Myanmar army chief vows to crush resistance in rare speech

March 27, 2023
General Min Aung Hlaing led the coup in 2021
General Min Aung Hlaing led the coup in 2021

SINGAPORE — The head of Myanmar's military government has pledged to deal decisively with what he called "acts of terror" by armed resistance groups.

Min Aung Hlaing also accused countries critical of his regime's human rights record of being terror supporters.

Since seizing power in 2021, the military has been locked in a bloody civil war against resistance groups.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands and displaced more than a million people.

But General Min Aung Hlaing, who was giving a rare speech at an annual armed services parade in the capital Naypyidaw, had an unyielding message: the Myanmar armed forces won't stop fighting those opposing their rule, whatever the cost.

The 66-year-old also noted that martial law was being increasingly imposed in "important townships" to fight "terrorists who seek to ruin the interest of people". He said that elections would be held eventually and power handed over to "the winning party", although it is unclear when this will happen, given the ongoing conflict.

The parade marks the 78th anniversary of the founding of Myanmar's national army during World War Two to fight the Japanese invasion.

But in recent years the pageantry has taken on special significance. An increasingly isolated Myanmar continues to display the military might it has been using to devastating effect against rebels, some less than 50km from the capital.

The country, however, retains the support of China and Russia, whose officials were at the parade. Russian MI35 gunships were on display, alongside Chinese K8 ground attack aircraft and FTC2000 jets recently purchased from Beijing. Many of these weapons have been used since the coup in rebel strongholds, often killing civilians and even children.

Units saluting the coup-leader at Monday's parade include many accused of unspeakable atrocities such as massacres of civilians, which have drawn international censure and sanctions.

Last Friday, the United States announced further sanctions against Myanmar, targeting the supply of jet fuel to the military following air strikes in areas populated by civilians.

Along with other Western countries, it had already launched sanctions targeting junta members, the military government's agencies, and military-run companies, seeking to curb their ability to raise money.

But in the security of their fortified citadel, Myanmar's military believes that brute force, used on an increasingly exhausted population, will eventually cement their regime. — BBC

March 27, 2023
11 hours ago

Thousands flee as floods submerge Kherson and nearby towns

14 hours ago

Brussels takes legal action against Poland for ‘challenging primacy of EU law’

15 hours ago

Sunak to raise trade issues in US talks with Biden