Assassinations Become Weapon of Choice for Guerrilla Groups in Myanmar

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Assassinations Become Weapon of Choice for Guerrilla Groups in Myanmar

The unity government claims that at least 14,890 regime soldiers have died in the fighting, while it has lost just 1,000 fighters. The regime refuses to discuss casualty figures. But earlier this year, the junta acknowledged that military-appointed ward administrators were being killed at a rate of more than one a day. Nearly as many have been wounded. Many were shot in their homes or offices; one resistance group claimed responsibility for gunning down a ward administrator while he was flying a kite.

“We are witnessing the people’s revolution in which everyone takes part, collectively making history,” Duwa Lashi La, the unity government’s acting president, said last month.

Zachary Abuza, a professor at the National War College in Washington, said the People’s Defense Force has done surprisingly well on the battlefield and has upgraded its arsenal by capturing weapons.

As the war in Ukraine continues to drain Moscow’s resources, he said, the Tatmadaw will find it harder to get weapons, ammunition and replacement parts from Russia, a major supplier. Unable to contain the rebel forces, the Tatmadaw has mounted continuing attacks on the civilian population, Mr. Abuza said, including torching villages and waging a relentless bombing campaign.

“The reliance on arson, indiscriminate artillery fire and air attacks is indicative of a loss of control on the ground,” he said. “The Tatmadaw is experiencing an unprecedented degree of casualties and defections. They are now having to fight and defend supply lines in places that were previously secure.”

He added, “I think we are looking at a long stalemate.”

Local resistance units are not the only ones carrying out assassinations. In recent weeks, armed groups tied to the regime have stepped up their own campaign of targeted killings. According to the National League for Democracy, which shared power with the military before the coup, at least 18 of its members and supporters have been killed by regime-sponsored groups since late April.