Myanmar junta rallies support to defend capital as resistance gets closer

A team of junta officials led by Naypyitaw Council member Colonel Min Naung gave food supplies, issued citizenship ID, and provided healthcare services in villages in Naypyitaw’s Pyinmana Township on Monday and Tuesday.

A resident of Pyinmana described the dire warning officials gave to residents of the township.

“They said PDFs would come and attack us anytime. They threatened young people [that PDFs would attack them]. Their main intention was to rally our support,” she told The Irrawaddy. “They gave donations the following day… [and] alerted us so that they can get information in advance if something is going to happen,” the source added.

The junta’s media had a different story. It said the team of officials aimed to facilitate regional stability, security, the rule of law, education, health and development in the area.

Residents of the villages visited by junta officials include retired military personnel and their families. In Myemyo Village, the team provided cash, top-up cards for phones, and food supplies to local militias.

Warning about the risk of attacks by People’s Defense Force (PDFs), junta officials called for “solidarity between the government, military and people against the danger of saboteurs” using the word that previously referred solely to ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) fighting for self-determination. It now applies to both EAOs and resistance groups collectively known as PDFs.

In Gamonetaung Village, junta officials called on residents to cooperate with the regime for regional development and stability, and fight threats from “saboteurs.”

The campaign to solicit support from civilians in Naypyitaw started after the regime admitted at a press conference on August 22 that resistance attacks had occurred in the capital.

Bomb attacks, and surprise raids on police stations and security checkpoints are not unusual in Napyitaw. But the regime was forced to bring in air support when it attempted to retake a hill-top outpost in Pyinmana Township from resistance forces earlier this month. The outpost is only about 70 kilometers from the center of Naypyitaw.

It also lost weapons during a resistance attack on a junta outpost near Pyinmana Town recently as resistance forces increasingly target the capital.

More than two-and-a-half years since coup, the regime still cannot control the country while fighting against a widespread anti-regime resistance movement by PDFs and EAOs nationwide. Martial law is still in effect in more than 40 townships in Yangon, Mandalay, Sagaing and Magwe regions, and Chin and Kayah states.

At a National Defense and Security Council meeting on July 31, Min Aung Hlaing threatened to do whatever it takes to regain control of territory lost to EAOs and PDFs.

Now, he is being forced to beef up security in Naypyitaw.

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