The NUG’s Defense Minister, Yee Mon, told the fourth session of the government’s Union Hluttaw that his ministry now had the capability to provide weapons for the People’s Defense Force.
According to the minister, the NUG can now meet the minimum demand of associated resistance groups for “factory produced weapons”.
“We would like to announce that we can meet the PDF’s requests for real weapons at this time. I would like to point out that both our technological and production capabilities to create new weapons are gaining momentum,” he said.
In an annual report released to coincide with the fourth sitting of the parallel government’s new virtual parliament on April 18, Yee Mon said his ministry had spent US$34 million to date — 85 percent of which has been used to acquire weaponry for Burma’s People’s Defense Force factions.
The group recently announced that it would provide bounties running to hundreds of thousands of dollars to soldiers who successfully capture or sabotage military vessels, vehicles, or weapons systems.
About half of Burma’s PDF groups are believed to receive financial support from the NUG’s Ministry of Defense. There are 257 PDF chapters nationwide, 101 of which have been approved by the ministry to receive assistance whilst the remainder are being vetted, Yee Mon stated during the Hluttaw session.
In a recent interview with Radio Free Asia, the minister stated that “PDF forces” were now constituted of between 50,000 to 100,000 members; an ambiguous declaration, yet one which hints at both the increasing size and preparedness of Burma’s resistance groups. If correct, one may question the immediacy of many of these fighters to the NUG, especially given the economic costs of training and supporting such a force.
“We are implementing a program to formally appoint battalion commanders, starting from comrades in existing battalions, and issuing ID numbers to each PDF member,” Ye Mon told the Union Hluttaw, noting that civil defense groups have formed in more than 250 townships.
The ministry, the minister said, had compiled a list of more than 400 urban and rural resistance groups, over 60 percent of whom are affiliated to the NUG’s Ministry of Defense.
In the same RFA interview Yee Mon had stated that five of Burma’s major EAOs were now fully cooperating with the NUG. The parallel government claimed in a statement to mark its recent anniversary that, due to affiliations with these armed groups, it now held de facto control of 45 percent of Burma’s territory.
The NUG, originally only able to support six PDF battalions, will be able to significantly expand its deliverance of military aid as the revolutionary momentum accelerates and anti-military groups establish deeper territorial control, the defense minister told the session of the Union Hluttaw.