Myanmar - Civil War

Rebel groups in Myanmar See summary

Recent articles: The Irrawaddy: ‘Real Mon’ battles ‘genuine change’ in Mon State messaging – Yen Snaing 10/13 The Irrawaddy: NLD no match for formidable opponents in Arakan State – Moe Myint 10/13 Mizzima: Myanmar elections will ‘not loosen military’s grip on business’ – Gordon Brown 10/13 Myanmar Times: Tatmadaw demands Shan forces pull back – Ye Mon 10/13 Radio Free Asia: Myanmar threatens Shan rebels in bid to force accord 10/13 The Irrawaddy: Army Chief’s office issues nomenclature directive to journalists – Salai Thant Zin 10/13 South Africa: Borderline Growth - Kickstarting Development in Border Towns 10/13 Three armed ethnic groups removed from list of unlawful associations 10/13 Myanmar May Delay Next Month's Election 10/13 Myanmar cancels voting in swathes of war-torn borderlands 10/13 Myanmar rebels: Gov't threatening us to join ceasefire 10/10 RCSS/SSA will sign nationwide ceasefire despite ongoing clashes 10/10 The Irrawaddy: Villagers flee as government troops clash with KIA in Hpakant – Kyaw Kha 10/09 Myanmar Times: A fissure among ethnic armed groups – Nehginpao Kipgen 10/09 Myanmar Times: Renewed attacks cast doubt on ceasefire pledge – Ye Mon 10/09 Democratic Voice of Burma: RCSS to join peace accord – Nang Mya Nadi 10/09 The Irrawaddy: Burma’s peace process: The factional figures pushing pen to paper – Saw Yan Naing 10/09 Myanmar elections will ‘not loosen military’s grip on business’ 10/09 MPC official accuses China of interfering in ceasefire agreement 10/09 Myanmar Times: 88 Generation and NLD join forces for rally – Thu Thu Aung, Simon Widmer 10/08 Myanmar Times: Refugees watch election with interest, trepidation – Carole Oudot, Matthieu Baudey  10/08 Restoration Council of Shan State agrees to sign Ceasefire Agreement 10/08 Myanmar Times: Armed rebel troops attend SNLD campaign event — Wa Lone 10/07 Myanmar army attacks Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) 10/07 Hundreds of new species found 10/07 Vice News: Time is Running Out For Myanmar’s Ceasefire Talks — Ray Pagnucco and Jennifer Peters 10/07 Myanmar Times: Ethnic Chinese hope for an NLD victory – Yola Verbruggen   10/07 Myanmar Times: Kayin groups slam KNU over signing of ceasefire agreement — Guy Dinmore 10/07 Agence France-Presse: Buffeted by war, Myanmar ethnic groups crave peace after polls 10/07 Aung San Suu Kyi affirms she will lead Government if NLD wins 10/07 Radio Free Asia: Myanmar attacks Shan rebels after they skip cease-fire meeting 10/07 Myanmar Times: Ethnic armed groups take no responsibility for election security – Ye Mon   10/07 Democratic Voice of Burma: 15 October set for ceasefire signing   10/07 Democratic Voice of Burma: NCA talks have ‘failed miserably’, say overseas Karen — Naw Noreen 10/07 The construction of rescue camp not yet finish in Hakha 10/06 The Irrawaddy: China seeking land lease from KIA in Shan State: Sources – The Irrawaddy   10/06 No accessible voting for persons with disabilities in Kalay district 10/06 'Dracula' fish to sneezing, snub-nosed monkeys 10/06 Democratic Voice of Burma: Karen civil leaders condemn ceasefire divide – Naw Noreen 10/05 Candidates rush for ethnic affairs minister positions in Kayin State 10/05 Roots of difference 10/05 Reuters: ‘We see, we come, we conquer’- Arakan National Party 10/05 Myanmar Times: Land-grab communities hope for election savior – Nyan Lynn Aung 10/02 VIDEO: Supporters rally round Aung San Suu Kyi 10/02 Civil Society Organizations urge ethnic groups to sign NCA 10/02 Fighting in Myanmar as government hopes to sign ceasefire this month 10/02 Mizzima: Charles Bo asked not use ‘Rohingya’ in front of Pope – Jaiden Coonan 10/02 Democratic Voice of Burma: Ethnic armies end hopes for nationwide ceasefire – Aye Nai 10/02 Myanmar Times: Ceasefire process not derailed, government aides insist – Ye Mon and Guy Dinmore 10/02 Myanmar Now: Female candidates defy prejudice to contest election 10/02 Democratic Voice of Burma: Kachin militia yields to allow political campaigning – Naw Noreen 10/02 Two dead in army attack on Shan village: NGO 10/02 Independent Mon News Agency: NMSP can only observe political talks if they do not sign NCA – Wonsa Mon 10/01 Reuters: Myanmar truce talks hit snag as many groups not ready to sign – Timothy McLaughlin   10/01 Charles Bo asked not use ‘Rohingya’ in front of Pope 10/01 Myanmar Times: Kachin State warlord ordered to let opponents campaign – Ei Ei Toe Lwin and Wa Lone 10/01 The Irrawaddy: USDP eyes big wins in Burma’s rice bowl – Salai Thant Zin 10/01 Rising Rakhine party looming threat to Myanmar's Muslim minority 10/01 Democratic Voice of Burma: Armed groups split on signing of peace pact – Aye Nai   09/30 Majority of ethnic organisations divided over signing NCA 09/30 Human Rights Watch: Dispatches: Militias and electoral intimidation in Burma – David Scott Mathieson 09/30 Myanmar ceasefire talks collapse - report 09/30 Myanmar truce talks hit snag as many groups not ready to sign 09/30 Democratic Voice of Burma: Kachin militia bans election campaigning in self-administered region – Naw Noreen   09/30 Karen Information Center: Karen villagers – ‘We lost everything in Asia Highway conflict…’ 09/29 The Irrawaddy: For one Kachin woman, peace-brokering is in the blood – Nyein Nyein & Feliz Solomon 09/29 The Irrawaddy: Villagers forced to flee as Kachin State clashes continue – Lawi Weng 09/29 Shan Herald Agency for News: Injuries and death as shooting starts at Wa and Burma Army meeting – Sai Aw 09/28 Shan Herald Agency for News: Burma Army attacks and loots village in Muse Township – Sai Aw 09/28 TNLA and Myanmar Army clashes continue 09/26 The Irrawaddy: Elderly, disabled trapped amid Kachin State clashes – Nan Lwin Hnin Pwint 09/25 Myanmar Times: Sayadaw testifies for detained Muslim activists – Si Thu Lwin   09/25 The Irrawaddy: At loggerheads over inclusivity, prospects dim for pre-poll ceasefire – Lawi Weng   09/25 Political campaigning hit by floods and war 09/25 Myanmar Peace Activists Call for an End to the Country's 60-Year-Old Civil War 09/24 ‘Myanmar's economy would improve if we can increase women’s incomes’ - Cheery Zahau 09/24 Mizzima: More clashes reported in north-eastern Myanmar 09/24 Karen Information Center: Burma Army “using civilians as ‘human shields’ in Shan State…” 09/24 Independent Mon News Agency: 8 October meeting to decide NCA signing date 09/24 The Irrawaddy: Militia leader orders NLD out of Kachin State races – Nyein Nyein 09/24 Malaysia detains 8 in connection with Erawan bombing 09/23 More clashes reported in north-eastern Myanmar 09/23 Dozens disqualified from final candidate list 09/23 The Irrawaddy: Scores displaced following fighting in Kachin State’s Mansi Township – Nyein Nyein   09/22 Heavy fighting between KIO and army reported in Mansi township 09/22 Kaladan Press: Army collects levy on animals to be sacrificed at Muslim festival 09/22 The Irrawaddy: Mon voters left out of poll amid ‘security concerns’ – Yen Snaing 09/22 Mizzima: Government and ethnic armed groups prepare for signing of NCA 09/22 Myanmar Releases Final Candidate List, Dozens Disqualified 09/22 Report: Thai navy commander charged with trafficking 09/21 4 Thai military officers sought in alleged human trafficking 09/21 Myanmar Times: Pro-China factions in doubt over signing ceasefire – Lun Min Mang 09/21 Shan Herald Agency for News: Burma Army uses helicopters against Shan State Army – Sai Aw 09/21 The Irrawaddy: Government invites ethnic reps to Rangoon in push to confirm ceasefire date – Nyein Nyein 09/21 Government and ethnic armed groups prepare for signing of NCA 09/21 7 candidates for Chin affairs minister in Sagaing region 09/20 Commander-in-Chief is ready to sign the ceasefire 09/20 MYANMAR: Money Makes The Generals Go Round 09/20 Myanmar Times: Daw Suu plans ‘risky’ Rakhine trip – Ei Ei Toe Lwin 09/18 Independent Mon News Agency: Government claims no knowledge of ethnic groups they barred from peace process 09/18


Myanmar (aka Burma) has been in a state of constant civil war since independence in 1948. Powerful elements within the Burman (or Bamar) ethnic group, who constitute about 60% of the population and 40% of the land mass, have felt that they should dominate the country’s social, economic, and political realms. However, Myanmar is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world with key non-Burman ethnic groups demanding equality with the Burmans in the three public realms, specifically the protection of ethnic culture, language, and religion, the devolution of tangible executive, legislative, and judicial power to the ethnic states within a true federal union, and a democratic form of government. With their demands unmet, the ethnic groups turned to armed insurgency. Despite many political and military alliances among them, they have been unable to use these alliances to best advantage because of cultural differences and diverse agendas.

The civil war and the perceived threat of secession by ethnic states from Myanmar led in 1962 to a military coup. Since then, the military has dominated the affairs of the country seeing itself as the sole force capable of holding the country together. The military’s dictum is “one country – one army.”

The major non-Burman ethnic groups are the Arakanese, Chin, Kachin, Shan, Karenni, Karen, and Mon, all of which have their own states in which they are the dominant ethnic group. All these states have ethnic insurgent activities of varying intensities against the Myanmar military (aka Tatmadaw). The Tatmadaw has been employing a “Four Cuts” counterinsurgency strategy which attempts to deny the ethnic insurgents access to food, funding, information, and recruits. Also the Myanmar regime policies have led to the impoverishment of and human rights abuses toward the ethnic peoples leading hundreds of thousands of them to seek safety in adjacent countries – Thailand, China, India, and Bangladesh, through resettlement in other countries, and as internally displaced persons in the jungle inside Myanmar.

The following are the current most active ethnic armed groups fighting against the Myanmar regime for ethnic rights, federalism, and democracy and to stop human rights abuses against their respective ethnic groups:
Arakan (aka Rahkine) State: Arakan Liberation Army (ALA) and the Arakan Army (AA).
Chin State: Chin National Army (CNA).
Kachin State: Kachin Independence Army (KIA)
Shan State: Kachin Independence Army (KIA), United Wa State Army (UWSA), National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA Mongla), Shan State Army - South (SSA - S), Shan State Army - North (SSA - N), Wa National Army (WNA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), Lahu Democratic Front (LDF), Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF), and the Pa’O Peoples Liberation Army (PPLA).
Karenni (aka Kayah) State: Karenni Army (KnA) and the Kayan New Land Party (KNLP).
Karen (aka Kayin) State: Karen National Defense Organization/Karen National Liberation Army (KNDO/KNLA) and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA).
Mon State: Mon National Liberation Army (MNLA).

Additionally in Arakan State, the Rohingya National Army (RNA), is fighting against the regime for religious rights and the recognition of the Rohingya people as an ethnic group with special geographic areas set aside in Arakan State for them to institute Islamic laws and practice their culture as Muslims. These aspirations are a source of conflict between them and the Arakan Buddhists who consider the Rohingya as migrant Bengali Muslims with no legitimate claim to ethnicity in Myanmar.