A shadow government in Myanmar seeking to overthrow the February 1 coup has teamed up with a rebel group to “demolish” the junta regime, he said on Saturday.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi and his National League for Democracy government and launched a brutal crackdown on dissent.
A group of ousted lawmakers subsequently set up a shadow ‘national unity government’ that sought to reunite anti-coup dissidents with Myanmar’s myriad ethnic rebel fighters to form a federal army to challenge the junta.
On Saturday, the National Rebel Chin Front signed an agreement to “demolish the dictatorship and establish a federal democratic system” in Myanmar, NUG said in a statement.
They promised “mutual recognition” and “equal partnership,” the statement added, without giving further details. A CNF spokesperson could not be reached immediately for comment.
The group – which represents the predominantly 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 declined.
“The CNF has no real military force, so this decision is symbolic,” Richard Horsey, senior advisor for Burma to the International Crisis Group, told AFP.
” More [it is] nonetheless important because the CNF played a fairly important role in the peace process, due to its well-respected political leaders in exile. “
Several armed rebel groups in Myanmar have condemned the military coup and the use of violence against unarmed civilians.
Some also provide shelter and even training for dissidents fleeing to their territories.
But the more than 20 groups have long been suspicious of the Bamar ethnic majority, including lawmakers affiliated with Suu Kyi’s government.
On Friday, NUG released a video showing the first group of fighters from its “People’s Defense Force”, trained to protect civilians, completing their training.
About 100 recruits were shown walking on flat terrain surrounded by jungle. None appeared to be carrying weapons.
“Let all Burmese be freed from military slavery,” the recruits were heard screaming together.
More than 800 people have been killed by the military, according to a local watch group, although the coup leader gave a much lower civilian death toll.
The junta has classified the NUG and the People’s Defense Forces as “terrorists,” meaning anyone who speaks to them – including journalists – can be charged under anti-terrorism laws.
Coup leader Min Aung Hlaing justified his February 1 takeover by claiming electoral fraud in the November election won by Suu Kyi’s NLD party.
© 2021 AFP