“Terrorism will be ended by counterterrorism operations,” Myanmar’s junta boss Min Aung Hlaing told his ministers in Naypyitaw on Tuesday.
“Terrorism” refers to the operations of the people’s defense forces, the armed wing of the civilian National Unity Government, which the regime has labeled as terrorist organizations.
The junta chief revealed his plan for counterattacks against resistance forces after announcing regime casualty numbers in a televised address on August 1 to mark 18 months since the military takeover.
There were 7,246 attacks using mines and bombs, 6,567 gun and knife attacks and 1,094 arson attacks, said Min Aung Hlaing in his address. Sagaing Region saw more than 4,000 attacks, followed by Yangon and Mandalay with over 2,000 each and Magwe with more than 1,000, he said.
Min Aung Hlaing is angry that immigration and population offices compiling voter lists ahead of a planned election next year are being targeted, a regime source told The Irrawaddy.
Five immigration and population junta officers were reportedly killed in Ye Township, Mon State, and Thingangyun Township, Yangon, this month. The offices are responsible for household registration and the census.
The junta chief on Tuesday blamed the National League for Democracy for Myanmar’s chaos, saying the party adopted violent resistance instead of explaining its voter list errors.
It is hard to achieve stability if terrorism is used instead of peaceful processes, Min Aung Hlaing added.
He spoke as United Nations special envoy for Myanmar Nolen Heiser visits the country for the first time since being appointed in October.
The junta is solving problems peacefully and operates legally without deliberately assaulting citizens, he added.
Meanwhile, junta troops attacked Sel Zin village in Hpakant, Kachin State, and civilian targets in Depayin, Sagaing Region, and Myaing in Magwe Region. Fierce clashes were also reported in Kawkareik, Karen State.
Min Aung Hlaing praised 10 ethnic armed organizations that attended talks in Naypyitaw. He said he could not understand why other groups refused to attend peace talks.
The regime’s self-declared mandate is due to expire in February next year.
“We have to take greater caution. Air attacks are likely to increase as the rainy season ends,” said a security analyst.