Freedom Memoirs – Day 132

With clashes between the regime’s forces and several militant groups/ethnic armed groups erupting across the county, Myanmar saw a sharp increase in the numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs). UNHCR reports that in the southeastern part of the country, in Kayah (Karenni) and southern Shan States, an estimated number of 151,000 people including children have been displaced. In Kayah State, more than 100,000 have been fleeing from homes, especially civilians from Demoso, Hpruso and Loikaw townships. In Southern Shan, people fled from Pekhon and Hsiseng townships. In Kachin State, an additional 10,000 have been displaced by an upsurge in fighting that took place after the coup in addition to 94,000 people who remained displaced. Again, since the coup staged on February 1, southern Myanmar saw over 47,300 people displaced in Karen State, with a further 3,900 in parts of Mon and Bago Region. Thousands in central Myanmar fled to nearby farms due to crackdowns. Still in relatively what is now peaceful Rakhine, 124,000 IDPs need humanitarian aid.

In addition to the regime’s attacks on the civilians, southern Shan State has been in unrest due to the clashes between several ethnic armed groups. Many civilians have also been displaced due to the fight between Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army-North (SSPP/SSA) with its alliance Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA). According to Shan State based local news agency, Shwe Phee Myay News Agency, RCSS/SSA has been forcibly recruiting soldiers from Nar Khan village tract of Mong Nai (Moe Ne) township since June 5. This resulted in villagers fleeing from their villages to nearby forests. If they cannot find an able man, they take away a woman or if there is no young person, they take their parents. In a similar manner, SSPP/SSA has also forcibly recruiting soldiers in a small HweHote village in Tangyan township, northern Shan State. With the coup and clashes between ethnic armed groups, IDPs in ManPyae IDP camp in Lashio township are facing food shortages and cuts in humanitarian aid.

Myanmar’s smallest state in the southeastern part of the country, Kayah State, has been brutally attacked by the junta since late May. Many civilians’ homes were destroyed in addition to Catholic Churches in Loikaw and Demoso townships.The regime’s soldiers continue to target civilians responding to humanitarian crises across the country. Today in Demoso township, a philanthropist U Shwe Aye died due to heavy artillery shelling to civilians’ areas; people who had attempted to take humanitarian aid had previously been targeted and killed. In the eastern parts of Demoso township, five civilians have been killed, and all the telecommunication services except the military-owned Mytel and electricity lines have been cut for more than 10 days according to Karenni People Defense Force (KPDF). A member of the Karenni Army, an armed wing of Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), second lieutenant Shay Yal, was killed while he was taking more than 100 IDPs to safety.

In social media, a leaked Viber audio message of the Home Affairs Minister’s wife was widely circulated. In which, the wife warns her companions to hide their junta’s ties and express concerns that they would be targeted by the anti-regime hit squads. She was also giving orders to report the page of National Unity Government (NUG)’s health minister, Dr. Zaw Wai Soe, whom she accused of being a cold-blooded mastermind of the hit squads. Recently, many pro-regime ward administrators and military-affiliated political party, Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), members have been targeted. This afternoon, the State Administrative Council(SAC) was seen giving condolence support of 5-lakh cash to remaining families of slain members of the regime in Yangon. While many explosions, and assassinations are anonymous, a pro-junta vigilante group called Pyu Saw Htee was formed in mid-May to counter-attack the movement of anti-coup squads. Their tactics aim to discredit the anti-coup squads and to incite fears among the public who were supportive of the anti-coup movement.

Save the Children Myanmar reported yesterday that more than 100 attacks have been made on schools and education facilities. They have been attacked and damaged by improvised explosives devices and hand grenades and stun grenades. These attacks were often unowned. However, Irrawaddy news reported that in a leaked letter to Pyu Saw Htee groups across the country, pro-junta leaders of the movement instructed the groups to bomb schools and spread misinformation on social media, tea shops, markets, banks and so on to claim that they were carried out by the anti-regime squads instructed by the NUG.

Speaking of NUG, Minister of Defence U Yee Mon delivered a message to the new graduates of People Defense Force Training No. 1 and Urban Guerrilla Forces Training No.7 in Brigade-5 of southern military headquarters that, “The coup means the declaration of war on the people, and the People Defense Force will win this war for the people”.

As usual, hundreds, if not thousands, of people continue to take to the streets in many areas of the country as if they are made of steel, not tired and scared even after more than 100 days of walking on the same old streets marching in the same fierceness and unity.

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