Headquarters of ethnic armed groups being targeted

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – February 18 Scenes

MoeMaKa, February 19 2023

Headquarters of ethnic armed groups being targeted


In November 2014, when the Myanmar government military opened fire on a military training academy in Laiza with heavy weapons, it happened while the NCA was being discussed, and it was a surprising event for the forces that were hoping for peace efforts at that time. According to information I heard about the incident, it was not President U Thein Sein who ordered the attack, but Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing acted on his own. He said that he went to report to the president immediately after such artillery firing.


In June 2011, when U Thein Sein was president, there were resumed attacks with KIA/KIO, which had been in a truce for decades, near the Myitsone Project site in Kachin State. At the time of the attacks, U Thein Sein issued a unilateral cease-fire order in his capacity as president, while former generals and those in charge of the USDP, the civilian government, were holding detailed talks to stop the fighting with the KIA.


However, Commander-in-Chief of Defense Min Aung Hlaing ignored the president’s order and continued to fight. After more than a decade of fighting in Kachin State, the battlefield has spread across the country.


In the past 10 years, there has been an understanding, not on record, that they would not attack the headquarters of the ethnic armed forces. After the military coup in 2021, when the armed conflict escalated, new People’s Defense Force PDFs emerged and the ethnic armed groups provided military training and weapons and carried out joint attacks with them, the military council began airstrikes on the headquarters and bases of ethnic armed groups that supported them.


Since the coup, the warplanes of the military council have attacked camps in the area of the 5th Brigade of Hpapun District, and sometimes churches, residential houses and schools, causing death and destruction. Again, in late 2021 and early 2022, there were many air strikes in the Wale, Lay Kay Kaw area, and at the end of last year, an airstrike on the commemoration day concert held at the KIA Brigade 9 headquarters near Hpakant, Kachin State, killed around 60 to 80 armed forces and civilians.


Late last year, KNU’s camp near Makatha village, which is a mining operation, was attacked by air, as was the headquarters of the Chin National Front (CNF) recently. If we look at these incidents, the military council previously avoided the headquarters and business activities of the ethnic armed groups with a sense of understanding, but now it is aiming to launch air attacks on the headquarters.


Recently, the area where KNU’s headquarters is located was also reported to be under aerial surveillance by the military junta, and there is a possibility of air attacks. It can be assessed that the military council is canceling previous understandings and preparing deadly strategies to destroy the main base to attack the ethnic armed forces cooperating with the PDF.