The military junta declared martial law in 37 townships, where fighting between the Burma Army and resistance forces has intensified, across Burma on Feb. 2. The martial law was imposed in two townships of Tanintharyi Region, five townships of Bago Region, Ye Township of Mon State, Kyainseikgyi and Kawkareik townships in Karen State. Also included are four townships of Karenni State, five townships of Magway Region, ten townships of Sagaing Region and seven townships in Chin State. The martial law declaration was made one day after the junta extended its state of emergency for another six months. The junta also reshuffled its military cabinet with its stated aim of achieving a ‘modern and disciplined nation’.
The military junta imposed martial law following its coup in 2021 on 11 townships in Mandalay and Yangon Regions after its violent crackdown on anti-coup protesters demanding the military release all elected MPs and allow parliament to resume. Under martial law, all power of the judiciary is transferred to the military coup leader Min Aung Hlaing and his commanders. At the National Defense and Security Council (NDSC) meeting on Jan. 31, Min Aung Hlaing said that only 198 out of 330 townships in Burma are currently “stable and peaceful.” He added that ‘the country is still in an abnormal position’ and needed to extend its state of emergency another six months according to the Article 425 of Burma’s 2008 military-drafted Constitution.