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08/04/2021  Myanmar security forces kill 15 protesters, junta leader says opposition aims to "destroy" country


​Troops in Myanmar opened fire on pro-democracy protesters on Wednesday, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens, the latest victims of a campaign to crush opposition to the ruling military junta, activists and media said.

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, leader of the army coup that ousted Myanmar’s elected government on Feb. 1, said the civil disobedience movement’s aim was “to destroy” the country.

But a London-based research group said the military was losing control.

In other unrest, a series of small blasts hit the commercial capital Yangon and a Chinese-owned factory was set on fire.

About 600 civilians have been killed by security forces in the turmoil since the coup, according to an activist group. Nationwide protests and strikes have persisted despite the bloodshed.

The military was now focusing its crackdown on rural areas, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said on Wednesday.