The Myanmar military regime has branded the parallel National Unity Government (NUG), its parliamentary committee and their offshoot civilian defense forces as “terrorist groups” for alleged acts of incitement against the junta.
The declaration means that anyone arrested on suspicion of affiliation with the groups would face 10 years to life imprisonment if convicted, according to the country’s Counterterrorism Law.
In its announcement Saturday, the regime said the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) and the NUG “constantly incited Civil Disobedience Movement participants to commit violent acts.” The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw is Myanmar’s Union Parliament.
“They perpetrated bombing, arson, manslaughter and intimidation to disrupt the state administrative machinery due to the influence of the leaders of the CRPH and NUG,” the statement reads.
The regime outlawed both the NUG and CRPH prior to their designation as terrorist groups.
The junta on Saturday also declared as terrorist groups the NUG’s recently formed People’s Defense Forces (PDF)—established as the forerunner of a planned Federal Democratic Armed Forces, commonly known as the Federal Army. The NUG is trying to form the collective army with the country’s ethnic armed groups, who have been warring against the regime for decades.
Civilians in many parts of the country have founded local resistance forces to fight against the regime. They have fought back against the junta’s forces with improvised explosives and homemade guns, and have succeeded in inflicting some casualties on the regime. In recent shootouts in upcountry areas of Sagaing Region, 16 soldiers were killed.
Many regional resistance forces have declared their loyalty to the PDF. They were also branded as terrorist groups on Saturday for “violent acts committed in the name of regional defense forces instigated by the NUG and PDF,” the regime said.
The NUG’s defense minister, U Ye Mon, declined to comment on the issue.
The previous version of the story incorrectly stated the day of the declaration of terrorist groups. The story has been updated.
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