A captain, who defected from the Burmese army to join the opposition movement to the February military coup, accused the military junta of retaining family members of soldiers to prevent desertions.
Lin Htet Aung, who defected in March, said that the military junta, in power following the February 1 coup d’état, has “kidnapped” families of soldiers living in barracks to prevent any escape, published the news portal Myanmar Now, quoted by the agency Lusa on Wednesday.
The rebel claimed that 75% two soldiers they would be willing to defect if families were not “stranded”. “Those who live in military complexes were basically kidnapped. They use the families of the soldiers to control them, so that they cannot act freely. If a soldier wants to flee, he has to take his family with him, ”he accused.
According to the same testimony, many soldiers are against crimes ordered by the military junta during the brutal repression of pro-democracy protests, which have already claimed at least 714 deaths, according to the Association of Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP).
The AAPP also denounced arbitrary arrests, of more than three thousand people, and torture to which many of the detainees were subjected.
Soldiers “know it’s not fair, but they have to take care of their families. They are aware of injustice and I am sure they are uncomfortable with it. And yet, they have to close their eyes, ”he added.
Despite intimidation and violent repression, the demonstrations continue to take place across the country. On Wednesday, hundreds of students marched in Mandalay, the second most populous city in Myanmar (formerly Burma), and threw red paint over the asphalt to denounce the assassination of peaceful demonstrators by the military junta.
The army justified the coup with an alleged fraud in the November elections, in which the ex-civil leader’s party Aung San Suu Kyi, 75, won, and which were considered legitimate by international observers. Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1991, she was removed from power and has been under house arrest in Naypyidaw since the military coup.
Protest of health professionals ends with shots
According to the portal Mizzima News, quoted this Thursday by Lusadozens of health workers gathered in Mandalay to protest against the military junta, but security forces dispersed, opening fire and injuring several people. Also the portal Khit Thit Media indicated that 20 of the protesters were detained.
The number of possible deaths or the exact number of injured people is still unknown, in a context of information opacity, due to the daily cuts in the Internet signal and the difficulties of the few independent digital media that are still active.
Myanmar has been celebrating the Buddhist New Year since Tuesday, but traditional celebrations have been suspended in many places and protests in different parts of the country are filling the streets.
The brutality of the security forces has caused severe criticisms and sanctions by the European Union and countries like the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, although the international community has been unable to reach agreement on common actions, such as an arms embargo.