Myanmar Junta Extends Martial Law in Resistance Stronghold Sagaing Region

By The Irrawaddy 23 February 2023

Myanmar’s junta has imposed martial law on three more townships, meaning 40 townships have been placed under direct military control this month in a move that observers say shows the regime’s weakness.

On Thursday, the regime announced martial law in Shwebo, Ayadaw and Wetlet townships in Sagaing Region, a resistance stronghold. Earlier this month, the regime introduced martial law in 37 townships in eight regions and states.

Junta boss Min Aung Hlaing told the National Defense and Security Council in early February that security needed to be tightened in 65 of the country’s 330 townships to restore the rule of law.

Including some townships in Yangon and Mandalay regions and Chin State where the regime imposed martial law in the wake of the putsch in February 2021, around 50 townships are now under the direct control of regional commanders. Sagaing has 14 townships under martial law, the largest number in Myanmar. They are under the direct control of Northwestern Command’s Major General Than Htike.

Military courts will hear any case deemed critical of the regime. The junta warned that the death penalty and life sentences would be handed down.

No appeals are available except for death sentences where appeals can be submitted to Min Aung Hlaing for a final decision.

Two years after the takeover, the regime is far from gaining control of the country and the resistance movement gathers momentum.