WASHINGTON: The US Treasury Department said on Monday (Mar 22) it was imposing sanctions on two members of Myanmar's ruling junta, including the chief of police, and two military units linked to the deadly repression of protests again the army's coup, as Washington warned of more action.
President Joe Biden's administration has already blacklisted top junta members and some military-owned companies, but the military has refused to change course and increasingly used violence against anti-coup demonstrators, killing more than 250 people so far.
"Today's actions send a strong signal that we will follow through on our pledges to continue to take action against coup leaders and those who perpetrate violence," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
The US action came on the heels of the European Union imposing its own sanctions on Monday on 11 individuals linked to the Feb 1 coup in Myanmar.
The US Treasury's action targeted Than Hlaing, a military officer who was appointed to lead the police force after the coup, and Lieutenant General Aung Soe, a special operations commander overseeing the crackdown.
The move essentially freezes any US assets of those blacklisted and generally bars Americans from dealing with them.
The Treasury also blacklisted the army's 77th Light Infantry Division and 33rd Light Infantry Division, which have been deployed to suppress anti-coup demonstrations in the largest city, Yangon, and second city of Mandalay.
"Video footage shows security forces riding pickup trucks while apparently indiscriminately firing live ammunition in multiple directions, including into people's homes," the Treasury said of the crackdowns.
The 33rd was one of two of the army's elite light infantry units already under US human rights sanctions for their roles in the military's 2017 assault on Rohingya Muslims, which were first detailed in a Reuters special report.