Amid ongoing clashes between government and resistance forces, the Myanmar military junta has declared martial law in 37 more townships across the country, local media said.
The military junta ordered on Thursday to impose martial law in areas where fighting between the Burma Army and resistance forces has intensified, local media outlet Democratic Voice of Burma reported.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since a 2021 coup ousted Aung San Suu Kyi's government, and a subsequent crackdown on dissent has sparked fighting across swathes of the nation.
The latest announcement signals the junta is looking for new ways to stamp out resistance in areas where anti-coup fighters are active.
The Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper said the expansion was done "to exercise more effective undertakings for ensuring security, the rule of law and local peace and tranquillity".
READ MORE: Myanmar junta extends state of emergency, likely delaying polls
Crackdown on dissent
Under the new measures, military tribunals will hear criminal cases ranging from high treason to a ban on "spreading false news" which the army has used to jail dozens of journalists.
The 37 townships lie across eight states and regions — Sagaing, Chin, Magway, Bago, Mon, Karen, Taninthayi, and Kayah.
Junta troops have clashed regularly with anti-coup "People's Defence Forces" in those areas, as well as established ethnic rebel groups.
At least another 11 townships – six in commercial hub Yangon and five in second city Mandalay – were already under similar laws.
The decision came a day after state media announced a six-month extension to a state of emergency, delaying elections the junta had pledged to hold by August.
Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing acknowledged that more than a third of the country's townships are not under full military control, in comments reported by state media on Wednesday.
More than 2,900 people have been killed in the military's crackdown on dissent and over 17,000 arrested, according to a local monitoring group.
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