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Myanmar coup: Number of Myanmar military defections decline as junta ramps up threats on those who leave
It has been two years since Myanmar’s generals and the military staged a coup and overthrew the civilian government, with thousands of former soldiers and generals having defected since then. However, the number of defections has reportedly slowed down as the junta has ramped up its threats to those who leave.
A report by Al Jazeera found that the defections from the Myanmar military slowed down since the high numbers in 2021 when the generals seized power. The report cited one former military captain, Lin Htet Aung, who co-founded the defector group. People’s Embrace said that in 2021, most of the around 3,000 soldiers and 7,000 police offers who deserted the military made the decision to defect, but the numbers have since declined. The actual number of defectors from the military is undetermined.
Some of those who defected from the Myanmar military has since been involved in weapons production, battlefield tactics, and intelligence sharing for the country’s shadow government, the National Unity Government, which is made up of ousted politicians and pro-democracy activists.
Many of the 120,000 soldiers in the Myanmar military have since been given incentives to stay and serve the junta. The incentives not just include regular pay but also because they can make more money by extorting those who travel through the increasing number of military checkpoints in the country, according to Lin Htet Aung.
Since the coup, the military has killed over 3,000 people and detained thousands more who opposed the generals’ rule. The rift between soldiers and civilians has also widened since then, according to the report, with the public even dropping the formal name of the military, called Tatmadaw or “royal armed forces”, as they no longer believe the name fit what the military has since become.
A report by the United Nations published on Friday last week also accused the Myanmar military of a “perpetual human rights crisis” in the country and called for an immediate end to the violence. The report documented the Myanmar military’s alleged human rights violations from February 1, 2022, up to January 31, 2023, and found that the violence by the military increased in northwestern and southeastern Myanmar because of the military’s “indiscriminate air strikes and artillery shelling, mass burnings of villages to displace civilian populations, and denial of humanitarian access.”
The report said the tactics by the military aimed to cut off armed resistance groups’ access to food, finances, intelligence, and recruits.
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