Representatives from Myanmar’s shadow civilian government, powerful ethnic armed organizations, the military regime and Chinese government officials have attended a memorial service for Kokang rebel leader Peng Jiasheng, who created a narcotic and gambling hub in Shan State.
He died of old age on February 16 aged 94.
Prior to the funeral on Thursday, a two-day public memorial for the founder and former chairman of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) was held at Peace Square in Mongla near the Chinese border.
More than 3,000 people attended the memorial, according to The Kokang Facebook page.
Among those present at the funeral were Communist Party representatives from Yunnan, the neighboring Chinese province, according to sources.
Other attendees included the vice-chairman of the Wa government, representing the political wing of Myanmar’s most powerful ethnic armed group; Arakan Army leader Tun Myat Naing; Ta’ang National Liberation Front chairman and deputy chair and chief of its armed wing Ta’ang National Liberation Army; and representatives from the Kachin Independence Army and Shan State Progress Party.
Khun Bitu, the chairman of the Karenni People’s Defense Force from Kayah State which is battling the junta, attended along with the shadow National Unity Government’s deputy minister U Chit Tun.
The regime was represented by the Kengtung-based Golden Triangle commander Major General Myint Tun, although the junta is currently fighting the MNDAA.
Peng, a former Communist Party of Burma member, founded the MNDAA in 1989 and agreed a ceasefire with the then junta. Peng also helped organize new armed groups, like the AA.
Tun Myat Naing praised Peng for giving the AA 100 firearms to get the movement started.
The ceasefire with the former regime allowed Peng to create a drug and gambling empire.
The peace deal collapsed in 2009 and fighting resumed with major battles in 2015 and 2017.
The MNDAA is one of the four major armed groups that did not sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the military-proxy U Thein Sein government in 2015.
Following the 2021 coup, clashes between the regime and Kokang forces broke out across northern Shan State.
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