Myanmar Junta Chief Admits to Rising Resistance Pressure

By The Irrawaddy 16 February 2023

Myanmar junta chief Min Aung Hlaing has admitted that resistance attacks have increased since the 2021 coup.

Speaking at the 77th anniversary of the founding of state broadcaster Myanmar Radio and Television (MRTV) on Wednesday in Naypyitaw, Min Aung Hlaing lamented that the resistance movement is beyond the military’s control.

The regime extended emergency rule for another six months on February 1, citing instability across Myanmar. The regime has since imposed martial law in 37 townships, including the resistance strongholds of Sagaing and Magwe regions and Chin and Kayah states. It has also made changes to the Arms Act to arm pro-junta militias and security organizations with pistols, rifles and automatic weapons.

Min Aung Hlaing told the National Defense and Security Council on February 1 that only 198 out of over 330 townships in Myanmar are 100 percent stable. The regime blamed pro-democracy, anti-military groups that are “killing innocent people, blowing up public places and imposing armed intimidation and coercion on the people”.

In May 2021, he told the Hong Kong-based Chinese-language broadcaster Phoenix Television that the establishment of resistance groups by the National Unity Government was “working in the air”.

In the interview, he admitted that he did not expect such intense opposition to military rule. He called the anti-regime protests an emotional reaction, saying that his claims of voter fraud would anger National League for Democracy (NLD) voters.

Min Aung Hlaing justified his 2021 coup with claims of voter fraud against the NLD. The NLD won a landslide victory with more than 80 percent of the parliamentary seats in the election.

The junta boss continued to blame foreign countries, so-called traitors and political exiles for his failure to control the country, during the MRTV anniversary on Wednesday.

The NUG has called 2023 the decisive year for the revolution, as the junta is struggling to control resistance groups and ethnic armed organizations.