At least seven civilians were killed in three separate shootings involving the army or anti-junta forces in Myanmar’s commercial capital, Yangon, on Thursday night, witnesses said.
The incidents took place in Yangon’s Pabedan and southern Dagon Myothit townships and left six men and one woman dead, Burmese sources told RFA.
In one of the shootings, a rickshaw driver and two young men were killed when unidentified gunmen opened fire on a junta soldier on duty near the Maha Thein Dawgyi ordination hall in Pabedan around 3:30 p.m., according to a township resident, who declined to be named for security reasons.
“[The soldier] was shot near a betel nut stall on a side street near the ordination hall. I didn’t hear anything for a while, then a [military truck] arrived on the scene. The soldiers were shouting and swearing,” the resident said.
“Then I heard [around 10] continuous gunshots. The rickshaw man and two other young men who were hit died instantly. I am sad that these men were shot through no fault of their own.
The resident said the bodies of the three victims were taken away by a Red Cross ambulance about 30 minutes later.
Other residents of Pabedan told RFA that authorities closed the Maha Bandoola and Sule Pagoda roads, which run through the center of the township, after the shooting, but reopened them this morning. Meanwhile, the presence of security forces inside the Maha Thein Dawgyi ordination hall has been doubled, they said.
Posts on a social media network Telegram used by junta supporters said the two young men had “led an attack” on the soldier at the betel nut stand and were killed when security forces returned fire.
However, a spokesperson for an anti-junta armed group known as the Yangon UG Association dismissed the claims.
“We will attack and flee with motorcycles or cars. We will even attack on foot and run when we have an escape route. But it doesn’t make sense to attack [a military post] with a rickshaw,” the spokesperson said.
“[The military] might try to protect themselves. Or they could just be lying to cover up the act. These urban guerrillas are young people in the age of globalization, they are not morons. Everyone knows you can’t launch an attack from a rickshaw.
The spokesman added that urban guerrillas do not carry arms in Yangon because junta troops carry out strict security checks in the city.
Southern Dagon Myothit Shootouts
Also on Thursday, a resident of Ward 53 in southern Dagon Myothit said junta soldiers shot dead a man in his 40s and a woman in her 30s inside their home.
“When we found them, they were already dead. The man had gunshot wounds to the chest and stomach,” the resident said.
“They were shot in their own house. When we checked with people nearby, they said the two who were killed were peaceful people. We don’t know exactly who shot them.
Later that night, the anti-junta urban guerrilla group South Dagon said its members had killed the deputy administrator of Ward 71 and a clerk from the General Administration Department of Ward 25, who, according to he were military informants.
RFA was unable to independently confirm the killings in southern Dagon Myothit township.
The military has yet to release information about the killings, and further details about the incidents were not immediately available.
Nan Lin, a member of the University Alumni Association, a Yangon-based anti-junta group, told RFA that urban guerrilla units attacked bunkers, police stations and government offices. local administration, leaving authorities nervous and ready to shoot anything they deemed suspicious. .
“More and more people have lost their lives because of the army’s indiscriminate shooting,” he said.
“The urban guerrilla forces stage all kinds of different attacks. Because of this, soldiers feel they are not safe anywhere,” Nan Lin said. “There are many cases now where [troops] open fire on anything suspicious, sometimes even on their own people.
In Yangon, authorities routinely arrest people at their homes while checking guest lists and shoot anyone suspected of being a member of anti-junta groups, residents told RFA.
According to the Thai Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (Burma), authorities have killed at least 2,327 civilians and arrested 15,691 others in the nearly 20 months since the Myanmar military took over. power during the February 1, 2021 coup, mainly during peaceful demonstrations against the junta.
Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.