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738 killed since coup in Myanmar: Rights group

At least 738 people have been killed so far in Myanmar’s military crackdown against anti-coup protesters, according to the latest figures by a rights watchdog.

In its daily briefing on Tuesday, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said 3,261 people are under detention, 75 of them have been convicted, and arrest warrants have been issued for at least 970 others.

Meanwhile, more than 1,500 villagers from Momauk Township in Kachin State have fled their homes following fierce fighting between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Myanmar’s military in the previous week, local media reported.

The displaced are from Si Hut, Kone Law, Myo Haung, Myo Thit, Shwe Myaung, Namt Lan, Mone Khat, Naung Kon, and Nant Ngoe villages in Momauk Township, according to The Irrawaddy.

“Military tensions have been rising. Villagers decided to flee as fighting could break out at any time, including the possibility of bombing by fighter jets,” the daily quoted an administrator from one of the villages as saying.

Reverend Seng Awng from Kachin Baptist Convention in Momauk Township said the church had sheltered at least 150 households or around 600 people, according to the report.

“As some people were killed by artillery, they fled the villages. They did not have time to take any belongings. We provided what they needed, including accommodation and meals,” he added.

Myanmar’s military – officially known as Tatmadaw – seized power on Feb. 1, ousting the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

In response to the coup, civilian groups across the country launched a civil disobedience campaign with mass demonstrations and sit-ins. The military junta has used brutal methods to quell the growing movement.

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