Clashes broke out before dawn on Saturday at Hlayswe, some 150 kms northwest of the main city of Yangon, when soldiers arrived for a search operation, local media outlets and residents said.

Khit Thit Media and the Delta News Agency said 20 civilians had been killed and many others wounded. The media stated that villagers had tried to fight back the forces with catapults after soldiers allegedly assaulted residents, in what they said was a search for arms.

State-run MRTV said security forces were allegedly attacked with compressed air guns and darts.

The death toll put out by the local media, is the highest in a single day in nearly two months. It was one of the worst violence-hit days in the Ayeyarwady region, since the coup broke out.

Ayeyarwady region is an important rice growing area that has large populations of both the Bamar majority ethnic group and the Karen minority.

Post-coup flareups have been reported from the borderlands, where 25-30 ethnic rebel armies have been waging war against the State since decades.

The junta is also facing massive protests and paralysing strikes on a daily basis.

The anti-junta Shwegu People’s Defence Force said it had attacked a police station in northern Shwegu late on Friday jointly with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).

KIA claims that the attack inflicted heavy casualties on the forces, but did not specify any numbers.

In eastern Myanmar, the MBPDF (Mobye People’s Defence Force) said it had clashed with the army on Friday and claimed that four soldiers had been killed.

Despite the turmoil, Myanmar’s military regime has shown little sign of paying heed to the calls from its opponents to relinquish power.

This week, the junta received its first high-profile foreign visitors – the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the two ASEAN envoys.

A parallel underground opposition government said that after the envoys’ visit on Friday, it had lost faith in ASEAN’s attempts to end the crisis.

It is now clear that the revolt started by the youth of the Country is becoming a national resistance movement involving the middle class.

Young people were the first in Myanmar to peacefully protest the country’s military regime. Then came labour unions. In the following weeks, Mynamar’s resistance movement has expanded dramatically in recent weeks to include some perhaps unlikely activists: doctors, nurses, bankers, grocers, railway workers and other working professionals.

Myanmar was under military rule from 1962 to 2011. During the elections in 2015, the National Democratic League won by a landslide, and party leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a well-known dissident, became the country’s leader.

The army overthrew her government on February 1, 2021, and imposed martial law.