As ethnic armies unite against coup, war returns to Myanmar's borderlands | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

As ethnic armies unite against coup, war returns to Myanmar's borderlands

Tracing his fingers over a “Love and Peace” tattoo inked on his forearm in a misty valley on the Thai-Myanmar border, 49-year-old former soldier Isaac said he was contemplating a return to war.

An ex-fighter with the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) he said he had spent years battling government forces in the eastern jungles before settling in northern Thailand. For decades, soldiers like him have fought for greater autonomy for minorities from a central government and army dominated by majority Bamar Buddhists.

Now, with the country in turmoil since the army overthrew elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a Feb. 1 coup, those ethnic armed groups are being drawn back into conflict with the military junta as they side with opponents of the coup, according to Reuters interviews with representatives of three such groups and the ousted civilian government.

“If all the ethnic armed groups unite, they can win,” said Isaac.

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