Resistance forces reject junta’s call to surrender 

Leaders of anti-junta People’s Defence Force (PDF) chapters rejected a Saturday call by the Myanmar army for their groups to surrender. 

The military council’s announcement follows unprecedented nationwide armed resistance to the coup regime that attempted to seize power in February last year. Despite launching major offensives in an effort to crush opposing forces, the junta’s administration remains unable to establish control over territory governed by ethnic armed organisations or liberated by newly formed guerrilla forces. 

Despite repeatedly referring to the PDFs as “terrorists,” the military refrained from labeling them as such in the weekend statement, which suggested they could collaborate in the future. 

Naga, the leader of the Myanmar Royal Naga Army, a defence force based in Sagaing Region’s Pale Township, dismissed the call as an attempt to “distract the public from seeing the military’s losses.”

“They’re going to lose if the resistance continues,” he told Myanmar Now. “They no longer have the power to face us. The public needs to think critically now. All the military council has right now are weapons—nothing else.”

He pointed to the military’s recent rejection of peace talks with PDFs as a demonstration of their lack of sincerity.

Salai Tuan Ling Thang, a spokesperson for the Chinland Defence Force based in Kanpetlet, southern Chin State, attributed the military’s offer of surrender to the major casualties that they have allegedly suffered in battles with resistance forces. 

“We will never surrender to the military, no matter how hard or rough it gets. We will fight until the end,” he said. “Min Aung Hlaing is losing. Junta soldiers should surrender before it’s too late.”

PDF members seen during training (NUG)

Reuters reported over the weekend that US State Department senior advisor Derek Chollet said after visiting the Thai-Myanmar border that it was difficult to see “how [the military] could realistically think they can win” against the resistance and instead urged them to undertake a democratic path. 

Secretary of the civilian National Unity Government’s defence ministry Naing Htoo Aung echoed the statements of PDF leaders in rejecting the junta’s call for surrender as a distraction.

“This is their next step: pitching the public against one another through sugar-coated offers,” he said.

Mhaing, an officer in a Shwebo-based PDF in Sagaing, said that the Myanmar army is the institution that may want to consider surrender—to the people of the country. 

“They can destroy all of our belongings but they can never destroy our spirits,” he said.

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