The United Nations has played into the military’s hands in Rakhine State, by acquiescing when the regime starved communities of aid and then restored humanitarian access to achieve its war aims.
Logging has accelerated amid the post-coup conflict, with sanctions pushing smugglers to open new routes to India, while activists and locals accuse both the military and resistance groups of profiting off the plunder.
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On Armed Forces Day, Myanmar's junta chief vowed no let up in a crackdown on opponents and said elections would be held, weeks after the military conceded it did not control enough territory to allow a vote.
Nearly two years since its formation, the National Unity Government’s acting president Duwa Lashi La speaks to Frontier about military strategy, the parallel government’s relations with China and ethnic armed groups, its achievements so far and its plans for the future.
Despite struggling to keep the lights on, the military regime has unveiled plans to electrify the nation’s transport system, with many of the initial import permits going to companies close to the generals.
Indonesia has taken a quieter and more considered approach to the crisis than previous ASEAN chairs, but while some are optimistic about a breakthrough, the shroud of secrecy has also prompted confusion and criticism.
At a makeshift camp, displaced people hack away at the red earth to build bunkers before the next junta shelling or air raid.
Conflict and poverty in the countryside is driving people into cities, where competition for too few jobs and the junta’s crackdown on labour groups is exposing many to ruthless exploitation.
Thousands fled Myanmar after the coup to India’s northeastern border state, where the local authorities and communities have offered protection and help despite a lack of central government support, but the response is under increasing strain.
With the breakdown of rule of law in Myanmar’s Dry Zone, resistance groups are taking drug enforcement into their own hands, but with limited resources and expertise, rehabilitation efforts often involve flogging and prison cells.
While students led previous uprisings against military rule, they have joined the ranks of today’s resistance war in a more supporting role, as members of an array of ideologically diverse groups – including a resurgent communist army.