MNDAA marks 20th anniversary with call for equal rights

Mar 12, 2009 (DVB), Representatives of a number of ceasefire groups attended the 20th anniversary of the formation of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army yesterday near the China-Burma border.

The MNDAA, also known as the Kokang group, split from the Burma Communist party in 1989. Its leader, Peng Jiasheng (also known as Phone Kya Shin), spoke at the ceremony, which was also attended by the Chinese consul in Mandalay.

"A nation that guarantees equal rights for all nationalities must be built," he said.

"We must solve the national problems on the table, peacefully. We oppose all uncontrolled oppression arising from conflicts caused by divisions of nationalities."

The speech, according to former BCP member and a military analyst, Aung Kyaw Zaw, sounded like a challenge to the ruling military government.

He claimed that the MNDAA indicated that they want self-administrative regions and to find solutions by means of tripartite talks.

"This was also said at the ceremony marking the Kachin Independence Army’s armed revolution; we will not hand over our arms, we won’t set up political parties," said Aung Kyaw Zaw.

"The attitude of all [ceasefire] groups is that, although they do not say openly that they don't support the current constitution, they all oppose it in attitude.

"They demand the granting of rights to ethnic groups," he said. "They are also prepared for armed clashes if necessary."

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw

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