Conflicts & War

Myanmar ethnic rebel groups reject dialog offer by junta

Bangkok, Apr 25 (EFE).- The major armed ethnic rebel groups fighting with the Myanmar military on Monday either rejected the offer of a ceasefire and negotiation by the head of the military junta Ming Aung Hlaing or have reacted to it with skepticism, local media reported.

The Karenni National Progressive Party, the Karen National Union and the Chin National Front, involved in armed conflicts with the government security forces in different parts of the country, have ruled out negotiations with the junta under the current conditions, digital daily The Irrawaddy reported.

KNPP spokesperson Khu Danies said the group was unlikely to join the dialog at a time when the people were revolting against the junta.

He also accused the military authorities of carrying out arbitrary killings and said there were daily clashes in the southeastern Kayah province.

Meanwhile the Kachin Independence Army, active in northern Myanmar, said that it was yet to take a decision but talks might be useless under current circumstances.

KIA spokesperson Naw Bu said that official negotiations with ethnic armed rebels had failed repeatedly for more than 70 years, referring to separatist and autonomy-seeking ethnic conflicts that have continued since Myanmar’s independence.

The response comes after General Min Aung Hlaing on Friday urged the leaders of ethnic rebel groups to join a dialog presided over by him in the primary phase, with the militant groups set to be allowed to submit their demands before May 9.

Last year’s military coup triggered widespread popular opposition including protests and a civil disobedience movement which were brutally crushed by the military, with more than 1,700 people being killed, and over 10,000 imprisoned.

The regime, which has faced sanctions and criticism from the international community, has also intensified operations against ethnic minority insurgents, some of which have joined forces with the parallel government formed by pro-democracy leaders. These groups have been excluded from the junta’s dialog offer.

Ethnic minorities, including the Shin, Kachin, Karen, Kokang, Kayah, Mon, Rakhine, Shan and Wa, constitute more than 30 percent of Myanmar’s 54 million inhabitants.

At least a dozen ethnic guerilla groups have for decades been fighting against the military, mainly in the border regions.

The junta has justified the coup by citing alleged fraud in the 2020 elections, given a clean chit by local and international observers, in which ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party had repeated its landslide victory of 2015.

Min Aung Hlaing had led military campaigns against the Rohingya minority in 2017 and 2017, which are being investigated by the International Court of Justice for crimes against humanity, while the junta has also faced serious abuse charges since the coup. EFE


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