More than two dozen anti-junta fighters have been killed in a confrontation with military forces at a central town in Myanmar, as people increasingly take up arms against the junta that seized power in a coup early this year, according to residents and the media.
Fighting broke out on Friday in Depayin township in the central Sagaing region, where anti-junta fighters, described by the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar as “armed terrorists,” ambushed military forces patrolling there, killing one of them and wounding six others.
Shortly afterward, military trucks roared into the area and opened fire on a village near the jungle to drive away members of the local defense force.
“We heard the shooting of artillery 26 times,” said one of the villagers, adding that the military forces “shot everyone who they saw on the road and in the village. They did not just have one target.”
The local fighters reportedly retreated to their hideouts.
A member of the local defense force told AFP that 17 bodies were found on Friday, while 8 more were discovered and buried on Sunday.
The fighter said the junta has increased its presence around Depayin, causing thousands of residents to flee in fear of further military action. The Sagaing region has been the site of multiple clashes between anti-junta forces and the military.
Despite a bloody crackdown, protesters still take to the streets almost on a daily basis in defiance of the military regime.
Residents of Sagaing held a brief demonstration on Sunday, showing a three-finger salute of defiance during rapid marches through the streets.
Myanmar has plunged into chaos since the February 1 coup d’état by the military that deposed the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
According to the United Nations, at least 880 people have been killed and 230,000 displaced in the violence.