CNA – At least 2,000 pro-democracy fighters have been killed in Myanmar battling a military junta that seized power last year, the head of a parallel civilian government said in an interview aired yesterday, urging allies to provide military aid.
National Unity Government (NUG) Acting President Duwa Lashi La, comprised of remnants of the administration of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi and others, was speaking to the Reuters NEXT conference from an undisclosed location in Myanmar.
“We regard (the deaths) as the price we must pay,” said Duwa Lashi La, a former teacher and lawyer in his seventies who fled his home in Kachin State in northern Myanmar with his family.
The military has branded him and his colleagues terrorists and banned citizens from communicating with them, but their parallel civilian government enjoys widespread support.
Allied armed groups known as People’s Defence Forces have emerged across the country.
Duwa Lashi La has been pictured visiting troops, who include former students and professionals driven to the jungles by military crackdowns, clad in a flak jacket and helmet.
“I have no idea when I will give up my life,” he said. “I am already committed to sacrificing anything for my country,” he said.
The Southeast Asian nation has been in turmoil since the military seized power in February last year, reversing a decade-long democratic experiment, and used deadly force to crush protests.
In addition to the 2,000 deaths in fighting, more than 2,500 civilians have been killed elsewhere, mostly in crackdowns on protests, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a rights group that has been monitoring the unrest.