A number of Myanmar police officers have fled to India after being “ordered to shoot protesters” and “beat them”, Sky News has been told.

One of them said: “I cannot shoot my people or beat those who have not committed crimes.”

They have also been ordered to “use sling-shots on them”, he said.

The 26-year-old added: “They are only peaceful protesters and also innocent.”

After disobeying orders from the military, he and a number of officers fled across the border.

He is very concerned for his wife and two-year-old child, left behind in his village, who have gone into hiding. “I am afraid for them,” he said.

The military, via social media, has “threatened to arrest family members of those who have abandoned the police force and fled”, he said.

We met him and a colleague at a hidden location in the state of Mizoram.

His workmate, who has escaped with his mother and younger brother, said: “We do not want to live under military rule.

“We cannot have peace under them. I am willing to sacrifice myself for democracy if it has to be that way.”

Their testimonies are some of the first details showing what security personnel are allegedly being ordered to do.

Though Sky News cannot independently confirm the allegations, the United Nations has condemned the Myanmar junta for the use of “lethal force” on protesters.

A military crackdown has been ongoing for several weeks. At least 75 people have been killed and hundreds injured in cities across Myanmar.

Six people are reported to have been killed on Saturday as protesters faced off with security forces.

There are reports of live rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas being used by the military to disperse large crowds.

Myanmar has been rocked by protest since Aung San Suu Kyi’s government was deposed in a military coup on 1 February.

Her party, the National League for Democracy, won a second term with a thumping majority in November.

One of the officers we spoke to appealed to the international community. “A UN peacekeeping force must be sent against the inhumanity that is taking place,” he said.

“We have been under economic sanctions and there is much diplomacy but it’s not working. More needs to be done and soon.”

His colleague said: “We should be given arms to fight the junta.” He added that many police officials had joined the battle against the military.

Both men are concerned by directives sent by the federal Indian government to states bordering Myanmar, noting the influx of refugees.

Law enforcement agencies and intelligence services have been told to identify illegal immigrants and initiate deportation without delay.

But one of the officers told us: “We will be killed if we are sent back.”

India shares an almost thousand mile-long border with Myanmar, most of it unmanned and unfenced.

The nearly 250-mile border between Mizoram and Myanmar is almost entirely porous and there is a free flow of people criss-crossing all the time.

The government’s new directive has caused anguish amongst the people living here in Mizoram.

They have very close ethnic and cultural ties with communities in neighbouring Myanmar, and watch with great concern as atrocities continue to take place on that side of the border.

(c) Sky News 2021: ‘I can’t shoot my people’: Myanmar police officers flee to India after defying military orders

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