Myanmar’s shadow National Unity Government (NUG) released a report on Aug. 9. It alleged that 1,130 soldiers from the Myanmar military had been killed in more than 700 clashes between the junta forces and local militias between June 1 and July 31. The report alleges 443 were wounded; 350 civilians were killed, and 140 were wounded.
Thein Tun Oo, the executive director of the Thayninga Strategic Studies Institute, a pro-military think-tank in Myanmar, said the NUG stats were exaggerated. He said that the claim that there were thousands of casualties in the military was “too much”; it looks “as if an entire army division had been wiped out.”
A coup d’etat on Feb. 1 put the military in charge of Myanmar, ousting the elected government. The military claimed the elections were illegitimate due to wide-scale fraud. Since then, Myanmar has seen a number of protests as well as conflicts between the official military and resistance groups.
A spokesperson for NUG’s People’s Defense Force (PDF) in the Bago region stated that the numbers in the report were based on data published in media outlets and the PDF across the nation.
“The death toll on our side is precise. The toll on the military side was the closest and most accurate we could work out. We can guarantee more than 90 percent accuracy,” the spokesman told Radio Free Asia.
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Khun Thomas, a spokesperson for Karenni National Defense Force (KNDF), said fighting between the military and resistance groups is “not going to stop”; it will “gradually get worse.” KNDF is fighting the government military forces in the Kayah state located in eastern Myanmar.
Myanmar election, UN and ASEAN intervention
Myanmar’s military leader General Min Aung Hlaing, who has declared himself the Prime Minister, has promised to hold an election in two years. During a televised address, Hlaing said that the country first had to “create conditions” to hold a “free and fair multiparty general election.”
A senior U.S. Department official warned that Myanmar’s military leaders are simply stalling for more time. “It’s clear that the Burmese junta is just stalling for time and wants to keep prolonging the calendar to its own advantage… So, all the more reason why ASEAN has to engage on this and … uphold the terms of the five-point consensus that Myanmar also signed up to,” the official said to reporters.
According to a report by Human Rights Watch, Myanmar police and soldiers have allegedly killed more than 900 protestors, including 75 children, since February 1. Over 100 people have “forcibly disappeared.”
The HRW report criticizes the UN Security Council and warned member states to “end the pretense” that ASEAN will pressurize the junta to restore the democratically elected government. Since ASEAN nations met at a summit on April 24, the group has taken “no meaningful steps” to push the Myanmar military to address human rights issues.
Kyaw Moe Tu, Myanmar’s United Nations ambassador to the United Nations, broke with the junta in February and remains loyal to the ousted civilian government. On Aug. 3, he wrote a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio. The ambassador describes the discovery of 40 bodies in Kani township in July, calling the massacre “amounting to crimes against humanity.”