JAKARTA, Indonesia 

At least 44 Myanmar military troops were killed in recent clashes with anti-coup forces in the eastern Sagaing region, local media reported late Tuesday.

The People’s Defense Force (PDF) claimed that the casualties occurred between June 24 and 26 in Htigyaing and Katha townships, according to Myanmar Now news portal.

The PDF is the armed wing of the National Unity Government, which claims to be Myanmar’s legitimate government following the Feb. 1 military coup.

The armed wing was formed on May 5, 2021, in response to the coup and the junta’s ongoing violence. The military junta designated it as a terrorist organization on May 8.

Myanmar’s military ousted President Win Myint, State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, detaining them along with other senior members of the pre-coup ruling National League for Democracy party, citing “election fraud” in the polls.

The junta has killed 883 people in the country since then, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a rights group.

*Writing by Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo with Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian language services in Jakarta

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