” the embassy tweeted on Sunday.
STATEMENT FROM @USEMBASSYBURMA: “We mourn the senseless loss of life in Bago and around the country where regime forces have reportedly used weapons of war against civilians. The regime has the ability to resolve the crisis and needs to start by ending violence and attacks.” pic.twitter.com/XUdzcZQCne
— U.S. Asia Pacific Media Hub (@eAsiaMediaHub) April 11, 2021
Human Rights Watch published a letter on Thursday calling upon the European Union to “fully implement” sanctions on the military and “urgently adopt additional sanctions.”
Following the February 1st military coup that overthrew the government, Myanmar has seen widespread protests in which over 700 people have died, according to the AAPP. Security forces, including the police and elite counter-insurgency troops, have led a crackdown against unarmed and peaceful protesters. So far around 3,000 people have been detained and fears of persecution have led activists to go into hiding.
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