Internal conflict in Myanmar

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Internal conflict in Myanmar
Date 4 January 1948 – present
(67 years, 9 months and 5 days)
Location Myanmar (Burma)
Status Ongoing
  • Fighting since 1948
  • Ethnic uprisings in certain states
  • Civil war in Shan and Kachin States
  • Military ends official rule
  • Numerous truces and ceasefires signed by various groups
  • Regime changes to form the Union Solidarity and Development Party
Myanmar Republic of the Union of Myanmar (since 2011)
  • Union Solidarity and Development Association flag.svg USDP
  • Myanmar Armed Forces Emblem.svg Myanmar Armed Forces

Past combatants:
Flag of Burma (1948-1974).svg Union of Myanmar (1948–1962)

Flag of Myanmar (1974-2010).svg Military governments (1962–2011)

DKBA (1994–2010)

Anti-government factions:

Karen National Union Flag.png KNU (since 1949)

DKBA (since 2010)
Myanmar National Democracy Alliance flag.svg MNDAA (since 1989)
Flag of the Shan State.svg NDAA (since 1989)
Shan State Army flag.png SSA (since 1988)

United Wa State Party flag.png UWSP (since 1988)

Kachin Independence Army flag.svg KIO (since 1961)

Flag of National League for Democracy.svg ABSDF (since 1980s)
Arakan Army (since 2009)
Flag of Jihad.svg Mujahideen

Supported by:
Flag of the Republic of China.svg Taiwan (1948–1980s)
 United States[1]
People's Republic of China China[2]

Commanders and leaders
Burma Thein Sein (since 2011) Karen National Union Flag.png Naw Zipporah Sein

Flag of Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army-2015.png Yang Mao-liang
Wa nationality flag.png Wei Hsueh-kang
Bo Nat Khann Mway (DKBA, since 2010)
Johnny and Luther Htoo (God's Army)
Twan Mrat Naing (Arakan Army)


43,000 (1951)[2]
200,000 (1989)[4]
289,000 (1995)[5]
350,000 - 450,000 (2002)[6]

Karen National Liberation Army flag.svg 6,000-7,000[7]
  • 4,000+ (1951)[2]

Myanmar National Democracy Alliance flag.svg 1,500-2,000 (1998)[8]
SSA-S.svg 6,000-7,000[7]
United Wa State Army flag.png 30,000[source?]
Kachin Independence Army flag.svg 8,000[9]
Karenni Army: 800-1,500[7]
Arakan Army: 400-600[10]
Communist Party of Burma flag (1946-1969).png 6,000 (1951)[2]
Flag of the Republic of China.svg 14,000 (1949)
Unknown numbers of various other factions Total:
60,000-70,000 (1988)[11]
50,000 (1998)[12] 15,000 (2002)[13]

Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown
  • Kachin Independence Army flag.svg 700+ killed (June 2011 – September 2012)[14]
210,000 killed in total (2006)[15]

600,000-1,000,000 displaced (2002)[16]

The internal conflict in Myanmar (also known as Burma) is one of the world's longest civil wars, and began shortly after it became independent from the United Kingdom in 1948. The Government of Myanmar has fought different rebel forces from various ethnic minority groups. The cause of the conflict is the government's refusal to give minority groups the amount of political power that they want, and a feeling that minority rights are not respected by the government. Since the beginning of the conflict, hundreds of thousands of civilians in Myanmar have been killed in the wars and millions have become refugees.

In January 2013, British and European politicians called on Myanmar to stop its military offensive in the mostly Christian Kachin State.[17]

References[change | change source]

  1. Richard Michael Gibson (2011). The Secret Army: Chiang Kai-shek and the Drug Warlords of the Golden Triangle. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 85–90. ISBN 978-0-470-83018-5 .
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Richard, p. 88
  3. International Institute for Strategic Studies; Hackett, James (ed.) (2010). The Military Balance 2010. London: Routledge, pp. 420-421. ISBN 1-85743-557-5.
  4. Heppner & Becker, 2002: 18
  5. Heppner & Becker, 2002: 18-19
  6. Heppner & Becker, 2002: 19
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Burma center for Ethnic Studies, Jan. 2012, "Briefing Paper No. 1"
  8. Rotberg, Robert (1998). Burma: prospects for a democratic future. Brookings Institution Press. p. 169.
  9. AP, 4 May 2012, Myanmar state media report battles between government troops, Kachin rebels killed 31
  10. Far From Home, Arakan Rebels Fight on Kachin Frontline, Irrawaddy, 28 December 2012,
  11. Pavković, 2011: 476
  12. Bertil Lintner (1999). Burma in revolt: opium and insurgency since 1948. Bangkok: Silkworm Press. ISBN 978-974-7100-78-5.
  13. Myanmar: Armed forces. Encyclopedia of the Nations.
  14. Time for Thein Sein to come clean about Burmese losses in Kachin state, Kachin News, 22 September 2012 By Edward Chung Ho,
  15. "De re militari: muertos en Guerras, Dictaduras y Genocidios". Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  16. Janie Hampton (2012). Internally Displaced People: A Global Survey. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-136-54705-8.
  17. Barnabas Fund