Freedom Memoirs – Day 150

The military council’s spokesperson, Major General Zaw Min Htun, told the press yesterday that more than 2000 prisoners who have been detained since the February coup will be released today. A sea of people in front of prisons across the nation waited since early morning longing for their beloved ones to come home with them. People were packed, unable to worry about the threat of Covid-19, and outpouring rain during the monsoon. The long wait was only over at 6pm when the prisoners were gradually released, among them were five journalists including a female reporter, Kay Zon Nway, from Myanmar Now. Some celebrities, journalists, and anti-coup protesters were released but no CDM participants (striking civil servants), no CDM supporters, and no National League for Democracy (NLD) party members were released, Irrawaddy reported. Whereabouts of some senior NLD members are still unknown even after five months. 

Murders of alleged military informants have been reported more frequently. Early this morning, a suspected military informant in Peinegone ward of Insein Township, Yangon, was shot dead. Last night, an informant from Kanlaykone village, Taze township of Sagaing region was shot and died this morning. Pazundaung township saw a bomb blast at the ward administration office of Ward-9 which injured two civilians nearby. In Bago’s Thaekone township, a village administrator was shot dead by Bago Defense Force, as BDF issued an official statement of responsibility for the death. With increasing attacks on junta’s lackeys, SAC’s administrators, informants, and the junta’s security forces seem to be on guard more than before. Administrator of Kula village in Ngazon township, Myingyan district of Mandalay region, invited the regime’s soldiers to station in the village to threaten the villagers that they will be shot dead at any time. Netizens reported that some young men from the village have already been detained and tortured.

The junta’s crimes against humanities with impunity continues. Khit Thit media reported today the death of 20-year-old young man named Wai Phyo Aung, who was shot dead by the junta’s soldiers. He was shot during the argument between the junta-backed military informant U Tin Htun who grabbed the land owned by Wai Phyo Aung’s family. As the soldiers did not return the body, the family had to hold a funeral service without the body. 

The regime releases prisoners only to arrest more for no sensible reason. The regime arrested three priests from Kachin, Putao district, Nogmung (Naungmoon) township. The reason to arrest the priests from Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) was because they were holding a prayer service for peace to prevail in Myanmar; now they were charged under article 505a. 

Some researchers and human rights activists argue that the United Nations’s failure to respond adequately to Myanmar’s crisis has contributed to the regime’s perception that it can continue to act with impunity, said Christopher Gunners, the director of Myanmar Accountability Project (MAP). A report, released by an influential think tank, the New York-based International Peace Institute (IPI), also calls out the United Nations for its “woefully inadequate” response to military’s takeover, and the UN in Myanmar’s failure to respond to the unfolding humanitarian crisis, Myanmar Now reported. In fact, this UN’s inaction might have led to the junta’s delusion that “SAC is recognized as the legal government of Myanmar” by the UN and international government bodies as the junta’s Ministry of Information announced in their press today.

Yesterday, the regime issued a letter to arrest graduates of People Defence Force(PDF) training organized by ethnic armed groups such as KNU, KIA together with the National Unity Government (NUG). Taze PDF today warned the township dwellers to build bunkers, and plan in advance for emergency exits and to have food and medical supplies for 2 weeks at least. In west Myanmar, Hakha township’s Bungzung police station, Chin State, was attacked by Chin Defence Force(CDF), and 20 regime’s soldiers were killed while no casualties were reported for CDF members. Myaing-PDF in Pakokku district, Magway region was formed today adding to dozens of Myanmar’s newly formed guerrilla forces. Kalay township of Sagaing region, and Falam township of Chin State saw clashes between Chin National Defence Force (CNDF) and the regime’s forces where more than 30 junta’s soldiers died. However, four members of CNDF were also killed.

Irrawaddy News reported the NUG issued a statement that the people’s elected government will not verify and make no warranty of license for resource extraction and mining issued by the SAC. The junta attempts to every possible way to get funds through licenses has been blatant, forcing people and businesses to pay taxes through license renewal and extension. On Tuesday, a report disclosed information of the SAC’s monopoly on the profits from jade, and its exertion for the council to gain full control on the jade business. Global Witness reports that conflicts in Kachin’s jade hub, Hpakant, have enabled resource monopoly by the junta and its allies including some ethnic armed groups. Myanmar’s military council’s monopoly on resources and business have long impoverished the country. Activists and anti-coup protesters have been vocal in calling out international corporations to cut business ties and boycott the military-owned businesses and conglomerates. Swiss Banks are now under pressure to cut ties with the junta as Swiss top banks such as UBS Group AG and Credit Suisse have invested in the military’s businesses. Association Suisse-Birmanie, International Association Myanmar-Swiss have sent an open letter to the Swiss banks including launching online petitions.

150 days into the coup, protests and marches that started from the second week of February have not died out. Protest march in the north, central region, and to the south occurred today. To name a few, rallies in Hpakant of Kachin State, monk rallies and youth protests in Mandalay, march in Dawei, youth protest in Paung township, Mon State, Sagaing’s various village marches, and Yangon youth’s flash mobs in the wet market happened all today. With Covid cases recorded in high numbers with more than 1300 positive cases, people are reminding each other in protest rallies to wear masks properly.

As mentioned above, the junta’s Ministry of Information issued a laughable six-point announcement in their own press today where number-3 being the UN and international government bodies recognizing the SAC as the legal government of Myanmar. Another comical point is for foreign correspondents to stop referring to the SAC as “military council” or ”military junta” or “junta” in the news, which Mohinga Matters is now assured we will continue reporting our daily entries using exact expressions demanded by the SAC to stop.

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