Crescent Kashmir

Myanmar junta fears break-up of country

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YANGON: Myanmar’s junta-backed president said the country is at risk of breaking apart if the military cannot crush a joint offensive by ethnic armed groups along the border with China, state media reported on Thursday.

Fighting has raged for almost two weeks across northern Shan state near the China border, posing what analysts say is the biggest military challenge to the junta since it seized power in 2021.

“If the government does not effectively manage the incidents happening in the border region, the country will be split into various parts,” Myint Swe said, according to the Global New Light of Myanmar.

The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army and the Arakan Army say they have seized dozens of military outposts and blocked vital trade routes to China.

The junta has admitted to losing control of a key trade hub, but had not commented on the progress of the fighting for days.

Myint Swe made the remarks at a meeting of the National Defence and Security Council, attended by junta chief Min Aung Hlaing and other top military officials.

Myint Swe was vice president under the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi that the military ousted in 2021. He was later appointed acting president by the junta. “Stability can be restored to some extent due to the sacrifice of the lives” of junta troops, he said, without giving details.

Myanmar’s borderlands are home to more than a dozen ethnic armed groups, some of which have fought the military for decades over autonomy and control of lucrative resources.

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2023

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