Myanmar Military Blames ‘Rioters’ for Arson Attacks
By The Irrawaddy 13 April 2021
More than 230 police stations, government offices, banks and factories in Myanmar have been attacked since mid-March, according to Myanmar’s military, which is keen to blame the attacks on anti-regime protesters.
Many attacks started on March 14 when the military regime killed more than 110 civilians during their nationwide crackdowns on peaceful protests.
In Hlaing Tharyar Township, Yangon, more than 50 civilians were killed in a single day and some factories were burned down in arson attacks in the township.
Myanmar’s military spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun said on Friday that 49 police stations and outposts, 29 ward administration offices and 39 government offices were attacked in March. Eleven roads and bridges, 10 banks and 72 private houses, telecoms towers, factories and shops were also attacked in March, he said.
During the attacks, 16 police officers were killed, 36 seriously injured and 227 officers suffered minor injuries, the general said.
He added that six soldiers and one of their relatives had been killed.
Since mid-March, several police stations and outposts in cities including Myawaddy, Bago, Mandalay, Mogoke, Kawthaung, Lashio, Kawlin and Myitkyina had faced arson or homemade bomb attacks, according to news reports.
Some police outposts had been entirely burned down while others were partially damaged.
In recent days, anti-regime protesters from Gangaw, Kale, Tamu, Taze and Yinmabin in Sagaing Region have resisted the junta’s forces with homemade firearms, gas-powered guns and slingshots.
On Sunday morning, junta troops providing security at the military-owned Myawaddy Bank in Chanmyathazi Township, Mandalay, were attacked with a homemade bomb thrown by motorcyclists.
A police battalion in Myitkyina, Kachin State, was attacked with two homemade bombs from motorcyclists that night.
Meanwhile, some police outposts and military positions in Kachin and Shan states were attacked by the Kachin Independent Army and the Brotherhood Alliance, which includes the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, Ta’ang National Liberation Army and Arakan Army.
Maj Gen Zaw Min Tun accused National League for Democracy members and supporters of committing arson and bomb attacks on police stations, government offices and people’s homes.
However, it has been observed that most arson attacks have been reported during the 8pm to 4am curfew when civilians are not allowed to go outdoors.
On April 1, two military-owned shopping malls in Yangon, including one in the city center, burned down during the curfew while a CNN team was visiting Yangon with the military’s permission.
The CNN team was taken to report from the military-owned shopping malls the next morning.
On April 7, explosions hit seven Yangon sites, including state-owned offices, an army camp, a shopping mall and near the regional parliament.
The regime has blamed anti-regime protesters but people have accused the junta of arranging the attacks to justify violence against demonstrators.
State-owned newspapers and television have labeled the protesters as “rioters” who are attacking government property.
As of Monday, around 710 people have been killed since the Feb. 1 coup by the security forces, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which lists the fatalities and detainees.
Amid the deadly crackdowns, tens of thousands of people across the country continue to take to the streets each day to defy the regime in various ways.
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