Rise of armed civilian groups in Myanmar fuels fears of civil war

Dozens of grassroots people’s defence forces have emerged to take on brutal military

Myanmar is on the verge of a new civil war, a spokesperson for the country’s parallel government has warned, as communities increasingly take up arms to protect themselves from a relentless campaign of military violence.

Conflict has raged for decades in Myanmar’s borderlands, where myriad ethnic armed groups are fighting with the military for greater autonomy. Since February’s coup, however, dozens of new, grassroots people’s defence forces have emerged to oppose the junta, with battles occurring in areas of the country that were previously peaceful.

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