Bamar People’s Liberation Army receives support of major rebel groups on one-year anniversary

A coalition of three major ethnic armed armed groups on Sunday declared its support for the Bamar People’s Liberation Army (BPLA), which was formed a year ago to fight against the junta. 

The Northern Alliance, made up of the Arakan Army (AA), the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), said it would help the new group achieve its political and military goals. 

The show of support came as the BPLA celebrated its one-year anniversary on Sunday. It was formed to represent the interests of the Bamar people in the struggle against the dictatorship and its founding members include the prominent poet Maung Saungkha. 

Within its first year, the group has managed to gain the trust of several ethnic armed organisations while demonstrating its abilities in combat, the Northern Alliance’s statement said.

BPLA soldiers at the group’s one-year anniversary ceremony on Sunday (BPLA)

Maung Saungkha, who is also the BPLA’s spokesperson, said the group is fighting not just for the liberation of the Bamar people but for all oppressed ethnic groups in Myanmar. 

The BPLA is among a vast array of anti-junta armed groups that have sprung up across the country since the military seized power last year.

Political analyst and former MP Pe Than said the BPLA was unique in being the only organised armed group representing the Bamar people.

“The Northern Alliance recognises the BPLA as a legitimate organisation representing the Bamar people, and they clearly understand and recognise the meaning of… Bamar people’s liberation,” he said.

“I think the BPLA is currently the only armed organisation representing Bamar people,” he added. “There are other organisations, of course, but they are all scattered and not organised. I think this will further push BPLA to unite all the People’s Defence Force movements scattered all over the country.” 

The BPLA has been fighting in southeastern Myanmar’s Hpapun district alongside the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA). The KNLA’s deputy commander-in-chief, General Saw Baw Kyaw Heh, attended the group’s anniversary ceremony on Sunday.

Several members of the AA were also in attendance, photos of the event showed. 

The underground National Unity Government’s (NUG) defence ministry also sent a letter of congratulations to the group. 

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