Freedom Memoirs – Day 123

Today protests against military coup were observed in Paung, Mandalay, Sarlingyi, Dawei, Myaing, Saw, Hpakant, Yangon and many more places across the country. Although many protests were deployed and dispersed before attracting attention of the junta’s forces, the protest in Yangon was cracked down and one protestor got arrested. In today’s protests, people showed solidarity across the country under the theme “Highlands, Mainland United”. 

Earlier this morning, a public hospital in Tedim Town, Chin State got bombed and its office destroyed. No casualties were reported but the photographic evidences showed destroyed office equipment and furniture. For the bombing, no culprit has been identified yet. However, attack on health has become a key weapon against dissent in junta’s arsenal with its forces repeatedly and deliberately targeting healthcare providers, facilities and transports. According to World Health Organization data on attack on health, half of all attacks on health globally occurred in Myanmar in 2021. Chin State is next to India and currently facing a surge in COVID, with these attacks on health and overall health system collapse at the aftermath of coup posing further risks in the state and across the country.

Healthcare facilities were not the only one being attacked in recent months, a number of bombings at schools were also observed these days. Today, in response to bombings of schools and accusations by junta’s propaganda machine that People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) are targeting schools, a coalition of nine PDFs active in Yangon announced that they will cause no harm to the public nor stage attack to public areas such as schools, and pledging they will follow code of conduct set by National Unity Government (NUG). This statement shared sentiments of PDF leader from Mandalay who answered as such during a media interview last week.

In a related news, NUG’s Ministry of Education denounced any forms of attack against schools, as well as continued military occupation and using public schools as military bases by the junta’s forces. State Administration Council (SAC), led by Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, has been intensifying efforts school re-opening for months and public schools were officially reopened in June 1despite the schools are ill-prepared to be reopened with occupation by soldiers, over a hundred thousand Ministry of Education staffs joining CDM, and recent COVID surge. A small fraction of students enrolled for current academic year. NUG had called for online learning and home-based learning, especially during recent COVID surge.

Two unarmed civilians in Mobye, Shan State bordering Kayah State were shot death by snipers from junta’s forces yesterday evening. Mobye has been witnessing heavy clashes between the Karenni Peoples’ Defense Force (KNDF) and junta’s forces since May 23, and have been facing wanton attack against civilians by junta’s forces. Areas nearby Loikaw and Demoso are also facing heavy artillery shelling and aerial bombings from the junta’s forces for days and today the junta’s forces have occupied Sanpya 6th Mile Village, after the villagers fled this morning due to shelling, Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) sources confirmed to local media. So far IDPs in Karenni (Kayah) State are increasing day-by-day and now counts to tens of thousands.

In Kanpetlet Township, Chin State, two local young men were arrested and tortured to death by junta’s forces. They were reportedly arrested during past few days where clashes between Chinland Defense Force (CDF) and junta’s forces are intensifying and one’s body was found today with his head chopped off. The body of another is yet to be claimed. In another part of Chin State, June 1 clash between junta’s forces and Hakha CDF saw eight deaths from the former and one death from the latter, Hakha CDF announced today. In Mindat, clash between Mindat CDF and junta’s forces saw three people death and four people injured from the latter and no casualties from the former, according to announcement from Mindat Civilian Administration.

The clash between junta’s forces and a Karen armed group led by Commander Saw Kyaw Thet (DKBA separated group) on June 1 saw 32 casualties from junta’s forces and allied Border Guard Force (BGF). Since its aftermath, 50 soldiers from the BGF deserted towards Commander Saw Kyaw Thet’s forces or to the local PDFs. Currently, junta’s forces and their BGF allies have positioned in a nearby village and IDPs stemming from the conflict now counts 700.

Battles broke out in various part of the country with increasing IDPs. We keep on resisting regardless of the danger, and the junta doesn’t seem to let go of the power anytime soon. The coming days and months are going to be rough for both sides. 

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