Myanmar - Civil War

Rebel groups in Myanmar See summary

Recent articles: Lahu report exposes militia’s involvement in the drug trade in eastern Shan State 10/28 Exclusive: Rohingya women say Myanmar soldiers raped them amid crackdown on militants 10/28 Myanmar Times: No back-up plan for Karenni refugees in Thai border camp as funds dry up – Carole Oudot & Matthieu Baudey 10/27 Democratic Voice of Burma: NLD readies for 2017 by-elections – Naw Noreen 10/27 Myanmar Times: Report suggests first steps in justice provision in ethnic armed areas – Shoon Naing 10/27 Democratic Voice of Burma: SSA-N reports shelling, shooting of civilian – Nang Mya Nadi 10/27 UN calls for probe into attacks on Myanmar's Rohingya 10/25 Displaced beginning to return to Maungdaw 10/25 Myanmar army forces hundreds of Rohingya from homes 10/24 Myanmar Times: Women’s groups demand gender quota in future peace talks – Thu Thu Aung 10/24 Myanmar Times: Calls grow for humanitarian access to troubled northern Rakhine State – Andrew Kaspar 10/24 The Irrawaddy: Tensions rise as UWSA refuses to abandon Mongla posts – Lawi Weng & Nan Lwin Hnin Pwint 10/24 Democratic Voice of Burma: Activists- Death toll in Arakan higher than reported – Wa Lone & Simon Lewis 10/24 Karen Information Center: Karen and Mon armed groups leaders agree on measures to try to prevent future conflicts 10/24 Myanmar army forces about 2,000 Rohingyas from homes 10/24 Residents say civilians among dead in Myanmar army lockdown 10/22 Myanmar gov’t making efforts to pave way for non-signatory armed groups to sign ceasefire accord 10/22 Democratic Voice of Burma: Rights group urges demilitarisation of former conflict zones – Libby Hogan 10/21 Myanmar Times: Charter change lies at the heart of the peace process stalemate – Lun Min Mang 10/21 The Irrawaddy: Government to accelerate political dialogue – Saw Yan Naing 10/21 Karen Information Center: Refugees from Mae Tha Wor facing difficulties – Ka Saw Wah 10/21 Anadolu Agency: Myanmar urged to lift restrictions on aid to Rakhine – Kyaw Ye Lynn 10/20 The Irrawaddy: DKBA splinter group clashes with Burma Army, casualties reported – Saw Yan Naing 10/20 Myanmar Times: UEC lays out official by-election schedule – Shoon Naing 10/20 Pakistan links to Rohingya militants ‘deep-rooted’ 10/19 NGOs unable to get aid to residents in Maungdaw 10/19 Suu Kyi says Myanmar struggling to establish democracy 10/19 Suu Kyi acknowledges Myanmar is still struggling to establish democracy after half-century of junta rule 10/19 India, Myanmar to closely coordinate on border security 10/19 Myanmar Times: Four days of clashes reported near Kyaukme – Thu Thu Aung 10/18 Myanmar Times: UNA adds members, calls for end to Tatmadaw offensives in ethnic areas – Thu Thu Aung 10/18 Military lockdown cuts off U.N. aid to strife-hit Myanmar region 10/18 Dozens Dead After Attacks in Rakhine State in Myanmar 10/18 KIO Says Army Offensives Undermine Peace Process 10/18 Myanmar Times: Death toll rises, more arrests made in troubled northern Rakhine State – Nyan Lynn Aung 10/17 Three attackers killed in Myanmar as violence persists 10/17 Network Media Group: UNFC plan for peace meeting with Burmese government 10/17 Democratic Voice of Burma: Maungdaw prisoners treated lawfully, says minister 10/17 Reuters: Myanmar fires border police chief over deadly insurgent attacks – Aung Hla Tun 10/17 Karen Information Center: Local governance needs more share of the power for ethnic education to have equality 10/17 The Nation: Myanmar playing with fire on Rohingya issue 10/16 Shan group sends condolences 10/15 Burma sanctions lifted amid ethnic cleansing 10/15 Rohingya Muslims flee Myanmar army assault 10/14 The Irrawaddy: Will the first group of refugee returns take place this month? – Saw Yan Naing 10/14 Mizzima: Terrified residents pour out of north-western Myanmar as crackdown widens 10/14 Democratic Voice of Burma: Army says it has evidence of RSO role in attacks 10/14 Myanmar Times: Death toll tops 40 in Rakhine border raid aftermath as skirmishes continue – Nyan Lynn Aung 10/14 Kaladan Press: Kill, arrest, arson, rape and loot on Rohingya in Maungdaw 10/14 Myanmar expert Professor Des Ball dies 10/14 Terrified residents pour out of northern Myanmar as crackdown widens 10/14 Nikkei Asian Review: Reality bites for Aung San Suu Kyi amid surging violence – Richard Horsey 10/14 Myanmar Times: Jade curse tests post-sanctions Myanmar – Chan Mya Htwe 10/14 Mizzima: 49 detained in Kachin State under Unlawful Associations Act 10/14 The Irrawaddy: Security tightened on border with southern Arakan State – Salai Thant Zin 10/13 The Irrawaddy: UNFC to meet government in Naypyidaw on Saturday – Nyein Nyein 10/13 The Irrawaddy: Police file charges against Kachin protest leader – Lawi Weng & Saw Yan Naing 10/13 Democratic Voice of Burma: Civil servants evacuated from Arakan town by helicopter 10/13 Mizzima: Ending conflict in Myanmar – Joe Kumbun 10/13 Mizzima: The beating of war drums in Wa State – Raymond Pagnucco 10/13 'Four soldiers dead' in Myanmar clashes 10/12 The beating of war drums in Wa State 10/12 The Irrawaddy: By-elections to be held on April 1, 18 seats up for grabs – Nyein Nyein 10/12 The Irrawaddy: Burma’s misguided peace process needs a fresh start – Bertil Lintner 10/12 The Irrawaddy: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi responds to Arakan State attacks – Htet Naing Zaw 10/12 Four dead as Myanmar hunts culprits behind border raids: police 10/11 Mon News Agency: UNFC- Without meaningful political dialogue conflict will continue – Aik Sai 10/11 The Irrawaddy: UK Parliament Speaker calls for blocks on humanitarian aid to be lifted – Lawi Weng 10/11 Frontier Myanmar: Party politics and the Rakhine State commission – Sithu Aung Myint 10/11 Myanmar says four soldiers killed by insurgents in Muslim-majority region 10/11 On society’s fringes, disabled Myanmar veterans languish in poverty 10/11 Attack kills Myanmar police on Bangladesh border 10/10 The New York Times: Dozens believed killed as violence erupts in Myanmar – Wai Moe 10/10 Myanmar Times: Red Shan rally for an ethnic state – Khin Su Wai 10/10 Myanmar says nine police killed by insurgents on Bangladesh border 10/09 Is the peace process beginning to collapse? 10/08 Why are the guns not silent? - Conflict in Kachin State continues despite peace bid 10/08 Obama lifts trade sanctions on Myanmar 10/07 Reuters: Myanmar’s strongest ethnic armed group says drug label ‘not fair’ – Yimou Lee & Shwe Saw Myint 10/07 Myanmar’s strongest ethnic armed group slams ‘drug empire’ label by US 10/07 Protests continue in Myitkyina over Kachin State fighting 10/07 The Irrawaddy: What’s next in Mongla and Wa tensions? – Kyaw Kha 10/07 S Sudan, others with child soldiers get US waiver on aid 10/07 Myanmar Times: ANP’s congress to be held in early 2017 – Yi Ywal Myint 10/07 The Irrawaddy: KIO- Burma Army launched air strikes – Kyaw Kha 10/07 Myanmar Times: MPs to send letter to government urging end to conflicts – Pyae Thet Phyo 10/07 Democratic Voice of Burma: Refugee groups slam proposed Canadian-Burmese military deal – Seamus Martov 10/07 The Irrawaddy: Forty-two companies vie for five new MRTV channels – Kyaw Hsu Mon 10/06 Senior figures in US, Myanmar military meet in Nay Pyi Taw 10/06 The Irrawaddy: Ethnic armed group leaders meet US delegation – Lawi Weng 10/05 Myanmar Times: Homecoming brings new cast of problems for Tanintharyi IDPs – Su Phyo Win 10/04 Democratic Voice of Burma: Shans claim Burma army attacked drug rehab centre – Nang Mya Nadi 10/04 The Irrawaddy: Burma Army clashes with nationwide ceasefire signatory group in Shan State – Kyaw Kha 10/04 Myanmar repeals emergency law used for decades to silence activists 10/04 KNO calls on UN to investigate ‘crimes against humanity’ 10/04 New Fighting, Displacement Show Limits of Myanmar Peace Process 10/03 Democratic Voice of Burma: Wa forces reportedly move in on Mongla Army positions 10/03 The Irrawaddy: Thousands of Kachin locals call on Burma Army to stop assaults – Nang Lwin Hnin Pwint 10/03 Frontier Myanmar: The sunset of a notorious warlord – Sithu Aung Myint 10/02 US Narrowly Misses Refugee Limit for 2016 10/02


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.