Burma

Myanmar’s Civilian Defense Minister Confident of Victory 

By The Irrawaddy 14 March 2022

Myanmar’s parallel defense minister in the National Unity Government (NUG) U Yee Mon has praised the damage inflicted by the people’s deforces forces (PDFs) on the junta in the six months since the civilian administration declared war on the regime.

The NUG — formed by elected lawmakers ousted by the coup and their ethnic allies — on Sept. 9 last year declared a people’s war on the regime, urging all citizens to revolt.

U Yee Mon said in a report that the war had been started to defend civilians from junta violence using any available weapons. He praised the PDFs for their growing morale, bravery and intelligence.

“Some of our military goals have been achieved in this initial phase as the PDFs have taken control of many rural areas … and have been carrying out guerrilla operations efficiently in Naypyitaw, Yangon, Mandalay and other cities,” the civilian minister said.

He said the supplies of arms and ammunition were the main weaknesses holding back operations. U Yee Mon said he is aware of the criticism of the NUG’s efforts to arm the PDFs adequately.

He said there were many difficulties in the whole process, from finding funds and suppliers and the distribution and production of weapons.

“So far we have established the armed wing from funds donated by our people, at home and abroad,” U Yee Mon said.

Unlike Ukraine, which has received international military aid, the civilian minister said no other country has been provided any material yet.

“However, the minimum requirement for weapons and ammunition will soon be met,” he said, adding that it would take longer to fully equip all the PDFs.

The civilian Ministry of Defense reported that since September it has received over US$30 million (53 billion kyats) from public donations, 85 percent of which is being used to purchase and produce arms. Seven percent of funds have been handed to allies working with the NUG in the war, it stated.

“I am confident we can work strategically to be victorious,” U Yee Mon said.

The NUG minister said the junta has shifted its strategy to targeting civilians to terrorize the population to deter people from supporting the PDFs.

The junta continues to commit atrocities, including using hostages, arbitrary killings, burning alive, mass killings, using civilian detainees as human shields, shelling residential areas, looting and burning houses and sexual violence, especially in Sagaing and Magwe regions and Chin, Shan, Kayah and Karen states.

When the junta uses terrorist tactics, the PDFs must try to minimize the damage to civilians and its forces, U Yee Mon reported.

In the last month, around 2,100 junta troops were killed and over 600 wounded, according to the NUG.

The Irrawaddy could not independently verify any of the reports.

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