BANGKOK (Dispatches) – A shadow government in Myanmar seeking to reverse the February 1 coup has joined forces with a rebel group to ‘demolish’ junta rule, it said Saturday.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy government and launched a brutal crackdown on dissent.
A group of ousted lawmakers later set up a shadow “National Unity Government” which has sought to bring anti-coup dissidents together with Myanmar’s myriad ethnic rebel fighters to form a federal army to challenge the junta.
On Saturday, the rebel Chin National Front signed an agreement to “demolish the dictatorship and to implement a federal democratic system” in Myanmar, the NUG said in a statement.
They pledged “mutual recognition” and to “partner equally” the statement added, without giving further details. A CNF spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.
The group -- which represents the mainly Christian Chin minority in western Myanmar -- signed a ceasefire with the country’s military, also known as Tatmadaw, in 2015.
The underground government set up by opponents of junta also said its first group of recruits has completed training for a new defense force, releasing a video footage of them marching in uniform.
On Friday, the underground government released the video of the graduation ceremony in the name of Yee Mon, its defense minister.
“This military is established by the official civilian government,” an unidentified officer says in the video. “The People’s Defense Force must be aligned with the people and protect the people. We will fight to win this battle.”
The video footage also shows nearly 100 unarmed combatants parading on a muddy ground in the jungle while wearing new camouflage uniforms behind the flags of the new force -- red with a white star.
The development came as the junta continues to struggle in its efforts to establish order nearly four months after the coup that toppled Suu Kyi – who previously collaborated with Myanmar’s military to brutally attack and drive out of the country’s minority Rohingya Muslim population – plunging the Southeast Asian country into chaos.