An alliance of ethnic armies in Myanmar that has opposed the general’s crackdown on anti-coup protests attacked a police station in the east on Saturday and killed at least 10 policemen, local media said.
The police station at Naungmon in Shan state was attacked early in the morning by fighters from an alliance that includes the Arakan Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, media reported.
Shan News said at least 10 policemen were killed, while the Shwe Phee Myay news outlet put the death toll at 14.
A spokesman for the military did not return calls asking for comment.
Al Jazeera’s Tony Cheng, reporting from neighbouring Thailand, noted the ethnic armies are some of the oldest in the world, having battled central government forces for decades.
“Since the coup, there has been a lot of talk about armed groups operating together but we have not actually seen it before. Today it’s claimed three acted together, joined forces, attacked this outpost manned by Myanmar police, killing a number of policemen,” said Cheng, adding the assault occurred over two hours early on Saturday.
More than 600 people have been killed by the military in the crackdown on protests against the February 1 coup, according to a monitoring group. As violence has escalated, about a dozen armed groups have condemned the coup-makers as illegitimate and pledged to stand with the protesters.
Civilian lawmakers, most of whom are in hiding after their removal, have announced plans to form a “national unity government” – with key roles for ethnic leaders – and are holding online talks about joint resistance to the generals.
Dozens of bodies
Meanwhile, reports from Myanmar say dozens of people may have been killed in a military assault on anti-coup protesters in the city of Bago. About 60 people may have died in the clashes in the city, about 60km (32 miles) northeast of Yangon, according to Radio Free Asia citing witnesses.
News site Myanmar Now cited a protest leader as saying dozens of bodies had been brought inside a pagoda compound where the military was based. Witnesses cited by both media outlets reported hours of gunfire that started early on Friday.
Protests against the February coup continued on Saturday in Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Sagaing, Myeik and many other cities.
The military crackdown has also included reports of protesters being tortured in detention and harsh sentences.
The military issued death sentences on 19 people from Yangon’s North Okkalapa township on Friday. They were charged with beating an army captain, according to Radio Free Asia.
The military coup dismissed the elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi, who is currently under house arrest.