Burma’s National Unity Government Reveals Civilian Defense Force

Burma’s interim government announced the People Defense Force (PDF), established in cooperation with the Southeast Asian country’s ethnic armed organizations (EAOs).

Dr Tu Hkawng, National Unity Government’s (NUG) minister for natural resources, explained the defense force consists of youths and others “who oppose the military junta”. He said they received military training in EAO’s “liberated” areas of the country.

“Everyone must get behind this (civilian) force,” Tu Hkawng said, which is a prototype of a federal army the interim government announced plans to make soon after forming. He said that NUG’s defense minister is in charge of PDF operations and responsible for developing a military strategy for the new civilian force.

“This is people’s government…working for the people’s revolution. Everyone needs to join this revolution.”

Tu Hkawng didn’t explain which EAOs are involved in training PDF.

Since the military coup, fighting has intensified between Burma Army and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Kachin State and Karen National Union in Karen State. Members of the Northern Alliance, which KIA is also part of, are clashing with Burma Army in northern Shan State. On Monday, KIA shot down a combat helicopter assisting two jet fighters launching airstrikes on the EAO in Kachin State.

NUG was assembled by the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH). National League for Democracy lawmakers established CRPH after being ousted during the February 1 coup.

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