We control over half of Myanmar’s territory: NUG
Myanmar’s civilian National Unity Government (NUG) has said that its People’s Defense Forces (PDF) and allied ethnic revolutionary organizations (ERO)) have effective control of more than half the country after a year of waging a people’s defensive war against the military regime, The Irrawaddy reports.
In a speech on Wednesday marking the one-year anniversary of the declaration of a people’s defensive war against the junta, the NUG’s acting president Duwa Lashi La said that the regime has lost control of at least half the country, as the territorial dominance and military capabilities of PDFs and EROs has significantly strengthened and improved.
The acting president said that the NUG has formed over 300 PDF battalions nationwide, while other township public defense forces have been formed in 250 townships out of 330 across the country over the last year.
Public administration and judicial systems of the NUG have been established in 24 townships which are completely controlled by resistance forces. Education, health, municipal and social services have also been established by the NUG in the townships, the president said.
“Amid our territorial dominance and as our military capabilities have strengthened, the operations, territorial control and public administration of our partner EROs have significantly improved,” said Duwa Lashi La.
He added: “After one year of defensive war, the fascist terrorist military council no longer control half of the country’s territory.”
On Monday, the Special Advisory Council for Myanmar (SAC-M), an independent group of prominent former United Nations (UN) human rights experts, said that their analysis has found that the NUG and resistance organizations have effective control over 52 per cent of Myanmar’s territory.
SAC-M said also that the Myanmar military can only claim to have stable control over 17 per cent of the country, as its rule is being actively contested elsewhere.
The group noted also that the regime is unable to govern and is reduced to being an occupying military force in a diminishing amount of territory.
Meanwhile, resistance organizations including the NUG, EROs, people’s administrative bodies, the Civil Disobedience Movement and other civil institutions are administering an increasing range of government functions and delivering services to millions of people.
“The world needs to wake up to the reality that a new Myanmar is already taking shape,” said SAC-M member Yanghee Lee, the former UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar.
She added: “The NUG is not a shadow government or government in exile. It is the representative of the people’s revolution and resistance to military junta, the combined forces of which control the majority of the country.”
Since the declaration of the defensive war against the junta last September 7, PDFs and EROs have escalated their attacks targeting junta forces and regime administrations across the country, including major cities.
Over 20,150 junta soldiers have been killed and another 7,000 wounded, while 1,500 resistance fighters have died in the clashes, said Duwa Lashi La. An increasing number of regime troops are also defecting.
Amid daily attacks from PDFs and EROs, the regime has stepped up its atrocities including the arbitrary torture and killing of civilians, massacres and burning people alive, extrajudicial killings of resistance detainees, using civilians as human shields, air and artillery strikes on residential areas, looting and burning houses, and acts of sexual violence.
As of Tuesday, 2,267 people have been killed by the junta and 15,416 people including democratically-elected government leaders have been arrested or detained since last year’s coup, said the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
Acting president Duwa Lashi La said that one of the NUG’s most important tasks is to hold the regime accountable for all the war crimes it has committed.
“The terrorist group must be punished for their crimes. We will definitely deliver truth and justice,” he said.
He also urged the international community and organizations to provide the necessary technical, military, financial and humanitarian support to the Myanmar people fighting for their freedom, democracy and equal rights.
Duwa Lashi La also urged the international community to cut off military and financial support to the junta.