Home News Hardline Buddhist monks back pro-junta militias in Myanmar, says report

Hardline Buddhist monks back pro-junta militias in Myanmar, says report

A report on Radio Free Asia said the monks have even undergone weapons training clad in saffron robes

Ultranationalist Buddhist monks are reportedly supporting a pro-junta militia against prodemocracy groups in Myanmar’s Sagaing region.

A report on Radio Free Asia said the monks have even undergone weapons training clad in saffron robes.

A video reportedly went viral on social media in Myanmar purportedly showing members of the Buddgist group Ma Ba Tha on a “tour” of several pro-junta villages in Sagaing in support of forming Pyu Saw Htee militia units.

The video appears to show the monks helping train people and delivering Buddhist sermons.



In one clip, Ma Ba Tha leaders known as “sayadaws” appear to be holding guns. One monk is heard to say, “Wirathu himself visited the villages yesterday and raised the morale of residents.”

Wirathu is the outspoken leader of the ultranationalist Buddhist group Ma Ba Tha.

Sources told RFA’s Myanmar Service that the footage was filmed on Feb. 27 at the Yadanar Kan Myint Htei Monastery during a Pyu Saw Htee training camp graduation ceremony in Taze township’s Kabe village.

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They confirmed that pro-junta monks have been “carrying guns” and “taking part in some of the fighting” in the region.

An eyewitness from Taze’s Kyunle village told RFA that the Pyu Saw Htee groups were “led by Ma Ba Tha monks” and that “Wirathu is involved.”

Tayza Nanda, an abbot of the pro-democracy Spring Revolutionary Monk Network in Taze, told RFA that the Ma Ba Tha “sayadaws” are working in the region with the support of the military.

“These monks have been backed by the military from the beginning,” he said.

“What they are saying and doing now is all in line with Wirathu’s preaching and now they are taking up arms. They are [junta chief Sen. Gen.] Min Aung Hlaing’s followers who support evil.

“Real monks can’t even preach to those who carry weapons, let alone carry arms themselves,” Tayza Nanda added.

RFA could not independently confirm allegations that Wirathu is involved with the Pyu Saw Htee. Attempts by RFA to contact Wirathu went unanswered on Monday, March 14.

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