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15 killed in attack on Myanmar village

BANGKOK (AP) – Myanmar’s military-controlled government is accusing pro-democracy fighters of killing 15 civilians in a nighttime mortar attack in a restive central area of the country, charges denied by the guerrilla group.

A report on Thursday in the state-run Myanma Alinn newspaper said so-called People’s Defense Forces (PDF) attacked the village of Ngwe Twin in the southern part of the Sagaing region at 4am on Wednesday with handmade mortars, killing 15 people and injuring seven others, including three monks.

Loosely organised armed PDF groups have sprung up around the country since the military seized power from democratically elected Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, 2021. The groups support the pro-democracy National Unity Government (NUG), a shadow civilian administration opposed to military rule, though they operate autonomously from it.

The NUG did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the attack.

Since the military’s seizure of power, widespread peaceful opposition to the takeover has shifted to armed resistance in many parts of the country and the PDF groups have allied themselves with several armed ethnic minority groups that have been fighting for greater autonomy in Myanmar for decades.

In response, the army has launched brutal counter-insurgency operations in the countryside, including burning villages and driving hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.

Myanmar military officers leave the venue during a parade to commemorate Myanmar’s 78th Armed Forces Day in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. PHOTO: AP