Freedom Memoirs – Day 136

Following up the situations in Kinma village of Pauk Township in Magway Region, two elderlies were killed in the fire set ablaze by junta’s soldiers last night. Elderlies and sick people were left in the villages when the abled men and women fled from their homes due to the arrival of the regime’s forces. This morning, we woke up to photographic evidences of ruins from the fire, destroying majority of the houses, food supplies and killing livestock. One witness said that policemen came to the village and set fire to houses three hours after the clashes between local resistance group and the regime’s forces in which 15 junta’s soldiers were killed. Among 240 houses in Kinma village, about 30 houses were left and the rest were burned down in the fire. About 1000 villagers are also in hiding, and four villagers are missing. 

In Kutkai township of Northern Shan State, fighting between the Three Brotherhood Alliance and the regime’s army intensified last night and this morning, resulting in 150 villagers having to flee from their homes. According to a local from Kutkai township, there are 12 camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the township, and the number of IDPs taking refuge at these camps is increasing. In another part of Northern Shan State, the regime’s forces launched four artillery attacks at Theinni town around 8am today. The attacks were launched around the busiest time of the day for travellers and vendors. Fighting continuously broke out between the junta’s forces and ethnic armed groups near Theinni township in the past few days. So locals are worried for potential clashes inside the small town since they are not new to them. In October 2019, Theinni town saw clashes between the Myanmar military and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), leaving houses in ruins and injuring civilians. 

Today, Shwe Phee Myay news agency reported that two women who went into the woods to find mushrooms were raped by the military council’s soldiers on June 14 in Man Ton township, Northern Shan State. The young women were 20 years old and 26 years old, and they are now kept in a safe place. The perpetrator(s) is/are yet to be identified for the time being. Local women no longer feel safe in their own homes now. 

In Wakhema township of Ayeyarwaddy Region, DVB news reported that the military council has been recruiting villagers to form the people’s militia (Pyithu-sit). According to a local source, an announcement for the recruitment was made on June 14 among the villages, and on June 15, township administrator visited the villages and collected the lists of 20 young men between the age of 18 to 35. The source continued that although local youths did not enlist themselves, the administrators randomly picked the recruits. Those who in the list will be provided one week training and tasked to protect their townships and villages. 

In Karen National Union (KNU)’s headquarters, four different armed groups in Kayin State held a meeting yesterday to avoid further clashes among the groups in the future. The two-day meeting was attended by KNU’s armed wing Karen National Liberation Army, Kayin State Border Guard Forces (BGF), Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), and Peace Council (KNU/KNLA-PC). Among the four groups, clashes broke out between KNU’s Brigade 5 and BGF in May since the BGF fought along the regime’s military. KNU/KNLA-PC also attended the peace process meeting held by the junta in the past months. In his interview with Sound of ThuMweh, a YouTube channel run by Karen youths, Vice Commander-in-Chief of KNU Lt. Gen Baw Kyaw Heh, who did not attend the meeting, said, “We don’t waste time. We have done many talks. Now it is time to show action”.

Anonymous attacks against junta’s administration staff continued. This morning in Yangon, deputy township education officer of Kyauntan Township U Aye Tun was shot dead by an anonymous gunman. In another part of the city, a ward administrator from Hlaing Tharyar township was also shot in close range and died instantly. In Taze township of Sagaing Region, a former village administrator was killed this morning. According to a local source, the former administrator had been serving as an informant to the military council. In Three Pagoda townships at Thai-Myanmar border, a man who was close with Border Guard Forces was shot dead this afternoon. One local said that the man rammed into a striking motorbike with a car to help the junta’s forces when they cracked down a protest march. 

Bomb blasts also took place in Yangon last night. Electricity Supply Office of Thanlyin township, ward administration offices in South Dagon and Insein townships saw explosions between 7pm to 8pm. In Insein incident, the ward administrator and a clerk were injured from the attack. But no injuries were reported from other two incidents.

Anti-coup, anti-regime protests are still visible in the streets of Myanmar, and in some areas, the protest movements get stronger even. Guerrilla protests, marching strikes, sit-in protests were seen in many part of the country today. No matter now badly the junta wants to restore normalcy, the ongoing protests are proofs that nothing is normal since Min Aung Hlaing staged an illegal coup on February 1. 

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