The Myanmar army is taking out its wallet to try to persuade the rebels to stop fighting.
The generals in Naypyidaw want to give members of the anti-junta People’s Defense Force and other “terrorist groups” who surrender their weapons and renounce their allegiance to the resistance forces up to 7.5 million kyat (US$3,570 ), a princely sum for most people. in Burma
That’s according to an offer made Tuesday to those willing to “return to the legal fold,” as well as anyone “illegally armed for personal security reasons” who agrees to “apply for a gun license.”
It is the latest attempt by the Burmese army to defeat resistance forces, which have reported increasing success against a exhausted military two years after the generals seized control of the country in a February 2021 coup.
Faced with losses on the ground, the military has increasingly relied on air strikes to win their battles, often at devastating cost to civilians.
According to the announcement, the regime is prepared to provide 200,000 to 7.5 million kyat ($95 to $3,570) to rebel fighters who throw themselves at the mercy of a military court, depending on the type of weapon and ammunition they hand over. . authorities when they surrender.
Those who have committed murder, rape and other crimes will face legal proceedings in court, the announcement said, but “relaxes will be made in accordance with the law,” depending on the scale of the crime.
Applicants for a license to carry firearms for personal security purposes “will not be questioned” about how they obtained the weapons and ammunition and can expect to be approved, as long as they “comply with the principle of possession.”
Rebel fighters responded to the proposition with scorn.
“The board inviting PDFs back into the ‘legal fold’ is just one example of how they manipulate the law as they see fit,” said a 19-year-old from Ye-U township PDF in Sagaing region, who asked to be identified as “Nway Oo”, and said that he would not accept the offer.
“His statement is full of false intentions. As long as (the junta generals) are in power, the country will continue to suffer, so we must fight to root them out,” he said. “We will never give up, we will fight until they are brought to justice and respond to the will of the people.”
Nway Oo graduated from high school in 2020 and joined the anti-student junta Civil Disobedience Movement branch that boycotted education under the military after the coup.
In the Sagaing region, which has offered some of the strongest resistance to military rule since the seizure of power, it is “obvious that the junta’s strength on the ground is dwindling,” he said, as the number of troop patrols is declining and airstrikes are underway. the rebound
Sayar Kyaung, the head of the anti-junta Yangon UG Association, told RFA that the military has never stopped cracking down on the PDF, calling the sudden announcement “an attempt to distort the revolution.”
“The junta’s announcement is a bit funny: the rule of law in Myanmar ceased to exist once they went on a coup,” he said. “Their offer to ‘relax legal proceedings’ indicates that they are weakening.”
sign of despair
The junta’s offer is part of a genuine attempt to resolve Myanmar’s armed conflict, said Thein Tun Oo, executive director of the former military Thayninga Institute for Strategic Studies.
“(The anti-junta fighters) will not find it easy to continue on the path of armed resistance,” he said, adding that those directly involved in the fighting “understand the situation.”
“Some young people naively and impulsively joined resistance groups,” he said. “This is an opportunity for them to come back.”
But Nay Phone Latt, spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office of the shadow Government of National Unity, said the junta’s announcement showed its desperation.
“It’s pretty obvious: They’ve invited the PDFs back just because they finally realized they can’t beat them on the ground,” he said. “That is why they seem forgiving with this invitation. But we all know what (the head of the junta, Chief General Min Aung Hlaing) said earlier.”
Just a month ago, on March 27 Speech on the occasion of Armed Forces DayMin Aung Hlaing branded the NUG, PDF and ethnic armed organizations “terrorists” seeking to destroy the nation, vowing to eradicate them.
Tuesday’s announcement marks the second time the military has called on members of the PDF and other anti-junta groups to lay down their weapons and “reinstate Myanmar’s legal framework,” after an overture in June of last year.
International call for resolution
It also came as observers suggested there was no political exit ramp from the Myanmar conflict on the horizon, despite calls by state leaders, international diplomats and other Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, states, in recent weeks for an immediate cessation of violence and dialogue between all the actors.
After former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited Naypyidaw In late April, to discuss an end to the violence with junta leaders, the military shelled a hospital, said Kyaw Zaw, a spokesman for the NUG.
And when Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang was visit mid aprilthe junta dropped bombs on a civilian population, he said.
“By looking at incidents like that, you can see if they are complying with the pleas of the international community to stop the violence,” he said.
The latest call to halt hostilities came Monday from Indonesia, the current ASEAN president, after an attack over the weekend on a diplomatic convoy delivering humanitarian relief to displaced people in Myanmar. The convoy included members of the ASEAN disaster management agency and diplomats from Indonesia and Singapore.
There were no reports of injuries in the shooting, which the Myanmar military blamed on anti-junta forces. The opposition board has denied any involvement.
Attempts by the FRG to contact the junta’s Deputy Information Minister, Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun, for comment on the regime’s response to international calls for dialogue went unanswered on Wednesday.
Inclusive dialogue ‘not yet possible’
Thein Tun Oo of the Thayninga Institute for Strategic Studies told RFA that “there are still many requirements to be met before the nation’s problems can be resolved through dialogue,” though he did not provide details.
Furthermore, he suggested that the board would not be swayed by outside pressure.
“Although leaders meet and hold talks with international diplomats and act nice, in fact, Myanmar rarely follows international guidelines as a result of pressure,” he said, noting that such a tactic has never led to inclusive dialogue in the country.
Sai Kyi Zin Soe, a political analyst, told RFA that an inclusive dialogue is “not yet possible”, partly due to the unwillingness of the armed resistance to participate.
“International leaders visiting Myanmar to discuss the crisis, and after that, all stakeholders have an inclusive dialogue and come to an agreement… it is a scenario that the international community hopes for but it is impossible,” he said.
“Under the current circumstances, it can only cause controversy between the revolutionary groups on whether or not to follow the advice for a dialogue, which could create tension and lead to disputes between them.”
Translated by Myo Min Aung. Edited by Joshua Lipes and Malcolm Foster.