Freedom Memoirs – Day 114

Ongoing Cyclone Yaas in Bay of Bengal brought the rain which cooled down the heat, but thousands and thousands of people in Myanmar are displaced from their homes, taking refuge in safe places due to the clashes. The rain will only worsen the living situation of increasing IDPs. 

In Kanni township, Sagaing Region, an unknown armed group attacked five navy boats in Chindwin River this morning around 8am. The boats carried weapon and food supplies, and reinforcement. Junta’s forces chased and arrested civilians from nearby villages who were hiding in the woods. In Latpansu village, another part of Kanni township, regime’s forces launched artillery attacks so the civilians had to flee to safe places. In Kayin State last night, clash broke out between Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and Border Guard Forces (BGF) in Hpapun District, killing one BGF solider. 

As we reported in previous days, the fighting in Kayah (Karenni) State has been escalating with lives lost from both sides. Even this morning around 5am, attacks were launched in three different places by junta’s forces in Demoso township, killing three civilians. The fight extended throughout the day, killing ten soldiers from the regime’s forces, two from the Karenni People Defense Force (KPDF), and injuring three from the people’s force. Two suicide bombers from the KPDF managed to destroy two armoured tanks. May they rest in peace and power. News reported that the regime’s Minister for Home Affairs Lt. General Soe Htut is currently in Loikaw, capital of Karenni state, 26 minutes drive away from Demoso township where the fights broke out. 

The junta desperately wants to restore normalcy but things never go back to the same since February 1. Guerrilla protests were staged in North Okkalar township, warning papers for junta’s informants were also distributed in Insein and Mayangone townships. Red paint protest was also organized at bus-stops in Kyimyindaung township as anti-coup protests  were staged in many other parts of the country. In Myitkyina township, locals called for the termination of infamous Myitsone damn project by China’s State Power Investment Corporation. Protesters in Muse township held protest banners specially written to show solidarity and support for Kayah State. Protests against military’s slave education were also held in many townships across central Myanmar. Things are nowhere near normal. 

Opposite to what the junta wants (or exactly what the junta wants), explosions have become a new normal for Myanmar people. Today in Yangon’s Thingangyun township, a parcel bomb exploded at a wedding reception, killing the bride and two others and injuring eight people. The bomb was assumed to be targeted at the groom who was a pro-military informant, but the tragic incident spared him. In Shwepyitha township of Yangon, Township Electricity Supply Corporation office saw an explosion despite the tightened security at government offices. Similarly, a handmade grenade blasted at Chan Aye Tharzan Township Electricity Supply Office in Mandalay today caused injuries of three civil servants and one civilian while an explosion took place in Pathein Electricity Supply Office where injuries were reported but the exact number was unknown. Last night in Myitkyina township, Kachin State, a bomb exploded at the house of Myay Myint ward administrator. So, this is the new normal we are adapting to. 

Arbitrary arrests also continued. Last night, Ko Thet Tin Aung, Art/Science Secretary of All Burma Federation of Student Unions and his friend Ko Paing Soe were abducted by junta’s soldiers on Yangon-Mandalay highway road. A man named Ko Min Min in Kale, Sagaing region was arrested yesterday, and his dead body was returned to his family this morning. Around 8pm last night, U Ja Naw, NLD member from Tanai township was abducted by the junta’s forces. And in Hpakant township,  seven young men who were taking security duty were abducted by the combined force of police and soldiers. In Mogok township of Mandalay Region, a man was beaten up and arrested by plain-clothed junta’s soldiers with private vehicles. 

On the other hand, Ko Soe Moe Hlaing, younger brother of Lt. General Than Hlaing, Deputy Minister for junta’s Ministry of Home Affairs, died at Zaungtu interrogation center yesterday. Ko Soe Moe Hlaing was a philanthropist based in Bago, founding a network to support political prisoners. The 55-year-old was arrested on May 22 with 9 other people. Active fighter for democracy, he served in the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF), an insurgent group formed by students after the 8888 Uprising. He was also imprisoned for 15 years because he joined the protest to support Nobel Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, only released in 2016. While the younger brother had a long history of standing with justice, the bigger brother submitted his allegiance to the murderous military. The two came out of the same womb, but led polar opposite lives. Ko Soe Moe Hlaing has passed but he shall be survived by millions of us.

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