Freedom Memoirs – Day 153

Another eventful day of the spring revolution.

Last night around 7 pm in Myingyan township of Mandalay, an armed group of people stormed into a house, shooting the residents to death. The victims were former NLD members, U Moe Hein aged 55, who was also a high school teacher at a private school and his wife Daw Su Su Hlaing aged 45. On their way out, the group of thugs yelled “This is conducted by Pyu Saw Htee”. Pyu Saw Htee is a group of junta supporters, basically formed with one particular mission which is to harm anti-regime people. Pyu Saw Htee groups are mobilized across the country, have close ties with military council (some would say they are the same) so they obviously have access to weapons, the freedom to move around during curfew hours and the get-out-of-jail free cards. In addition to junta itself and Dalan (informants), the general public has to be very cautious when participating in various forms of protests due to the danger of Pyu Saw Htee.

Apparently, the Pyu Saw Htee from Myingyan had announced a list of 37 names who they would target for “threatening the stability of the region” a week ago and the victims’ names were included. When it is their supporter who is killed, junta’s forces immediately block the area and abduct everyone on their sight. However, last night, they casually dropped by at the murder location, picking up the bodies without even a mere investigation and arranged cremation without informing the families.

Including a battle in Kawlin township of Sagaing region which we reported yesterday, Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and People Defense Force (PDF) teamed up and attacked junta’s forces in three separate locations within 24 hours. After yesterday’s 3pm shootout, regime forces sent reinforcements to the battle zone and they were attacked on the way near the town of Htigyaint by the joint forces of KIA and PDF around 11pm last night. Htigyaint PDF announced that the encounter killed at least 20 regime’s soldiers. And again, this morning around 4am, KIA and PDF launched another ambush at junta’s forces who were planning to switch to offensive position in Katha township. There were casualties but no exact number was reported. All three attacks within 24 hours were conducted by KIA Brigade 8 and PDF hand in hand; however, KIA’s mother organization called Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) spokesperson Colonel Naw Bu said, “there was no official order to coordinate with PDF” according to Sagaing news. Regardless, it is indeed an encouraging news that a force as experienced as KIA has conducted battles together with PDF.

Less encouraging news come in from the same region of Sagain this evening that Kawlin was not the only place the fight broke out yesterday. Another one also took place in Depeyin township where four military trucks carrying at least 150 regime soldiers raided into a village called Satpyakyin, forcing the locals to flee in the morning around 6am. As they started shooting randomly and shelling artillery towards those civilians on the run, local PDF members had no choice but to defend with whatever weapons they could grab. The unmatched shootout lasted two hours in the morning and it resumed around 2 pm until 6pm. Depeyin PDF reported that they suffered up to 18 deaths and at least 10 soldiers were injured whereas junta’s side accounted for four casualties. This incident took place yesterday; however, it only made the news this afternoon as local PDF was only able to regroup today and report back.

Meanwhile, National Unity Government (NUG) is preparing for the D-Day of diplomacy as the 76th UN General Assembly is drawing near. It’s crucial that the NUG receives international recognition as soon as possible and the UN assembly is the perfect timing for it to happen. Right now, it is unclear whether it will be decided at this assembly or the next year but people in the country really wish the voting takes place already during this coming meeting. Clearly, it would be extremely unjust if junta’s representative come out as a winner yet this is a voting process and we have witnessed a number of countries acting idle or deliberately supporting junta’s actions, thus, it cannot be ruled out simply. We can only hope that NUG will have done its part by that time.

However, regardless of what international community may decide, the US is doing its part. Yesterday, the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Assets Control (OFAC) designated 22 individuals connected to the regime. Among the individuals, seven are key members of the regime and the rest are spouses and adult children of them. The names included the wives of Min Aung Hlaing and Soe Win plus popular ones among Myanmar people such as U Chit Naing, the Minister for Information, U Aung Naing Oo, the Minister for Investment and Foreign Relations and Daw Thet Thet Khine, the Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement. Once regarded as Myanmar’s one of the brightest economic minds, now he himself is sanctioned, we wonder if this is the way U Aung Naing Oo has always inspired to lead the country into a utopia.

All over the country, protests came out strong as people took to the street, wishing nothing but death and hell for the coup leader Min Aung Hlaing whose 65th birthday falls today. He was supposed to retire from his position peacefully but chose to stage a coup, so he does deserve nothing but hell. 

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