The official letter, dated May 18, 2021, sent by the State Level Military Council to the KNU’s Liaison office in Hpa-an accused the KNU of providing military training to the groups outlawed by the Military Council. The groups named in the letter are: the anti-coup shadow government, National Unity Government (NUG) and its affiliates. The letter accused the KNU of holding trainings in its Brigade 1, 6 and 7.
The KNU joint secretary, Pado Saw Hla Tun strongly denied the claim and said the regime may have mistaken its annual summer youth camp with military training.
“We do not provide any training, but we are running our regular Youth Summer Camp training as we normally do. Maybe they got it wrong and are confused.”
Padoh Saw Hla Tun said reports of a Burma army major who deserted and joined with the Civil Disobedience Movement is providing training to anti-coup protesters and it is likely the regime is confused and thinks that is the KNU.
“We saw in the news Major Hein Thaw Oo, who fled the Burma Army because he could not stand its actions against unarmed civilians, is providing training. Maybe the regime got it wrong and think the KNU provided it.”
According to the letter of complaint sent to the KNU liaison office, the military regime claimed information of the KNU’s involvement came from arrested activists.
The letter of complaint accused the KNU of intentionally harming the Military Council’s administration and breaking the provision in the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) of Article 25 regarding ‘regional stability and rule of law’.
Since the regime’s lethal crackdowns on pro-democracy protests after the military coup on February 1, 2021, a number of anti-regime protesters fled for their safety to areas controlled by ethnic armed groups on the Thai-Burma, China-Burma and on the India-Burma border.
The NUG government announced the formation of the People’s Defense Forces (PDF) on May 5 to fight back against the military regime and some of its members have reportedly received military training from ethnic armed organizations.