Freedom Memoirs – Day 128

Yesterday evening, after increased engagement by China and ASEAN towards the junta which culminated with the Chinese Embassy to Myanmar addressing Senior General Min Aung Hlaing as the leader of Myanmar, National Unity Government (NUG)s Foreign Minister Daw Zin Mar Aung responded towards her Chinese counterpart Wen Yi with an open letter. The letter condemned addressing of Min Aung Hlaing as leader of Myanmar, citing his unjust and failed attempt to seize power by force, which led to mounting death toll and increasing internally displaced persons (IDPs). It also expressed concerns over ASEAN and China’s failure to engage with the NUG and warned against any attempt to legitimize Min Aung Hlaing administration. The letter ended with a stern warning that long-term regional security is at stake if the crisis is prolonged and power is not returned towards the legitimate government. This letter received strong support among Myanmar citizens which irked at Chinese Embassy addressing Min Aung Hlaing as the leader of Myanmar.

Today in a media interview, Captain Lin Htet Aung, a former military officer who has deserted Tatmataw in the aftermath of coup claims that military personnel joining CDM have now exceeded 800 and 75% of them are willing to join PDFs in order to fight back the junta. He is now supporting former comrades to follow his suit and confirms he is receiving inquiries from 50 to 60 soldiers a day. In the interview with Myanmar Now, he also claims that so far 50 families of such soldiers are still in the military servant quarters, not having any contact with the CDM soldiers. Captain Lin Htet Aung also claims that most soldiers who joined CDM are aged between 20 to 35 and the highest ranked being major. However, chances of higher ranked soldiers to join CDM is next to nothing, he commented.

In a peek to life of democratic protestors under arrest, today local media reports the case of Ko Hlyan Phyo Aung, a second year engineering student who was arrested after being heavily injured during a crackdown of peaceful protests on March 27 in Magwe. Since arrest, he was receiving treatments of his various injuries at the military hospital including amputation of the right arm, although his injured right eye is yet to receive treatment. Now the hospital has discharged him with a requirement to get an eyes operation afterwards. However, junta’s lackeys have decided to move him to prison where no such treatment is available. The family is worried that he is at risk of being permanently blind if he were to be denied treatment anymore.

Peaceful protests against military dictatorship continued in Kale, Mandalay, Yay Phyu, Dawei, Mawlaik, NyaungU, HpaKant, Amarapura, Chaung-U, Kawkareik, and many more places across the country; most of the protests were organized and dispersed successfully to avoid crackdowns and arrests, however, a number of arrests were reported today. In Hlaing Township, Yangon, the protests on the banks of Hlaing River in early morning got cracked down and four young protestors (two men, two women) got arrested. In Mandalay, Aung Pin Lal protest group got cracked down and two protestors got arrested. In Amarapura, witnesses claim that while the protest group dispersed successfully after staging a quick protest, three bystanders got arrested by the adamant police who claims they are part of the protest group. Additionally, in Chaung-U, Ko Marn Zar Myay Mon, an organizer of local protests got arrested after getting shot in his hiding place. Two men hiding together were also arrested, according to local media.

In Kayah (Karenni) State, conflict between the junta’s forces and KNDF (Karenni Nationalities Defense Force) rages on in Demoso township. In an interview with Khit Thit media, the residents claim that the junta’s forces keep on shelling towards the town and nearby villages. Additionally, the junta’s forces are reportedly burning down the buildings and setting up mines in the deserted villages as residents fled the area. Local churches also suffer damages from artillery shelling. Again in Kayah State, residents of a village bordering Shan State is fleeing as approximately 300 soldiers from junta’s force encamped in their village. Locals speculate that these soldiers are reinforcements going to Demoso. In nearby Moebye township, junta’s forces recently used four abductees, the youngest being a 17 years old boy, as human shields during clashes, local residents and family members of an escaped detained confirmed to Myanmar Now yesterday. The four were abducted after a raid on local church by junta’s forces. In the interview, the son of the man who escaped was quoted as “They beat them up. They forced a 17-year-old to wear a bag that held a bomb and threatened to shoot him if he ran away. The kid and my father were used as human shields in the front, but not the other two.” Another witness confirmed this account by saying, “The abductees were left standing in pairs with hands tied. And a teenager was forced to carry a bag with a bomb inside.”

Today, a village monastery in Depayin township, Sagaing Division got raided and suffered considerable property damage at the hand of junta’s forces. The junta’s soldiers alleged that the monastery compound is a site where local PDF members gather to train, although independent verification remains challenging at this point. The raid happens as the soldiers surrounded the village after the local PDF and junta’s forces clashed yesterday.

Junta’s Ministry of Information today dropped charges it filed towards Weekly Eleven, a local journal run by Eleven Media Group, in 2014, under USDP-regime’s time. Eleven Media Group today is widely seen as pro-military among the journalists and general populace and this move will not bring any credit towards the junta for promoting press freedom, especially during widespread oppression towards the press since staging the coup.

Much celebrated news of today took place in Tamwe township where a female ward administrator named Daw Soe Soe Lwin was shot and killed around 10 am. She was in her car when the unknown attacker shot her in the head. The woman was known as a major informant of the military since the early days of the coup and she was responsible for many arrests of young protesters in the township according to the residents. Previously, another ward administrator was killed in a similar fashion last Thursday in Thaketa township. Generally, it is tragic when people die but for those who stood on the side of the evil, it’s difficult to sympathize when they fall victim of their own medicine and the public has no choice but to rejoice.

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