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The rebel armed factions threaten to take up arms and join the anti-junta protest if the bloodshed continues in Burma. Already 510 people, including many students and adolescents, have indeed died in the last two months, according to the AAPP, Association for assistance to political prisoners. </p><div> <p>If the security forces " <em>continue to kill civilians, we will collaborate with the demonstrators and we will retaliate</em> », They wrote in a joint statement signed in particular by the Army of Arakan (AA), a guerrilla which asks for more autonomy for the Arakanese Buddhist ethnic group.
Since Burma’s independence in 1948, a multitude of ethnic minorities have remained in conflict with the central government. They are demanding more autonomy, access to the country’s many natural resources or a share of the lucrative drug trade.
If these armed ethnic groups join the protest, it would be an important turning point: “ The situation is likely to turn into an all-out civil war, commented to AFP Debbie Stothard, of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). The junta does not want to give in and protesters, largely peaceful until now, are tempted to call for help from the armed factions to protect themselves. »
Air raids took place this weekend in the southeast of the country, the first strikes in 20 years, on the territory of the Karen army, a militia which claims nearly 7,000 soldiers, in the service of the autonomy of the Karen state in Burma. About 3,000 people fled the violence in an attempt to seek refuge in neighboring Thailand, but the authorities turned them back, a Karen human rights activist told AFP. New airstrikes took place on Monday, March 29.
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Source site www.rfi.fr