Myanmar - Civil War

Rebel groups in Myanmar See summary

Recent articles: Burma Army accused of killing 103 year old Kachin women in Kachin state 04/26 Korean woman recounts path from 14-year-old girl to WWII sex slave 04/25 Refugees From Ruined Village Say Myanmar Army Trapped Them 04/22 Myanmar: Fighting continues over New Year period 04/22 US ambassador visits Chin State 04/22 The Irrawaddy: Charter referendum ‘unlikely’ in May: Ethnic leader – Yen Snaing 04/21 The Irrawaddy: Thingyan brings no respite in Burma’s ethnic conflicts – Nyein Nyein 04/21 Myanmar Clashes Continue Despite Peace Talks 04/21 The Irrawaddy: ‘History may blame those who refuse to hold talks’ – Htet Naing Zaw 04/21 Troops ‘shoot local hunter’ in Kachin State 04/21 The Irrawaddy: Rebel summit in Wa area to discuss ceasefire, decision on accord to follow – Nyein Nyein 04/21 Democratic Voice of Burma: Government forces clash with rebels in Arakan 04/21 The Diplomat: Why the fighting in Kokang threatens peace in Myanmar – Priscilla Clapp 04/21 The Irrawaddy: Government reintroduces top civil servant post – Kyaw Hsu Mon 04/21 Agence France-Presse: 16 soldiers die in offensive near China border: report 04/21 OpEd News: Will Burma faithfully carry on its political reform? – Zin Linn 04/20 Myanmar Clashes Continue Despite Peace Talks 04/20 Bangladesh News 24: Engage proactively setting aside Rohingya issue, Myanmar activist tells Bangladesh – Nurul Islam Hasib 04/20 Democratic Voice of Burma: Reports detail fresh Kokang fighting ahead of ethnic summit 04/20 ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights: 22 April – Press Conference: ASEAN Members of Parliament to Release Report on Rohingya Crisis on Eve of ASEAN Summit 04/20 Nikkei Asian Review: How China helped along Myanmar peace – Motokazu Matsui 04/20 Myanmar government says 126 soldiers killed in fighting with Kokang rebels 04/19 '126 soldiers killed in clashes with Kokang Army' 04/19 '126 soldiers killed in clashes with Kokang army' 04/18 Shan Herald Agency for New: Fighting continues one week after signing of draft NCA 04/16 Associated Press: Myanmar says its troops make gains against ethnic rebels 04/16 Reuters: Bomb kills two police in northeast Myanmar near China border 04/16 Democratic Voice of Burma: Date set for NCCT conference, as ethnic leader calls on Thein Sein to halt aggression 04/16 The Irrawaddy: At high-level dialogue, six parties agree to more talks – The Irrawaddy 04/16 16 Myanmar soldiers die in offensive near China border: report 04/16 Eleven Myanmar: Six parties agree to amend Constitution 04/16 Al Jazeera: Myanmar’s military: Judge, jury, executioner: What’s the likelihood of Myanmar’s army disciplining itself to fulfil its obligations under international law? – David Baulk 04/15 Bomb kills two police in northeast Myanmar near China border 04/13 Myanmar's government, military leaders hold rare talks with Suu Kyi 04/10 Myanmar election talks close without resolution 04/10 The Irrawaddy: Army Chief skips 48-party talks for fleet review – Nobel Zaw 04/10 Suu Kyi attends high-level talks in Myanmar over reform course 04/10 Democratic Voice of Burma: Gun Maw interview: ‘Include all ethnic armed groups in ceasefire deal’ — DVB 04/10 Mainichi: Exclusive interview: Myanmar President Thein Sein praises shift to democracy – Takayuki Kasuga 04/10 The Irrawaddy: Fighting on 3 fronts in wake of ceasefire deal: Ethnic armies – Kyaw Kha 04/09 Agence France-Presse: Burma leader holds rare talks with opposition – Kelly MacNamara 04/09 Asean congratulates Myanmar on ceasefire agreement 04/09 Aung San Suu Kyi Welcomes Myanmar Reform Talks 04/09 The Irrawaddy: How one father’s letters to the government got him convicted – Matthew Thiman, Courtney Svoboda & Tyler Gianini 04/08 Myanmar to hold rare talks as Suu Kyi pushes for charter change 04/08 Myanmar to host rare talks as Suu Kyi pushes for change 04/08 Kachin News Group: British firm applies to search for minerals in Burmese jade areas 04/08 Myanmar Times: Myanmar refugees scour Mae Sot rubbish – Si Thu Lwin 04/07 Powerful Myanmar Militia Force Proposes Rebel Summit 04/07 British mining firm poised to enter Kachin State 04/07 War disrupts traditional tomb sweeping festival for northern Myanmar people 04/07 Myanmar Times: Report on attack against protesters submitted – Ye Mon   04/07 The Irrawaddy: Disagreements signal long road ahead for nationwide peace – Lawi Weng 04/07 Kachin News Group: UNFC decries recent wave of fighting 04/07 Radio Free Asia: Myanmar villagers turn back Chinese nationals after border encroachment 04/07 India extends army 'shoot to kill' rule in remote state claimed by China 04/07 Democratic Voice of Burma: China pressing ahead with bridge building despite land dispute, say Namhkam locals – Nang Mya Nadi 04/07 The Irrawaddy: President seeks expanded UEC to add ethnic voices – San Yamin Aung 04/06 Reuters: Business, military, government seize land for rubber in Myanmar – rights group – Alisa Tang 04/06 Democratic Voice of Burma: Four ceasefire points left to resolve, says NCCT delegate – Shwe Aung 04/06 The Irrawaddy: Suu Kyi meets Karen leader to discuss peace, politics – Nyein Nyein 04/06 The Irrawaddy: Myanmar Times cartoon prompts swift apology to military – Nobel Zaw 04/06 The Irrawaddy: Twin blasts rock Burma army compound in Lashio – Lawi Weng 04/06 China Daily: Myanmar military claims total control of Kokang region 04/06 The Irrawaddy: Fighting reported between government and Arakan army – Lawi Weng 04/06 The Irrawaddy: ‘Signing the ceasefire does not mean achieving peace’ – Aung Zaw 04/06 KIA deputy says more effort needed to secure ceasefire 04/05 British firm applies to search for minerals in Burmese jade areas 04/05 MYANMAR: China Threatens To Invade 04/04 Angry villagers turn back Chinese border incursion 04/04 American warrior extends clandestine aid to Myanmar's ethnic minorities 04/04 The Irrawaddy: Burma army launches airstrike on Kachin Base, rebel officer says – Lawi Weng & Kyaw Kha 04/03 Myanmar Times:Chin parties to unite against political ‘giants’ – Lun Min Mang   04/03 The New York Times: Myanmar’s fight with rebels creates refugees and ill will with China – Jane Perlez 04/03 Democratic Voice of Burma: Amend 59(f) and 436, say ethnic MPs – Shwe Aung 04/02 Myanmar Times: NLD to help expelled members get citizenship – Ye Mon and Lun Min 04/02 Myanmar Times: Slow steps towards ceasefire – Ei Ei Toe Lwin   04/02 The Irrawaddy: Lower house approves two ‘race and religion’ bills – Nobel Zaw 04/02 The Irrawaddy: Jade sales dwindle amid conflict and Chinese anti-graft campaign – Kyaw Hsu Mon 04/02 Myanmar draft ceasefire - Reason to be 'cautiously optimistic' 04/01 Myanmar MP speaks highly of China-advocated "Belt and Road" initiative 04/01 Myanmar government and rebels agree on ceasefire draft 04/01 US govt welcomes draft ceasefire deal 04/01 UN hails 'historic' Myanmar ceasefire 04/01 Myanmar’s peace process takes tentative step forward 03/31 Myanmar government, rebel groups sign draft cease-fire deal 03/31 Myanmar government, rebels agree on draft ceasefire 03/31 Govt and ethnic groups agree landmark draft peace deal 03/31 Myanmar government, rebel groups sign draft cease-fire deal 03/31 Myanmar government, rebels agree on draft ceasefire 03/31 Myanmar government, rebels agree draft nationwide ceasefire accord 03/31 Conference promotes Myanmar’s multilingualism 03/31 UN, Myanmar leader hail 'historic' draft ceasefire pact 03/31 UN envoy lauds ‘historic’ Myanmar ceasefire as Government, armed groups build ‘new levels of trust’ 03/31 Myanmar and ethnic rebel groups agree on draft national ceasefire agreement 03/31 UN praises proposed Myanmar ceasefire deal 03/31 UN welcomes Myanmar's historic ceasefire agreement 03/31 Draft nationwide ceasefire agreement preliminarily signed in Myanmar 03/31 Myanmar's government, rebels sign draft ceasefire deal 03/31 Myanmar negotiators issue joint statement on finalized ceasefire agreement 03/31


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.