Myanmar likely becoming failed state, says Fitch Solutions; parallel govt to submit evidence of atrocities to UN body
Myanmar troops fired at anti-coup protesters on Wednesday, killing at least five people and wounding several, media said, as activists defied a bloody crackdown and internet blockade by the ruling junta.
More than 580 people have been killed, according to an activist group, in the turmoil in Myanmar since a Feb. 1 coup that ended a brief period of civilian-led democracy. Nationwide protests and strikes have persisted since then despite the ruling military’s use of lethal force to quell the opposition.
Security forces opened fire on Wednesday on protesters in the northwestern town of Kale as they demanded the restoration of Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government, a resident told Reuters.
The Kale resident said the information was provided to him by witnesses, who took pictures of five bodies.
Reuters could not independently verify the toll.
The mostly youth-led anti-coup movement’s ability to organise campaigns and share information via social media and instant messaging has been severely hamstrung by curbs on broadband wireless internet and mobile data services.
Fixed-line services, which few in Myanmar have access to, are available.
“Communications are now severely limited and available only to the few.”
On Tuesday, Dr Sasa, who leads a parallel government of the remnants of Suu Kyi’s administration, said in a statement that its legal counsel would be submitting evidence of military atrocities to different U.N. human rights bodies.
According to the Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) advocacy group, 581 people, including dozens of children, have been shot dead by troops and police in almost daily unrest since the coup, and security forces have arrested close to 3,500 people, with 2,750 still detained.
The country’s most famous comedian, Zarganar, was arrested on Tuesday, media reported.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab discussed how Britain and the international community could support a Southeast Asian effort to resolve the crisis in Myanmar, Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said, after meeting her British counterpart in Jakarta.
Indonesia is among several Southeast Asian countries leading a push for high-level talks on Myanmar.
Western countries including the United States, Britain and Australia have imposed or tightened sanctions on the generals and the military’s huge network of business monopolies in response to the coup, detentions and use of lethal force against demonstrators.
The European Union is expected to follow suit.
Russia, which has shown support for Myanmar’s ruling military council, on Tuesday said the West risked triggering civil war in the country by imposing sanctions on the junta.
Fitch Solutions said in a report issued on Wednesday that targeted Western sanctions alone were unlikely to succeed in restoring democracy. It predicted in the medium-term a violent revolution between the military on one side and an armed opposition comprised of members of the anti-coup movement and ethic militias.
Some ethnic minority forces, which control large swathes of border regions, have said they can not stand by as the junta kills people and already engaged the military in skirmishes.
Fitch said Myanmar was heading towards being a failed state.
“The escalating violence on civilians and ethnic militias show that the Tatmadaw (military) is increasingly losing control of the country,” it said, adding that the vast majority of people backed the parallel government.-