Burmese army on ‘murderous madness’ against protesters: Amnesty | Human rights news

The Burmese military is using deadly tactics and an arsenal of battlefield weapons to carry out a “series of killings” against peaceful protesters opposing the February 1 coup, Amnesty International said on Thursday after reporting analyzed video and photographic evidence of the past few weeks of mass protests. .

The cache of 55 video clips offers visual proof of the “systematic and premeditated killings,” Amnesty said in a report Thursday, as it called on the UN Security Council and the international community to take action to end to violence.

“These Burmese military tactics are far from new, but their massacres have never been broadcast live for the world to see,” said Joanne Mariner, director of Crisis Response at Amnesty International.

Amnesty’s Crisis Evidence Lab has verified over 50 videos of the ongoing crackdown and confirmed that security forces “appear to be implementing planned and systematic strategies, including increased use of lethal force.”

“Many of the documented killings amount to extrajudicial killings,” the rights group said.

The footage clearly shows that Burmese military troops, also known as Tatmadaw, “are increasingly armed with weapons that are only appropriate for the battlefield, not for police actions,” the report adds. .

The officers were videotaped frequently seen engaging in “reckless behavior” including the indiscriminate use of live ammunition in built-up areas.

Latest findings strengthen February Amnesty report concluding security forces Deployed machine guns against peaceful protesters and shot a woman in the head during an anti-junta protest.

Police officers who fled to India on Wednesday told Reuters news agency they had been instructed by the military to target protesters and “Shoot until they’re dead”.

‘Murderous methods’

Myanmar was plunged into a political crisis on February 1, after the military arrested the country’s elected leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and seized power in a coup, claiming without evidence that the last November’s elections were fraudulent.

In the weeks that followed, there were almost daily protests against the coup and a campaign of mass civil disobedience in which doctors, teachers, factory workers and others went on strike. The military responded with increasing force, and the United Nations said last week that at least 50 people had been killed.

“It’s not the actions of overworked individual agents making bad decisions. They are unrepentant commanders already involved in crimes against humanity, deploying their troops and murderous methods in the open, ”said the Amnesty report.

“The military authorities must immediately cease their murderous attack, defuse the situation throughout the country and release all those arbitrarily detained.”

An injured resident, who was shot dead with rubber bullets as security forces destroyed barricades erected by protesters against the military coup, is assisted by medical personnel in Yangon on Tuesday [Stringer/AFP]

The video clips, dating from February 28 to March 8, were recorded by members of the public and local media in cities such as Dawei, Mandalay, Mawlamyine, Monywa, Myeik, Myitkyina and Yangon.

In a video taken in Sanchaung County in Yangon on March 2, a commander can be seen standing over a sniper. The commander appears to be giving him the order to shoot directly at specific protesters.

In another clip dated March 3 in North Okkalapa County, also in Yangon, officers are seen leading a man towards a larger group of security forces.

The man appears to be in the group’s custody and offers no visible resistance, when a policeman next to him suddenly shoots him. The man immediately falls to the ground and is left on the road, seemingly lifeless, for several seconds before the officers return and drag him away.

Police beat a protester while detaining him during a protest against the military coup in Yangon on Saturday [Stringer/AFP]

In another verified clip dated February 28, a member of the military in Dawei is seen loaning his rifle to a policeman deployed alongside him. The officer crouches, aims and shoots, before a group of officers standing with them celebrates.

“Not only does this incident show a reckless disregard for human life, playing the sport of shooting live ammunition at protesters, but it also reveals deliberate coordination between security forces,” Amnesty Mariner said.

Machine guns and Uzis

Amnesty also identified security forces armed with various military firearms, including RPD light machine guns made in China, as well as local MA-S sniper rifles, MA-1 semi-automatic rifles, Uzi BA replicas. -93 and BA-94. submachine guns and other weapons made in Myanmar.

“These weapons are totally unsuitable for use in police protests,” Amnesty said, citing UN guidelines, which state that security forces should refrain from using firearms unless they are there is an imminent threat of death or serious injury.

“The weaponry deployed by the Tatmadaw reveals a deliberate and dangerous escalation of tactics,” Mariner noted.

“Not content with indiscriminately using less lethal weapons, each new day shows an apparent order to deploy semi-automatic rifles, sniper rifles and light machine guns in increasing numbers. Make no mistake, we are in a deadly new phase of the crisis. “

Amnesty also revealed that a closer analysis of the photos and videos showed that the generals had deployed the Yangon Command, the Northwest Command and the 33rd, 77th and 101st Light Infantry Divisions (LID) of the army to participate in the repression “and sometimes lending their weapons to the police.

The soldiers have been deployed to Yangon, Mandalay and Monywa, which have witnessed “extreme cases of excessive force”, including killings, by security forces in recent days.

Some military divisions have been accused of committing similar atrocities and “serious human rights violations” in Rakhine, Kachin and northern Shan states.

Other military units were also implicated in “crimes against humanity” against the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State in 2017.

“As the death toll rises, the UN Security Council and the international community must move beyond words of concern and act immediately to end the violations and hold perpetrators accountable,” Mariner said.

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