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In a safe house in Myanmar, resistance is growing.

Quietly, in the gloomy light, a group of men raise their hands in a three-finger salute.

Traditionally a sign of defiance and support for pro-democracy protesters, for these men it symbolises so much more.

Once police or soldiers, they now plan to fight the forces they used to serve.

Just talking to us is a huge risk; if caught the defectors could be killed.

So in hiding, faces and voices disguised for protection, they explain why they decided to defy the junta.

Sky News has hidden the former soldiers' and police officers' identities for their own safety
Image:
Sky News has hidden the former soldiers’ and police officers’ identities for their own safety

“We were told that we could shoot the protesters if they gathered in more than five. We could arrest them and shoot them,” Officer A, a former police officer says.

“We were ordered to shoot but we couldn’t do it.”

The allegation echoes the claims of both protesters and human rights groups after February’s military coup.

Myanmar’s security forces have been accused by Amnesty International of “premeditated” attacks on peaceful protesters – including “extrajudicial executions” and indiscriminately spraying bullets in urban areas.

While a shoot-to-kill policy has never been officially confirmed by the junta, the defectors claim they were encouraged to open fire.

“My friends said if they shot the protesters, they would get a promotion as a reward and be praised for being brave and following the junta’s order,” another former police officer, Officer B, tells Sky News.

“They were promoted from police second lieutenant to police lieutenant, from corporal to sergeant. As far as I know, those who shot the protesters got promoted.”

A former soldier in the group tells a similar story.

The defectors could be killed for talking to the media
Image:
The defectors could be killed for talking to the media

According to him, challenging an order wasn’t an option.

“The soldiers and police are now abusing the people at the order of Min Aung Hlaing (Myanmar’s junta chief),” he says.

“‘Shoot. Just shoot. This is my order,’ this is how they order the troops. If we did not follow the order, we would be punished.”

As well as the shootings, the military is accused of other abuses: of power, of people, and of their duty to protect.

Some female protesters have publicly accused members of the security forces of physical and sexual violence following their arrests.

The soldier isn’t surprised.

He says he heard reports of sex assaults during his service, in particular during military operations to ethnic minority areas in Myanmar.

“People are calling soldiers ‘military dogs’ [and] also accusing them of rape. Let me tell you, yes, we have seen those scenes at the frontline. I wasn’t involved in it.

“The officers were calling the women here and there and abusing them. Rape as well. It’s happening,” he says,

At least 840 people have been killed since the coup, many shot by junta forces according to figures from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma).

One defector trains for potential clashes
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Some protesters have travelled to border areas in Myanmar for resistance training

We put the allegations made by the defectors to the junta, but on publication Sky News still hadn’t received a response.

The men say the command to use violence against civilians is the reason they fled and joined the protest movement.

Their choice means the institutions they swore an oath to are the enemy they must defeat and the decision to defect has come at great personal sacrifice.

They have lost their freedom. They cannot see their families. They cannot return to their hometowns or tell friends where they are.

They now live their lives in hiding and on the run, waiting in dark, cramped and basic accommodation fearing they may be discovered.

Yet still they remain defiant – determined to fight for the democracy lost when the military seized power.

Since the coup, some protesters have travelled to border areas in Myanmar for resistance training and now some of the defectors are planning to use their own skills to help them.

“Those [protesters] who are not familiar with the military training, they need to learn how to use the weapons, to fix them, and set them up.

“I want to teach them. I will join with those organisations that are in the revolution to fight the junta.

“I will fight those power-hungry thugs,” the soldier says.

“I will join this revolution until the end. I will give my life. I will kill them wherever I see them.”

So in secret they plan, they train, they get strong; preparing to strike back against the generals they followed for so long.

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British tourist stabbed to death outside Spanish nightclub

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British tourist stabbed to death outside Spanish nightclub

A British tourist has been stabbed to death outside a nightclub near Barcelona.

The incident happened at about 4am this morning in Calella, about 30 miles away from the city.

Police have confirmed that there was a fatality, and another person was injured and taken to hospital.

According to El Caso, there was a fight outside the Oxygen nightclub and the tourist died at the scene.

In a statement, Catalan police said it is “investigating the violent death of a 31-year-old man”.

Another man has been arrested in connection with the incident, and footage from security cameras in the area is being checked.

Sky News has contacted the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office for comment.

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Roberto Baggio: Former Italian football star robbed at gunpoint while watching Italy-Spain game

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Roberto Baggio: Former Italian football star robbed at gunpoint while watching Italy-Spain game

Retired Italian football star Roberto Baggio has been robbed at gunpoint while watching the national team play Spain at Euro 2024.

At least five armed robbers burst into Baggio’s villa near the northern city of Vicenza around 10pm local time (9pm BST) on Thursday, according to Italian media reports.

One intruder hit the 57-year-old on the head with the butt of a gun when the former player confronted them.

FILE - Italian soccer legend Roberto Baggio smiles as he attends an event at the Expo 2015 World's Fair on the occasion of the UN World Food Day in Rho, near Milan, Italy, Friday, Oct. 16, 2015. Retired Italy star Roberto Baggio was robbed at gunpoint on Thursday, June 20, 2024 at his home while watching the national team’s game against Spain at the European Championship. Italian media reports say at least five armed robbers burst into Baggio’s villa near the northern city of Vicenza around arou
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Roberto Baggio in 2015. File pic: AP

The robbers locked him and his family in a room while they stole jewellery, watches and cash during the raid, which reportedly lasted 40 minutes.

Baggio was taken to hospital and received stitches for the wound. None of his family were harmed.

Italian sports newspaper Corriere dello Sport said Baggio had a “very brief” scuffle with one of the intruders and he suffered a “deep wound” after being hit on the forehead with the weapon.

Baggio, it said, broke down the door of the room he and his family were locked in before calling police.

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He was, the paper said, “very scared”, but was not seriously hurt.

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Known as ‘The Divine Ponytail’ during his playing career, Baggio was a gifted attacking midfielder who played 56 games for Italy, scoring 27 goals and starring in the 1990 and 1994 World Cups.

Widely regarded as an all-time great, he played for Vicenza in his youth, going on to star for other Serie A clubs such as Fiorentina, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan.

Spain won Thursday night’s Euro 2024 match, beating Italy 1-0 and securing their place in the knockout stages of the tournament in Germany.

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Jay Slater: ‘Living nightmare’ hunt for missing British teenager on Tenerife continues

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Jay Slater: 'Living nightmare' hunt for missing British teenager on Tenerife continues

Helicopters, rescue dogs and drones have continued to scour the holiday island of Tenerife for a missing British teenager as concerned family and friends endure a “living nightmare”.

The hunt for 19-year-old Jay Slater from Oswaldtwistle, near Blackburn in Lancashire, is now in its fifth day.

The apprentice bricklayer was holidaying with friends on Tenerife before he disappeared on Monday.

Pic: PA
Image:
Pic: PA

Emergency workers near the village of Masca, Tenerife.
Pic: PA
Image:
Pic: PA

He was last heard from when he called a friend to say he was setting off on an 11-hour walk to get home, after he missed his bus.

It came as new photographs showed the property where he was last seen in the northwestern mountain village of Masca after attending the NRG music festival.

In a post on the Facebook page “Jay Slater Missing”, the administrator of the group Rachel Louise Harg said family and friends were “drained beyond words”.

She said: “There isn’t an update for anyone unfortunately.

“Struggling to find words at this time but all I can say is we are looking still and everyone is doing all they can.

“We are drained beyond words – I just can’t say no more, I wish I could.

“I wish this would end now, this living nightmare.

“Searches are ongoing and we remain positive.

“Thanks to you all supporting and helping we can’t thank you any more, much love.”

Read more on Sky News:
British tourist stabbed to death outside nightclub
Italian football legend robbed at gunpoint

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Pic: PA

Pic: PA
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Pic: PA

On Friday, search and rescue personnel joined officers from the island’s Guardia Civil near Masca to comb an area of overgrown terrain.

Teams also paid close attention to a river called Barranco Madre del Agua at the bottom of a ravine, where emergency workers carefully picked their way through fallen dead palm trees.

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Mr Slater’s friend Lucy Law, who attended the music festival with him, said he called her at about 8.30am on Monday and told her he was “lost in the mountains, he wasn’t aware of his surroundings, he desperately needed a drink and his phone was on 1%”.

Meanwhile, members of the local community rallied together at a church service in his home town to express their hope of his safe return.

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesman said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who has been reported missing in Spain and are in contact with the local authorities.”

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