11 July 2024

Yangon, Myanmar – Myanmar’s junta chief has called on ethnic armed groups battling the military across the country to find a political solution, state media reported on Tuesday.

The junta is reeling from coordinated offensives near the borders with China, India and Thailand, in what analysts say is the biggest threat to its rule since it seized power in 2021.

Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing “warned that if armed organisations keep on being foolish, residents of the relevant regions will suffer bad impacts”, according to the Global New Light of Myanmar.

“So, it is necessary to consider the lives of the people, and those organisations need to solve their problems politically,” he said.

Myanmar has more than a dozen ethnic minority armed groups, many of which hold territory in the country’s border regions and have battled the military since independence from Britain in 1948.

In late October three groups launched a joint offensive across northern Shan state, capturing towns and seizing vital trade hubs on the China border.

More than 250 civilians, including children, are feared to have died since the launch of the offensive in October, according to United Nations field reports.

Over 500,000 people have been displaced across the country, the UN said.

Galvanised by the offensive, “People’s Defence Forces” formed after the coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s government have launched renewed attacks on the military in the north and east.

Last week PDF fighters told AFP they controlled parts of the capital of eastern Kayah state and were battling to dislodge junta troops from the city.

Agence France-Presse