Junta spokesman Major-General Zaw Min Tun used a regime press conference on Tuesday to incite hatred between the Bamar and Kachin communities.
Some resistance forces in central Myanmar, where ethnic Bamar people comprise the majority of the population, have been trained and armed by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), a Kachin ethnic armed organization (EAO), in their fight against the regime following since the 2021 coup.
Along with a few other EAOs, the KIA has been fighting the regime while also supporting resistance forces collectively known as the People’s Defense Force (PDF). The KIA is among a number of EAOs that have also rejected the junta’s offer of peace talks.
The regime often accuses the KIA of supporting the resistance movement, and this time it attempted to stir up hatred between Kachin and Bamar people.
At the press conference, pro-junta media outlets People Media and NP News asked the junta spokesman if the regime has a plan to brand EAOs that have refused peace talks, and which support the parallel National Unity Government and PDFs, as terrorist organizations. In his reply, the junta spokesman said three times that he was staggered by the fact that Bamar people are willing to kill each other with weapons supplied by the KIA.
By “Bamar people killing each other” he means the resistance forces fighting the Myanmar military in Sagaing and Magwe regions, the Bamar-majority resistance stronghold.
“There are Bamar people who supported a KIA leader’s statement that Sagaing Region is now engulfed in flames after the KIA opened up an arsenal of its brigade closest to Sagaing Region, and that the whole of Myanmar will be thrown into unrest if all the weapons are given [to resistance forces]. Please carefully review this statement,” Zaw Min Tun told the press conference, shifting the blame to the KIA for armed conflicts in Sagaing that were triggered by the military coup.
Media agencies are required to submit their questions to the regime ahead of press conferences. Critics said the junta likely fed the question about EAOs to the two media outlets to create an opportunity to spread hate speech.
But in the eyes of the majority of Myanmar people, the fact that ethnic armed organizations are militarily helping Bamar people and attacking the regime as their common enemy shows an unprecedented level of solidarity against the Myanmar military, and that Zaw Min Tun’s incitement will have no impact on the resistance movement.
People Media and NP News are known for their racial incitement between ethnic minorities and Buddhist Bamar people, publishing false reports about PDFs killing Buddhist monks, and claiming that EAOs that arm PDFs are not Buddhist.
Nearly one hour after the press conference, General Sumlut Gun Maw, vice chair of the KIA’s political wing, the Kachin Independence Organization, posted on his Facebook page pictures of Kyaw Soe Oo from People Media and Kyaw Myo Min from NP News asking questions at the press conference, with the caption “Noted.”
Despite its lamenting of Bamar people killing each other, the regime is indiscriminate in killing its enemies.
In October last year, more than 100 ethnic Kachin people were killed when the regime carried out an air raid on a celebratory event held by the KIO in Kachin State’s Hpakant.
In Sagaing, the regime has committed massacres and deadly air raids, looting houses and torching houses and farms.