Freedom Memoirs – Day 148

Today, a little girl in Mogok township turns five, but she doesn’t get a chance to celebrate like other five-year-olds because she is in Mogok Prison. On June 13, the girl, her big sister and her mother were abducted by the junta’s soldiers because they could not find her father U Soe Htay. He is a protest leader in Mogok town in Mandalay Region, who is now in hiding. As recently as last night, another mother-daughter duo in Kalay, Sagaing Region was arrested because the junta’s soldiers could not find the father. The daughter is only 14 years old. Since the coup on February 1, families are separated, and children are also not spared. On June 4, Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) reported that 76 family members —  from the youngest two-year-old to the oldest 75-year-old, have been taken as hostages since the junta could not arrest the opposition forces. In addition, 72 children, with the youngest one being 18 months old, have been killed by the regime according to AAPP.

Despite the arbitrary arrests, people of Mogok organized a marching strike today. Yangon also saw guerrilla protests in North Okkalapa township, and at a market in Thaketa township, young protesters spread pamphlets which call for the people’s cooperation in taking down the junta. In Dawei township, Taninthayi Region, protesters marched on the streets, saying protest chants and holding torches in their hands. Mandalay saw marching protests from both the people and monks, and marching strikes continued in various parts of Hpakant township, Kachin State. In Three Pagoda township and Kawkareik township in Kayin State, marching protests were staged by anti-coup, anti-regime protesters. Day 148 since the military coup, people of Myanmar have not given up on their journey to federal democracy. 

Thoolei News, Karen National Union (KNU)’s Department of Information, reported today that the regime’s forces abducted 13 villagers from Sawhti township in Nyaung Lay Pin district on June 23, and forced them to serve as porters. Three of them escaped but 10 had remained as forced labours. On June 27, those 10 villagers were released near KNU controlled area in Thaton district. More than 1600 villagers from Sawhti township are worried about these random arrests by the junta according to Thoolei News.

Today in Northern Shan State, Namhkam town encountered a bomb blast in the crowd. About 1000 protesters gathered and marched to strike against Shan State Progressive Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) since the local armed group arrested a villager who later died in its custody. Disagreements occurred when the villagers asked SSPP/SSA to return the dead body last night. According to a witness, four blasts were heard near Namhkam Market while the protesters were marching. The explosions killed one protesters and injured four people. In Kalay township, Sagaing Region, even under stay-at-home order by the junta, a bomb blast near the office of General Administration Department. No injuries were reported so far. 

This afternoon, People’s Defense Force- Katha announced on its Facebook page that fighting broke out between the regime’s forces and the Katha-PDF, together with Kachin Independence Army (KIA) on June 24. According to Katha-PDF, about 30 junta’s soldiers were killed although no casualties were reported from the people’s side. In Katha Township of Sagaing Region, 19 civilians are arbitrarily arrested, and five were killed by the junta. In another part of Sagaing Region, Minkin township, Minkin PDF managed to rob weapons from two junta’s soldiers who were providing security at Township Hospital. Two members of Minkin PDF are now safe with the weapons but the junta’s forces conducted a search afterwards. In Htigyaing township, another part of the same region, Htigyaing-PDF announced that they attacked three military trucks on the evening of June 26 with the help of KIA. While 14 junta’s soldiers were killed and seven injured, there was no casualties from the people’s force. 

On the other hand, Covid-19 situation is getting worse. It is reported today that in Theinni town of Shan State, new variant of Coronavirus was found, and residents worry about a potential outbreak. The junta also imposed stay-at-home order in two more townships: Lashio and Laukai (in Kokang Self-Administration Zone) in Shan State. In Kalay Township, Sagaing Region, stay-at-home order is extended for 10 more days. In Myitkyina, Kachin State, Covid-19 suspect patients are not being tested according to the 74 Media. One patient who lost the sense of smell visited the hospital, but he was sent back home, and instructed that healthcare workers would contact later. The patient was certainly not convinced. Even with the limited testing capacity, 17.37% of the tests are found positive of Covid-19 in last night’s announcement by the regime’s Ministry of Health and Sports. Currently, Sagaing Region, Yangon Region and Shan State have the highest number of Covid cases.

Meanwhile in Naypyidaw, the detained leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who had brief legal counsel before her court hearing, asked her lawyers the situation of Covid cases in the country, and reminded the public to take extra care.

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