Yangon, monitoring group: 3,000 civilians killed since the coup. Religious sister latest victim

The data from the latest report by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which does not include anti-regime fighters . More than 15 thousand people are still held in prisons. Violence against women has been reported in some prisons. Shelling continues in Chin State after the militias' territorial gains.

Yangon (AsiaNews) - The tally of civilians killed by Myanmar's military junta reached 3,000 on 17 February, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Aapp), an organisation that monitors the number of killings and arrests since the army seized power on 1 February 2021.

The latest victim recorded by Aapp is a religious sister named Sate, who was killed in the central region of Sagaing. The 70-year-old woman was burnt alive in her house because she was unable to escape after army troops set fire to the village of Let Pan Hla, in the municipality of Khin-U.

According to the Aapp report (which does not include anti-regime fighters in its count, only civilians) at least 1,229 people, 41% of the total victims, were killed in the Sagaing region alone by the army and a regime-affiliated militia called Pyu Saw Htee. The UN estimates that at least 39,000 homes have been set on fire in the last two years.

After the coup d'état, which put an end to the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, a brutal civil conflict began, with the army on one side and the resistance forces on the other, made up of the People's Defence Groups (the armed wing of the Government of National Unity in exile) and the country's historic ethnic militias, some of which have been fighting for autonomy since Myanmar's independence from British colonial rule.

In addition, Aapp further points out, since the coup at least 19,739 people have been arrested, of whom 15,882 are still in prison. According to local sources, political prisoners are tortured and ill-treated on a daily basis by prison staff in Obo prison in Mandalay.

Earlier this month, some of the women were injured as a result of the violence and denied proper treatment. Activists and former political prisoners claim that all prisons in the country violate the human rights of prisoners.

Meanwhile, in recent weeks, the military junta has carried out a series of air strikes in the western state of Chin, where part of the Christian community is concentrated, in an attempt to regain control of the city of Thantlang, according to the Chin National Army (CNA), a local ethnic militia affiliated with the Chin National Front (CNF). According to movement spokesmen, the military dropped at least 20 bombs in a single attack last week; the junta also deployed Mi-35 helicopters.

On the evening of 9 February, the NAC guerrillas had attacked the police station in Thantlang, where members of the army and the police were stationed, taking over the city. The inhabitants - about 10,000 people - abandoned the centre, which has now become a front line between the soldiers and the resistance militia.

"The military is no longer able to send reinforcements from Hakha [the state capital where a Burma Army military base is located]. We have cut off the supply routes to Thantlang. We have no intention of retreating even though they launch air attacks every day," said a spokesman for the NFC.

The burden of the fighting is being borne by the civilian population: according to UN data, three out of every 10 children under the age of five are sick with rickets due to poor nutrition, while at least five million children are in need of humanitarian assistance in Myanmar right now. At least one and a half million people are internally displaced throughout the country as a result of the conflict.