Myanmar Shadow Government Teams With Rebel Group To FIght Myanmar Military

A shadow government in Myanmar seeking to reverse the February 1 2021 coup has joined forces with a rebel group to “demolish” military rule, it said.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy government and launched a brutal crackdown on dissent.

A group of deposed lawmakers later set up a shadow “National Unity Government” which has sought to bring anti-coup dissidents together with Myanmar’s myriad ethnic rebel fighters to form a federal army to challenge the military government.

On Saturday, the rebel Chin National Front signed an agreement to “demolish the dictatorship and to implement a federal democratic system” in Myanmar, the NUG said in a statement.

They pledged “mutual recognition” and to “partner equally” the statement added, without giving further details. A CNF spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

The group – which represents the mainly Christian Chin minority in western Myanmar – signed a ceasefire with the country’s military, also known as Tatmadaw, in 2015.

In recent years, its fighters have dwindled.
“The CNF has no real military strength, so this move is symbolic,” Richard Horsey, senior adviser on Myanmar to the International Crisis Group, told the AFP news agency.

“But [it is] nevertheless significant as CNF has been quite prominent in the peace process, due to its well respected political leaders in exile.”

Several of Myanmar’s rebel armed groups have condemned the military coup and the use of violence against unarmed civilians.

Some are also providing shelter and even training to dissidents who flee into their territories.

On Friday, the NUG released a video it said showed the first batch of fighters from its “People’s Defence Force”, formed to protect civilians, completing their training.

The video shows about 100 fighters marching on a muddy parade ground in the jungle. They march in new camouflage uniforms behind the flags of the new force, red with a white star. They are not shown carrying weapons.

“This military is established by the official civilian government,” an unidentified officer says at the ceremony. “The People’s Defence Force must be aligned with the people and protect the people. We will fight to win this battle.”

The military authorities say the NUG is treasonous and designated it and the People’s Defence Force as “terrorist” groups.

Coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has justified his February 1 power grab by claiming electoral fraud in November elections won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party. Independent observers dispute the assertions of widespread irregularities.

Myanmar’s security forces have killed more than 800 people since the coup, according to figures cited by the United Nations. More than 4,000 people have been detained.A shadow government seeking to overthrow the February 1, 2021, coup has joined forces with rebels to “demolish” military rule.

Myanmar has been rocked by turmoil since the military overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy government and began a brutal crackdown on dissent.

In response, deposed lawmakers set up a shadow National Unity Government (NUG), which has sought to bring anti-coup dissidents and ethnic rebels together to form a federal army that will challenge the military government.

The NUG stated that the rebel Chin National Front signed an agreement to demolish the dictatorship and implement a federal democratic system in Myanmar.

In a statement, they pledged mutual recognition and to work together equally, without providing any further details. CNF could not be reached for comment immediately.

In 2015, the group – which represents the mainly Christian Chin minority in western Myanmar – signed a ceasefire with the country’s military, also known as Tatmadaw.

Its fighters have dwindled in recent years.
The CNF does not have real military strength, so this move is symbolic, said Richard Horsey, senior adviser on Myanmar at the International Crisis Group.

“But [it is] nevertheless significant as CNF has been quite prominent in the peace process, due to its well respected political leaders in exile.”

Several of Myanmar’s rebel armed groups have condemned the coup and the use of violence against civilians.

Others provide shelter and even training to dissidents who flee into their territories.

The NUG recently released a video in which it said the first batch of fighters from its People’s Defense Force, formed to protect civilians, finished their training.

The video shows about 100 fighters marching in the jungle on a muddy parade ground. Their new camouflage uniforms are displayed behind the red with white star flags of the new force. Weapons are not shown on them.

“This military is established by the civilian government,” an unidentified officer said at the ceremony. “The People’s Defence Force must be aligned with the people and protect them. We will win this battle.”

The military authorities declare the NUG treasonous and have designated it and the People’s Defence Force as terrorist groups.

Coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has justified his February 1 power grab by claiming electoral fraud in November elections won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party. Independent observers dispute the assertions of widespread irregularities.

According to figures cited by the United Nations, Myanmar’s security forces have killed over 800 people since the coup. Over 4,000 people have been detained.

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