6th July 2021

The National Unity Government (NUG) has released pictures of volunteers from Peoples’ Defence Forces (PDFs) in training with Southern Command. This is the 5th batch to undergo this training.

Volunteers from Peoples’ Defence Forces (PDFs) in training with Southern Command. The BFD
Volunteers from Peoples’ Defence Forces (PDFs) in training with Southern Command. The BFD
Volunteers from Peoples’ Defence Forces (PDFs) in training with Southern Command. The BFD

The NUG defence minister sent a message to the ceremony expressing his thanks to ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) for helping to train its soldiers.

This is getting serious as the numbers in training are increasing and they pass on the word and their training to their friends in the cities. If the supply of arms and materiel can be maintained from Thailand and India, then the Junta is in trouble. It won’t gain outright victory, nor be beaten, but the country will slide into an ungovernable mess.

In recent weeks, the evidence of improved training of the PDFs has been observed in action.

The most spectacular attack took place on June 18 when a parked military truck with soldiers on board was bombed in east central Yangon. The truck was parked in front of an office of the junta’s proxy political party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party. State media have yet to report on the incident.

Myanmar Now reported that PDF fighters claimed these daring assaults on military facilities were only possible because of the support and help they got from army soldiers. Major Hein Thaw Oo, a Myanmar military officer who broke ranks and joined the anti-junta Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), insisted there were many people like him who would like to join the CDM if given the chance.

Some may argue that using the tactics of assassinations and bombings to achieve political ends will put militias at risk of engaging in terrorism, but to most citizens, resorting to violence is the only option left as the international community has failed to intervene to stop the atrocities committed by the regime. This notion is shared by the NUG.

However, the International Crisis Group in a June 28 report, “Taking Aim at the Tatmadaw: The New Armed Resistance to Myanmar’s Coup”, urged the NUG to strengthen its military code of conduct.

“The NUG, even if it does not have command and control of these groups, should continue strengthening its military code of conduct, ensure that this code is widely disseminated, carry on publicly signalling the priority it gives to the document and use its influence to press all resistance elements to adhere to the provisions,” the group said in the report.

The report also pointed out that the diverse nature of the militias and communication problems present significant challenges to putting in place a unified chain of command.

On the other hand, it makes the PDFs difficult to break as they are organised in free-flowing small cells.

Confronting the new citizen militias in many different locations, especially in towns and cities, will be a major challenge for the Tatmadaw, even as it faces a renewed escalation of fighting with non-state armies along the border.

With the overwhelming support the militias are receiving from within the country and abroad, it is highly likely that they will become much stronger, better armed, and more structured. Evidence shows that the resistance force members are ready to give their lives to bring down the military dictatorship.

Source The Irrawaddy 5th July 2021.

Meanwhile, in an ominous move, the junta have stated that senior foreign executives of major telecommunications companies have been told that they are not allowed to leave Myanmar without permission.  This came in the form of a confidential order from Myanmar’s Posts and Telecommunications department (PTD). A second letter followed this telling telecom companies that they had until 5th July to implement intercept technology specified by the government. This allowed the junta to spy on calls, messages, and web traffic, and to track users.

The travel ban comes after intensified pressure from military officials to finish the implementation of the surveillance equipment. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said the ban was meant to pressure telecoms firms to finish activating the spyware technology, although the order itself does not specify a reason.

Three other telecoms sources, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said the authorities had stepped up pressure on the companies to implement the intercept, but declined to elaborate further. Two sources said companies had been warned repeatedly by junta officials not to speak publicly or to the media on the intercept.

Source CNBC July 4th, 2021.

This is a worrying move and will have an impact on all foreign staffed businesses in other sectors (except Chinese owned businesses which will be under the protection of China).

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