EXCLUSIVE, Myanmar's Shadow Government Calls Civil War Hard to Avoid

UMMATIMES - Four months on, the crisis in Myanmar is not yet fully over. In border areas, ethnic armed groups and civilians held joint military exercises in response to subsequent attacks by the military junta. They realized that the junta could attack at any time, either from land or air.

Myanmar's shadow government, the National Unity Government (NUG), says it cannot prevent armed ethnic groups and citizens from preparing for war. The situation of civil war, according to them, is difficult to avoid when the military junta carries out armed attacks repeatedly. Moreover, there are already hundreds of thousands of people on the Myanmar border who have lost their homes due to the military junta's actions.

"The first law of the armed forces is to protect citizens, not to attack them as it is now. So, the Myanmar people have no choice but to defend themselves against these killers," said NUG's Minister for International Cooperation, Dr. Sasa, when talking with Tempo last Monday, June 7, 2021.

Dr. Sasa said the civil war will only end if the Myanmar military is determined and committed to stopping armed attacks. This, he said, had also been mentioned in the five ASEAN consensus points. Unfortunately, said Dr. Sasa, there is no visible intention from the military.

According to him, once Myanmar's Military Commander Min Aung Hlaing orders his armed forces to stop attacking, the armed ethnic groups and citizens will also stop their defensive efforts. As for how to encourage Min Aung Hlaing to stop his attack, Dr. Sasa said it was another matter.

"If today Min Aung Hlaing withdraws his troops from cities, villages, and then puts them in barracks, I can promise civilians and armed ethnic groups will not carry out defensive attacks," said Dr. Sasa.

Dr. Sasa added that not all Myanmar Military personnel are bad. Some of them carry out attacks under forced conditions, to protect their own lives. NUG's strategy going forward, he said, is to provide security guarantees to the personnel who have the potential to become deserters.

As per this report, nearly 900 people were killed by the military junta during the Myanmar crisis. In addition, there are also 6000 women and men who are imprisoned as political prisoners for no apparent reason.

Myanmar's crisis began with a coup on February 1 in which Min Aung Hlaing kidnapped State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Wyin Mint. The trigger is the defeat of military-affiliated parties in the 2020 election and their belief that the government party has cheated.