Myanmar Junta Security Minister Admits Defeat Across Region 

By The Irrawaddy 25 January 2022

Magwe Region’s junta-appointed cabinet has been recorded saying the regime has almost lost control of six of the 25 townships in the region because of attacks from the people’s defense forces (PDFs).  

The cabinet meeting was addressing how to persuade residents to recognize the regime as the legitimate government instead of the ousted National League for Democracy administration which won the 2020 general election. 

In the recording published by the Khit Thit Media group, Colonel Kyaw Kyaw Lin, the regional security minister, confessed that the junta’s administration had broken down in Gangaw District’s three townships since July last year when the PDFs emerged. 

The junta minister said district- and township-level government offices were not functioning and most staff had left for their hometowns. 

He said it was similar in the three Pakokku District townships, Pauk, Myaing and Yesagyo. 

Resistance fighters of the Yaw Defense Force fly the YDF flag in territory they now control in Gangaw District, Magwe Region, on Jan. 24. / YDF

Yaw Defense Force, one of the resistance groups in Gangaw District, told The Irrawaddy in November that up to 80 percent of judges, police officers, firefighters and government administrators had resigned after the group told all government staff to quit by November 6. 

After the resignations, the junta in mid-November escalated operations in Gangaw District with thousands of reinforcements and airstrikes, according to resistance groups. 

However, after suffering more than 100 casualties, the junta operations were deemed a failure due to repeated ambushes and mining attacks by various resistance groups in the area. 

Several members of the Pyu Saw Htee militia, which is trained and armed by the military, had surrendered their weapons to resistance groups, according to the YDF. 

On Jan. 24, the YDF began flying its flag across Gangaw District. 

The regime also faces frequent attacks and ambushes in Pauk and Myaing townships and some police stations in Yesagyo were occupied and burned down by the PDFs. 

Col Kyaw Kyaw Lin can be heard telling the cabinet: “As you all know, a government must be able to enforce its authority on the people.”

Two PDF members at a destroyed police outpost in Yesagyo Township, Magwe Region, in November. / Yesagyo PDF

He added that hostile organizations which reject military rule had formed a parallel government and PDFs were working for the civilian National Unity Government. 

He likened the situation to the past when the military had failed to defeat the Communist Party of Burma after 1948. 

“The PDFs are using insurgency tactics as they are based among civilians,” he told the meeting. 

He proposed severing the rebels from access to funding, food, weapons, ammunition and recruits while the junta must also gain popular support. 

Meanwhile, PDFs in Sagaing Region, where the junta faces the most attacks, have claimed that most of the region, except for some towns, is now under the control of resistance forces.

 Sagaing PDFs are stopping illegal logging, drug dealing and trading in military-linked products, including beer, cigarettes and cement.

Exception for Rakhine State, which is largely under the control of the Arakan Army, the junta is facing intense attacks from PDFs and ethnic armed groups across the country.

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