Freedom Memoirs – Day 160

We reported previously that there were clashes between junta’s soldiers and the joint force of Katha People Defense Force (KPDF) and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) near Katha township in Sagaing Region and Shwegu township of Kachin State; however, we were not able to verify the number of casualties due to insufficient data. Today, Sagaing People Defense Force (SPDF) shared a detailed account of what had happened during the recent days which saw nearly 200 deaths from junta side.

On July 5, at least five of regime’s soldiers were killed by two bombs planted near Myohla Village; on July 6, the allies attacked three boats carrying 100 soldiers, killing at least 60 in the process; on July 7, 30 of junta’s forces including a Tactical Operation Commander were killed by four bombs; on July 9, regime’s forces brought along reinforcements including four jets but they ended up losing 50 of their soldiers in the Myohla battle and on the same day, reinforcement trucks were attacked on the way to the battle area, resulting in 30 deaths from junta’s side. SPDF also suffered three casualties during the battles and another three were reportedly missing. Despite the unmatched weaponry, KPDF has managed to claim many victories and promised to continue fighting junta until it loses its power grip.

It is business as usual in the rest of the country. This morning around 6am, a ward administrator in the town of Bago named U Thaung Ngwe was shot dead in a local teashop by a group of unidentified men. U Thaung Ngwe was sitting with two friends, one of them was also killed and another injured. U Thaung Ngwe had been a ward administrator since the NLD government term and yet he was seen together with junta’s forces frequently during the arrests of protesters after February 1. About a month ago, his house was attacked with a bomb; however, he was not home at that time and escaped.

More explosions at electricity supply offices also continued following their ultimatum that people must either pay the bills or face power cut. Residents of Yangon’s Shwepyitha township heard a blast inside electricity supply office while people from Mandalay witnessed two explosions in the afternoon, one in Chanmyatharzi electricity supply office and another in Amarapura’s. Both incidents caused no casualties except minor property damage. A bomb blast also occurred at Yesagyo township’s electricity supply office in Magwe Region. Similarly, no casualties were reported; however, junta’s forces were seen inspecting passers and shooting blatantly on the streets following the incident.  

This evening around 5pm, a news came in from Htauk kyant township of Yangon that a shootout took place at a karaoke center near Together hotel in the neighborhood. Initial reports said that junta’s forces raided into the location as they believed PDFs were deployed in that area and more troops were seen to be moving in that direction. According to Khit Thit Media, the locals said there was one casualty but they could not verify it belonged to which side.

Although junta’s forces have been more occupied with targeting PDFs recently, they still managed to oppress the protestors. Yesterday, regime’s soldiers abducted a 68-year-old grandma and her grandson aged 13 in Launglon township of Tanintharyi as they could not find her son who had participated in the protests earlier in the day. Families fear for the woman’s life due to the old age and existing medical issues such as diabetes. However, protest continued strongly in Launglon township today and so did the rest of the country. Gemstones merchants strike and Phayargyi strike joined forces in Mandalay to march across the city while monks also protested for 152 days in a row. Similar marches were observed in Hpakant township of Kachin, Sarlingyi township of Sagaing, Paung township of Mon, Htawei township of Thanintharyi, etc.

Karen National Union (KNU) announced on July 8 that it had suspended two personnel from its army including Saw Ner Dah Mya, the Major General of Karen National Defense Organization (KNDO) due to an ongoing investigation. State Administration Council (SAC) has accused KNDO of abducting 47 construction workers and killing 25 in Myawaddy district, the territory of KNU Brigade 6 back in May 31. KNDO responded to such accusations that those 25 were in fact spies of junta who were pretending to be civilians. However, KNU has pledged to investigate the alleged killings and now suspended its high-profile major. It added that this suspension did not mean the major was guilty and it was merely a part of the investigation process.

It is too early to draw a conclusion in this case; however, we appreciate the accountability of KNU leaders here. We have witnessed multiple manslaughters conducted by junta’s forces throughout the past five months, in addition to their continuous atrocities towards ethnic people, yet we have not once heard a proper and just investigation inside their own people. How about the justice for 900 people we have lost in just five months? Who is going to be suspended for such crimes?

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