Min Aung Hlaing, the leader of Myanmar’s ruling military junta, said the armed forces will “annihilate” groups seeking to overthrow his government.

The junta leader made the remarks at a parade marking Armed Forces Day.

Myanmar’s political crisis

Myanmar’s military seized control from Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratically elected government in February 2021.

Deadly force has been used by the junta to quell protests since the coup, resulting in over 1,700 civilian deaths, according to a toll compiled by human rights organization the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma). Thousands more have been arrested, charged, or sentenced.

Many political opponents have taken up arms and joined militias, known as People’s Defense Forces. Min Aung Hlaing told the parade of thousands of military personnel that there would be no negotiation with “terrorist groups and their supporters for killing innocent people.”

The United States last week officially declared that the military committed genocide against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim population. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the attacks against Rohingya were “widespread and systematic.”

The country’s military leaders have already been hit by a series of sanctions over the brutal campaign against the Rohingya, even before the junta seized power.

The formal declaration of genocide could be followed by further limits on aid and other penalties.

This article was originally published on Deutsche Welle. Read the original article here.

READ NEXT: What the Ukraine Crisis Means for the Indo-Pacific

TNL Editor: Bryan Chou (@thenewslensintl)

If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more story updates in your news feed, please be sure to follow our Facebook.