Myanmar's coup leaders tried to crush resistance.
Category: Ning News
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After one year of military rule in Myanmar, millions of people are resisting a return to repression and isolation.

Last February, military leader Min Aung Hlaing seized control of Myanmar in a coup that upturned any hope the country of 55 million people would become a functioning democracy under former leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
After ordering a brutal crackdown on anti-coup protests, the junta chief and self-appointed Prime Minister is attempting to bring an unwilling population under his control, as problems plaguing the country become more acute.
Millions are unemployed, food and fuel prices are surging, poverty is rising, and the country's education, Covid-hit health care and banking sectors are verging on collapse, raising questions about what the takeover has achieved one year on.
"It is a failed coup," said Yanghee Lee, co-founder of the Special Advisory Group on Myanmar and former UN special rapporteur for human rights in the country. "The coup has not succeeded in the past year. And that is why they are taking even more drastic measures to finish out the coup."

Experts say the junta's attempts to gain full control are being frustrated by the Myanmar people as they carry out one of the biggest and most unified resistance movements the country has seen in its long history of democratic struggle against military rule.
On Tuesday, a "silent strike" is planned across the country to mark the anniversary, with residents urged to stay indoors and businesses to close their doors. The military has warned it will arrest those who protest under laws such as sedition and terrorism.
The junta says it is fighting terrorists, promising a return to peace, but resistance fighters say the junta is using increasingly brutal tactics to force compliance, suggesting the crisis is set to extend well into its second year.
CNN reached out to Myanmar's military spokesperson for comment on the allegations of mass killings and war crimes against civilians in this story but did not receive a response.
Military abuses 'amount to war crimes'
When tanks rolled into the capital, Naypyidaw, on February 1, 2021, many feared violence would follow. But few could have predicted the suffering, death and displacement of the past year.
More than 400,000 people have been displaced in fighting across the country since the coup, according to UN figures -- many of them fleeing across borders to India or Thailand, or forced to hide in the jungle.
Atrocities allegedly committed by troops include a massacre on Christmas Eve in Kayah state, also known as Karenni, where at least 35 bodies were found burned beyond recognition -- including two staff members with international aid group Save the Children. Another mass killing was reported in western Chin state in January, where 10 villagers were found, their bodies gagged and blindfolded, according to the Chin Human Rights Organization.
"They are killing, the brutality -- there is no rule of law," said a spokesman for the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF), a coalition of armed resistance groups in Kayah state, who didn't want to be named for safety reasons.

Hotspot areas have emerged across the country, particularly in Myanmar's west and south, where local armed resistance groups and ethnic armies are waging battles against the military in a bid to defend their communities.
In mountainous Chin state, the town of Thantlang was the site of a months-long offensive by the junta. Over the course of three months from September, the town's entire population of more than 10,000 people was forced from their homes and at least 800 houses and structures were burnt, the Chin Human Rights Organization said.
The military has repeatedly blamed resistance forces for setting fire to villages and towns -- including Thantlang. "Chin terrorist groups had attacked the security forces first and had burned down the town themselves," the junta said in January.

But those in the state say the attacks are part of a scorched earth campaign of violence that the military has long used against ethnic people, most notably the alleged genocide that forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingya to flee Rakhine state in 2016 and 2017.
"They are designed to displace the population, wipe out the area so they have physical control and deprive the resistance of supplies,"said Salai Za Uk Ling, deputy director of the Chin Human Rights Organization.
"It's really an intentional forced displacement where they are trying to wipe out the population."
The former UN special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar said the military's actions in areas such as Kayah, Chin, Kayin (Karen) states and Sagaing and Magway regions amount to "war crimes."
A stretched military
The military has labeled the resistance forces as "terrorist groups." In state media, it says it is using "the least force," is complying with "existing law and international norms" and is committed to establishing peace and holding elections in 2023.
But witnesses say the reality on the ground could not be more different.
Former soldier Kuang Thu Win, 32, defected from his post in December, taking his wife and 2-month-old baby to safety in an undisclosed location. He told CNN he felt "shameful for being a soldier."
Kuang Thu Win said that once a town or village is labeled as "an enemy," then everything or everyone in that location is treated as such. "During fighting, they would assume whoever they saw was enemies and shoot them," he said. And if they took prisoners, he said, soldiers would "give many reasons" to kill them.
"Like the prisoners tried to escape or they tried to grab the guns, that's why they had to shoot and kill," he said.



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