Nov 16 (Reuters) – At least 29 members of Myanmar’s armed forces crossed into India on Thursday, fleeing an attack by pro-democracy fighters on their military base near the Indian border, a police official said, as rebels stepped up their attacks on the ruling junta.
Earlier this week, 43 Burmese soldiers crossed the Indian border into Mizoram state after rebels stormed their military base. Nearly 40 of them were returned by Indian authorities via another border crossing several hundred kilometers to the east.
Although Myanmar’s military has been fighting ethnic minority insurgencies for decades, the 2021 coup has allowed for unprecedented coordination among pro-democracy forces.
The military junta has ordered all civil servants and former military personnel to be ready for duty in case of emergency, Tin Maung Swe, secretary of the administrative council in the capital, Naypyitaw, said on Thursday after reports of “violent attacks” in several places.
“If necessary, such units can be issued and used for natural disasters and security,” the junta council said in an order.
Tin Maung Swe confirmed the decision while emphasizing that the situation in the capital, which is located in the center of the country, remains calm.
“This is an emergency relief plan,” he told Reuters.
The underground government, formed by pro-democracy supporters to oppose the army and allied with certain rebel factions, has launched a campaign known as the “Road to Naypyitaw” aimed at taking control of the capital.
Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun said late Wednesday that the army faced “heavy attacks from a large number of armed rebel soldiers” in the northeastern region of Shan State, Kayah State in the east, and Rakhine State in the west.
He said several military positions were evacuated and rebels used drones to drop hundreds of bombs on military posts.
“We are taking urgent steps to effectively protect ourselves from drone attacks,” he added.
Myanmar has been mired in crisis since a 2021 coup, when the military overthrew the government led by Aung San Suu Kyi, ending a decade of democratic reform efforts.
(Reporting by Reuters, Chanchinmawia in Mizoram; writing by Kanupriya Kapoor and Krishn Kaushik; French version of Dagmarah Mackos, editing by Kate Entringer)
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