August 5, 2021

In Burma, the army faces armed resistance

If large-scale demonstrations have become rare in Burma, the time has come for armed resistance, with an increase in attacks by newly formed self-defense groups against the military or the civilians who represent them.

These attacks take place in remote areas, but also in large cities: a colonel and two other officers were killed in Mandalay on June 22, during an intense exchange of gunfire when they entered a small building. where there were fighters. In Yangon, a military truck exploded on June 18. These clashes come on top of the clashes between the regular army (Tatmadaw) and armed ethnic organizations, which have also taken up arms against the latter.

The Burmese army has already shown that it can respond with disproportionate means to the new threats posed by these actions, by using artillery and carrying out air strikes against the civilian populations.

On February 1, following the putsch that removed Aung San Suu Kyi from power, the repression led to the deaths of more than 700 civilians, including at least 50 children and adolescents, in just over two months, according to the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP). On June 18, an entire village, from which most of the inhabitants were able to flee, was set on fire by the soldiers in Kinma, near Pauk, in the Magwe region (western Burma), in retaliation for shooting at the house of ‘an administrator loyal to the junta of a village about ten kilometers away. The soldiers had found the owner thanks to the license plate of the motorcycle used in the attack in the village of Kinma.

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« We are not far from an escalation of violence, to a scale and degree that we have not seen in decades. We can count between six and eight organized groupss », Explained Nyantha Maw Lin, a Burmese consultant for a Singapore firm specializing in political risk in Southeast Asia, on June 29, during a seminar by the French Institute of International Relations on the Burmese situation. « This has an impact on the security forces. You should also know that the coup d’etat degraded the image of the army, even if we do not yet see mass defections. And then he destabilized the old guard that had grown rich, because there is a huge impact on the economy », he continues.

Local vigilante groups

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