Freedom Memoirs – Day 156

Today media reports that eight Village Group Administrators from Kawlin Township, Sagaing Region submitted resignation a few days ago. Kawlin is the site of intense fighting between junta’s troops and local PDF these days, and while the resignation letters cited personal and health issues, locals are alleging security fears.

Myanmar Now today reports that a top Russian delegation paid a secret visit to Myanmar between 13th to 19th June. This is highly coincidental with the junta Min Aung Hlaing’s visit to Russia starting 20th June. The delegation was reportedly led by Deputy Chief of Russian Navy, Vice-Admiral Vladimir Lvovich Kasatonov and part of the team was an executive from Russian state-owned weapon exporter, Rosoboronexport, whose factories Min Aung Hlaing visited during his Russian trip. During the trip Min Aung Hlaing was quoted as saying, “Thanks to Russia, our army has become one of the strongest in the region.”

After recent clashes in Depayin where at least 30 PDF and civilians were killed, residents of 20 villages fled their homes. Now it is reported that the villagers dare not go back home despite retreat by junta’s forces yesterday. This pattern is similar to other conflict areas. The displaced people are facing multiple problems including basic essentials such as shelter, foods and healthcare. There was also a clash between regime’s soldiers and PDF (Saw) in the township of Saw from Magwe region. An early battle saw six casualties from junta side and one from the people force.

For COVID, yesterday tests showed 26.93%+ positive rate, the highest ever in Myanmar. 42 deaths were also observed as per the junta controlled Ministry of Health’s announcement. Up to 400 people have died due to the virus in Kalay township of Sagaing region. In Mawlamyine, 11 infected persons died in one morning today as a record breaker. In a related news, significant price increase in facial masks were reported in the market and business community is citing a surge in demand and supply chain disruptions stemming from difficulties in liquidity and payment and tighter restrictions in border trade which are causing delays, as reasons for price surge.

The military regime is trying to raise funds by selling of government fixed-assets towards private buyers. This is a common practice by successive juntas with buyers being businesses with ties towards the influential members of the regime. Corruption is rampant in contracting and are conducted with no consideration for the due diligence nor towards the public. Myanmar Now today reports that junta announced for tendering of 22 lands/buildings and 6 warehouses in 6 states and regions. Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) and National Unity Government (NUG) had called for cutting financing sources of the junta including advising against such privatizing moves, saying NUG and subsequent democratically elected governments will not honour these agreements.

Another way of public participation against financing the junta is not paying taxes and bills, and not paying electricity bills have gained quite a strong momentum since February. Today, the junta’s electricity department is seen cutting off services to houses which do not pay the bills, in townships of Yangon. Nonetheless, people are determined not to pay electricity bills which will eventually become another revenue source of more bullets and weapons to kill us, instead consider using solar panels, generator and the good old candle lights if power cut off becomes more frequent.  

In South Dagon Township, Yangon Region, U Khin Kyaw, a ward level executive of NLD party was shot death by junta-affiliated Pyu Saw Htee vigilante group. His wife also got injured during the assassination at the house and the corpse was taken by the army. Last Friday, a similar murder was conducted in Myingyan township by another branch of Pyu Saw Htee. There is also a bomb explosion in Pakokku township this evening around 7 pm which injured at least three civilians. According to DVB TV news, the locals speculated that the bomb was set up by Pyu Saw Htee.

Today peaceful protests were observed in in Dawei, Myaing, Yay Phyu, Hpakant, Thayetchaung, Sarlingyi, Butalin, and several townships of Yangon and Mandalay.

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