The government of underground opposition to the generals of Burma who seized power in February decided, Tuesday, September 7, to officially declare war on the armed forces of Myanmar. Duwa Lashi La, a lawyer from the Kachin ethnic minority who was appointed in April as the “interim president” of the government of national unity (NUG), used Facebook, the main news outlet in Burma, to ask his fellow citizens to rebel “From every corner” of the country against the junta of General Min Aung Hlaing, organizer of the putsch of 1er February. The officials are ordered to quit their jobs, the soldiers, to join the resistance.
This call for a “Defensive war” is also addressed to the armed movement of the opposition, the “popular defense force” (PDF) – a nebula of disparate and motley groups which have been leading guerrilla attacks against the military for months -, as well as to the armies ethnic, that is to say, the fifteen armed groups controlling minority settlements on the borders with Thailand, China and India. Some, like that of the Karen, have been in intermittent conflict with the Tatmadaw (the Burmese army) since 1948, the date of independence.
The major protests that followed the coup, in March and April, dried up as the army fired live ammunition, killing hundreds, before a wave of Delta variant contaminations overwhelmed the region. country. The death toll of civilians today exceeds a thousand dead.
“This revolution is fair and equitable, it is necessary to build a federal union with lasting peace”, said Duwa Lashi La in a 7-minute speech. Like the other NUG leaders, he is in an undisclosed location, possibly an area controlled by one of the ethnic armies.
The specter of a protracted civil war
The NUG was formed in the spring on the initiative of former caciques and parliamentarians of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party of the imprisoned former leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The call for an armed uprising against the regime, a week away from the United Nations General Assembly (UN), will not necessarily have immediate military consequences on the ground but marks a new stage in the resistance against a more hated army than ever. It also raises the specter of a prolonged civil war in a bloodless country, hard hit by the Covid-19.
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