Myanmar - Civil War

Rebel groups in Myanmar See summary

Recent articles: British Embassy calls for ‘credible investigation’ into teachers’ murder 01/24 The Associated Press: Burma government says Kachin rebels trying to scuttle peace deal 01/23 Clashes between KIO and Burma army continue after police released 01/23 Thanlwin Dam Projects Force People to Flee Their Homes 01/23 Villagers mourn killed Kachin women 01/23 Mizzima News: NGO raps Myanmar govt as more child soldiers are released   01/23 The Irrawaddy: Jade mining to continue despite conflict, ministry says — Kyaw Hsu Mon   01/23 Agence France Presse: Myanmar President’s Office vows probe into teacher deaths   01/23 Alleged Army Rape and Murder of 2 Kachin Teachers Fuels Anger 01/22 Burma Army Blocks Access to Trapped Villagers in Kachin State's Hpakant 01/22 Mizzima News: Negotiators say Myanmar’s Union Day peace deal unlikely — Phanida   01/22 Democratic Voice of Burma: AWOL Chinese traders leave farmers out of pocket   01/22 Agence France Presse: US urges investigation over double rape-murder   01/22 Burma Campaign UK Accuse Burma Army of Raping and Killing Kachin Teachers 01/22 Myanmar says Kachin rebels trying to scuttle peace deal 01/22 US calls for probe into Myanmar teacher deaths 01/22 Democratic Voice of Burma: Kachin IDP aid blocked by Burmese army — Naw Noreen 01/22 Myanmar government accuses Kachin rebels of trying to derail peace process, as tension soars 01/22 State PM Represents Villagers in Artillery Training Row 01/21 Decreased Fighting, Increased Tension: RCSS/SSA 01/21 The Irrawaddy: No ceasefire without more talks: Ethnic leaders — Nyein Nyein   01/21 Alleged army rape and murder of 2 Kachin teachers fuels anger 01/21 No Chinese stranded in northern Myanmar conflicts: spokeswoman 01/21 The Irrawaddy: Probe ongoing, autopsy results pending in murder of Kachin teachers — Lawi Weng & Nang Seng Nom   01/21 Activists call for investigation, while Baptist Church calls for prayer over alleged murder, rape 01/21 Negotiators say Myanmar’s Union Day peace deal unlikely 01/21 Reports on Chinese nationals trapped in Myanmar "not true": spokeswoman 01/20 Farmers Protesting Land Grabs Prosecuted for Trespass 01/20 China denies hundreds of Chinese nationals trapped in Myanmar 01/20 KIA releases abducted Myanmar police officers 01/20 Fighting Resumes between KIO and Burma Army in Kachin and Shan States 01/20 The Irrawaddy: KIA frees hostages, displaced civilians still out of reach — Saw Yan Naing   01/20 Mizzima News: Thailand seeks Myanmar, China help in drug war 01/20 Burma army blocks access to trapped villagers in Kachin state's Hpakant 01/20 China asks Myanmar to protect nationals' safety: FM spokesman 01/19 Hundreds of Chinese Citizens Trapped in Myanmar Amid Intense Fighting 01/19 Hundreds of Chinese reported trapped as rebels battle government in north Myanmar: report 01/19 Hundreds of Chinese nationals trapped in north Myanmar: report 01/19 Hundreds of Chinese 'trapped by fighting' in Myanmar 01/19 Myanmar peace process in rebel hands: army chief 01/19 Hundreds of Chinese trapped by fighting in eastern Myanmar 01/19 Thailand seeks Myanmar, China help in drug war 01/19 Several Chinese caught in deadly Myanmar crossfire 01/18 Hundreds of Chinese trapped by fighting in eastern Myanmar 01/18 Residents trapped in villages as fighting flares between Myanmar troops, Kachin rebels 01/17 1,000 villagers trapped by fighting in eastern Myanmar 01/17 Mizzima News: Critics claim UK government puts Myanmar trade over human rights   01/16 The Myanmar Times: Kayah parties form election alliance — Lun Min Mang     01/16 The Irrawaddy: Refugees on Thai border to undergo verification process — Saw Yan Naing 01/16 Mizzima News: Bombs and firefights in Kachin’s Hpakant township — Wai Mar Theint 01/16 Mizzima News: Clashes leave a thousand civilians stranded in Kachin State — Phanida, Min Min   01/16 Fighting resumes between KIO and Burma Army in Kachin and Shan states 01/16 Hundreds flee new fighting in Myanmar's north 01/16 The Irrawaddy: Four Injured in Hpakant police station bombing — Kyaw Kha   01/16 The Irrawaddy: Ethnic affairs ministers defend seat at negotiating table after Suu Kyi remarks — Nobel Zaw   01/15 Eleven Media: SNLD: Many Chinese hold Myanmar national registration cards 01/15 Mizzima News: Hundreds flee fresh clashes in Kachin state, says activist – Agence France Presse   01/15 Mizzima News: Myanmar’s military and KIA exchange brief gunfire — Phanida 01/14 Democratic Voice of Burma: Army major finally appears for Brang Shawng trial — Ko Htwe 01/14 Mizzima News: Rakhine National Party says it will break off relations with UN — Kay Zue 01/14 MYANMAR: Going After The Right People 01/14 Democratic Voice of Burma: NMSP accused of extortion in highway scheme — Nang Mya Nadi   01/14 Standard Village Being Built for Karenni IDPs 01/13 Mizzima News: UN envoy briefly meets with civic groups in Shan State –Kay Zue 01/13 Tanitharyi Villagers Meet with Companies and Authorities to Discuss Problems Caused by Coal Mining 01/13 Democratic Voice of Burma: Taunggyi wedding party sentenced on terrorism charges — Aye Nai 01/13 The Irrawaddy: After meeting of 48, Suu Kyi urges narrowed dialogue — May Sitt Paing 01/13 President’s spokesman defends ‘unfocused’ 48-leader meeting 01/13 Myanmar president meets political forces on nationwide peace, development 01/12 Mizzima News: Meeting set to tackle Letpadaung mine problem — Yu Wai   01/12 Mizzima News: Generational change in the hluttaw — Nicholas Farrelly   01/12 Mizzima News: Child dies as snow blankets Kachin refugee border camps: NGO — Phanida   01/12 UN envoy briefly meets with civic groups in Shan State 01/12 US-Myanmar human rights meet will include look at Kachin State 01/10 100 foreigners held in Kachin State for illegal logging 01/09 The Irrawaddy: Finland defends controversial aid project in Karenni State — Seamus Martov   01/09 Mizzima News: NGO claims army murdered villager in Shan State   01/08 Man Faces Prison after Accusing Military of Killing His Daughter 01/07 KIO Delay New Year Celebrations Due to Security Concerns 01/07 Myanmar arrests more than 100 foreigners for illegal logging 01/06 The Irrawaddy: Wa rebels defy government order, reopen drug-linked trade hub in Shan State — Saw Yan Naing   01/06 Landmines Still in Six Mon Townships 01/06 The Irrawaddy: Low turnout, local opposition marks first Manau festival since renewed fighting — Lawi Weng   01/06 Mizzima News: Peace deal date not set yet: Union Minister — Maung Thindone   01/06 Citing security concerns KIO delays New Year celebrations 01/06 Over 100 foreigners arrested for illegal logging in Myanmar 01/06 Democratic Voice of Burma: Karen border guards make largest drug bust of 2014   01/06 Burma Army Seizes KIO Post in Hpakant 01/05 Peace deal date not set yet: Union Minister 01/05 Burma Army Attack Kills 2 KIA Soldiers 01/05 The Irrawaddy: President meets with ethnic armed groups, hopes for quick ceasefire accord — Nein Nein 01/05 Ethnic groups mull proposed Feb 12 signing of ceasefire agreement 01/05 Rights Groups Urge Army to Drop Suit against Grieving Kachin Father 01/05 Thousands Celebrate Karen New Year and DKBA Day 01/05 The Irrawaddy: ABSDF meets government peace negotiators ahead of presidential dialogue — Nyein Nyein 01/02 The Myanmar Times: Tatmadaw press club dinner party proposal — Yee Mon, Lun Min Mang   01/02 The Irrawaddy: Fire guts Kachin IDP camp on Chinese border –Yen Snaing & Nang Seng Nom   01/02 Turkey captures over 12,800 migrants on Aegean Sea in 2014 01/01 Tribal guerrillas’ attacks kill dozens in Northeast India 12/31 Burma army seizes KIO post in Hpakant 12/30


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.