Over 80 Myanmar Junta-Appointed Local Officials Resign

By The Irrawaddy 9 November 2021

Over 80 ward and village administrators in Magwe Region’s Natmauk Township have resigned following threats from a local civilian resistance group.

On November 1, the Magwe-based Beikthano People’s Defense Force (PDF) warned military-appointed administrators in Natmauk Township to resign within two weeks or face the consequences.

As of Saturday, over 80 ward and village administrators, as well as lower-level officials with administrative oversight of 100 households, have left their jobs, according to an administrative official of Natmauk Township who asked for anonymity.

“Some of them have announced online that they have resigned. They did so out of fear that their lives would be harmed,” he said.

The administrators resigned on health grounds, according to the resignation letters seen by The Irrawaddy.

“I think they resigned because of the warnings from the PDF. It is a life and death situation for them. There might be pressure from their families to quit,” said a resident of Natmauk’s Kangyi Ward.

Earlier this month, a military-appointed village-tract administrator and a township education officer were murdered in Natmauk.

“Many [administrators] have resigned recently. No one wants to serve as an administrator in my village. The [murdered] education officer had been forcing striking teachers to return to work. His body was recovered three days after he was murdered. I think these are the reasons behind the mass resignations,” said a resident of Kalarshin Village who asked not to be named.

Natmauk is made up of seven wards and 80 village-tracts.

The resignations follow a spike in attacks on junta forces by PDFs across the country since September 7, when the civilian National Unity Government declared a people’s defensive war against the military regime.

Over 100 local administrators in Sagaing, Magwe and Yangon regions quit working for the regime last month, fearing for their lives and the safety of their families amid clashes between Myanmar’s military and civilian resistance fighters.

Since late March, administration offices in villages, wards and townships have been torched and bombed by civilian resistance groups to prevent the junta from governing the country. These local offices are the primary elements of the government administrative system in Myanmar. Junta-appointed ward and village administrators and informants have also been stabbed to death or shot dead for collaborating with the regime.

In response, the junta has tightened security checks on roads and stepped up its raids on villages.

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