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Burmese shadow government builds fighting Defence Force

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: The People's Defence Force in Myanmar released a video showing battle ready new troops. (via Twitter video screengrab)

After Myanmar’s Feb 1 military coup threw the country into turmoil, a collection of deposed leaders formed the National Unity Government, who announced they were forming the People’s Defence Force to fight back. Yesterday the new military force was seen in a video of uniformed trainees finishing their instruction and prepared for combat. The video shows about 100 men marching in camouflage through jungles carrying a red flag with a white star on it.

The military junta has sunk the country into civil unrest and humanitarian crisis, and jailed former leader Aung San Suu Kyi, charging her with various politically motivated charges. The NUG formed as a shadow government in hopes of challenging military rule to restore order to the country. The defence minister for the shadow government posted the video of the recruits graduating to combat-ready on Friday.

The military junta responded to the new force by labelling it as a terrorist organisation. They seized power claiming that Myanmar’s most recent election was fraudulent, though an electoral commission found no evidence of fraud, and as such have declared the NUG as treasonous.

The People’s Defence Force trains while the military junta fights daily civilian protests in cities around the country and frequent clashes with insurgents in the countryside across the nation. Businesses have shuttered due to the unrest bringing about widespread poverty. Numerous local militias have grown in opposition to the military.

Yesterday, local news in Yangon reported on 2 homemade explosive devices detonated in the city, seemingly aimed at a military truck and a police post. One person was reported injured in the bomb blasts.

Min Aung Hlaing, the leader of the Burmese military junta, has said that 50 police officers have been killed in skirmishes, though he did not cite figures for military deaths. Opposition forces claim to have killed many soldiers in their battles. He also claims that civilian deaths in the disputes total around 300, a stark difference from the numbers cited by the United Nations, which stated that at least 840 people have died at the juntas hands, while over 4,000 people have been imprisoned.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

 

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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