Myanmar government troops clash with villagers, killing 20

Twenty people were killed when clashes erupted between Burmese government forces and villagers in Myanmar’s Delta region.

Myanmar security forces clashed with villagers armed with slingshots and crossbows while searching for weapons in the Irrawaddy Delta region on Saturday (June 5), Reuters said. Local media reported that 20 people were killed.

The clashes broke out Saturday when security forces entered Hlayswe village, about 150 kilometers northwest of Yangon, to search for weapons, the reports said.

Burma’s state-run television said security forces killed three “terrorists” and arrested two when they were attacked with air guns and darts while arresting a man accused of plotting an anti-state operation in Hlayswe village.

A resident told Reuters, “The villagers only had crossbows and there were a lot of casualties among the people.” Local media, including Myanmar’s Delta News Agency, said 20 civilians were killed and many were injured. After government forces began their attack, villagers tried to return fire with slingshots.

Reuters said if confirmed, it would be the highest single-day casualty figure since the military coup broke out in Myanmar.

Reports said the move by Myanmar junta leader Min Aung Hlaing to meet with ASEAN envoys on Friday sparked anger in parts of the country on Saturday. Protesters in Mandalay, the second-largest city, burned ASEAN flags Saturday, accusing it of legitimizing Myanmar’s military government.