Freedom Memoirs – Day 166

Since the beginning of July, not a single day has gone by without hearing the news of our close friends and families passing away due to Covid 19. We had seen the third wave coming. Yet, due to the mismanagement of junta; the limitation of oxygen being one example, dozens of people have had to die unnecessarily. With the cries for help on social media, the white flags hanged on the apartments’ balconies requesting food and medicine and the queues in front of oxygen plants and crematoriums, the month of July has so far been the most depressing month for the people of Myanmar on ground.

As everything is directed towards a failed state, a rumour starts spreading on the social media that the coup leader Min Aung Hlaing has met with the State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and may have discussed possible “reconciliation” scenarios. The rumour ignited a debate among the circle of academics and activists since some of them fear that the lady may still have a soft spot for the military. However, many believe that this could easily be another trick of junta because it desperately wants to weaken the growing power of people defense forces (PDF) by saying, “Your leader is already negotiating with us”.  Regardless, the people of Myanmar know better than trusting that junta can be reasoned with. Table of discussion did not work in January, it will not now.  

Speaking of the strength of PDFs, a battle between PDF Kalay and junta’s forces took place yesterday in the south of Kalay township and at least 17 soldiers from junta side were reportedly killed while the people also lost four, two soldiers and two civilians. The clash began around 10 am when regime’s soldiers tried to ransack the villages in the area and PDF Kalay stepped up to protect the local people. Shootings lasted until 7pm in the evening and junta’s forces are still deployed in nearby regions; thus, PDF Kalay has warned the residents to remain vigilant.

More battle news came in from Kayah State today where the joint forces of Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) and Karenni Army (Kn.A) responded to junta’s offensives near Nanphal village of Bawlake township around 3pm. Regime’s force, estimated to bring along at least 50 soldiers, suffered casualties yet no exact number has been reported so far.  Regime’s forces have also been terrorising in villages near Minkin township of Sagaing Region since yesterday. They apparently shot and killed a 19-year-old young man called Zwe Ko Ko during one of their looting tours, the reason of the murder was unknown and the people nearby were still on the run, Khit Thit Media reported.

Three explosions took place consecutively in another electricity supply office of Mandalay, this morning around 9am. This time, the incident took place in Pyigyidagun township where two people including a high-level staff were killed and at least seven persons were injured. Due to the constant threats of junta on cutting off power, a number of people came into pay the bills and that unfortunately resulted in many casualties. Another bombing incident occurred in an electricity supply office of Yangon’s Thingangyun Township around 1pm; however, no major harm was reported.

Junta announced in its propaganda newspaper today that they had detained U Aung Kyaw Kyaw Oo, a prominent NLD lawmaker and an elected member of Parliament (MP) representing Yangon’s Hlaing Township, and his wife Daw Khin Moe Myint Hlaing on July 10. The MP was accused of leading People’s Security Committee (PSC), which was formed to conduct bombings and killings in Hlaing and Mingaladon township. He was also said to be found with pistols and magazines. This news did not break out widely as it came at a time people were struggling to find oxygen and medical aids; however, it was indeed a very sad case as we can only pray for the safety of the man and his family while their detention could also hinder certain operations in Yangon.

Another common yet cruel act of junta was witnessed this morning. A news came in from Magwe Region that the father of U Yan Aung Myo, a MP representing Sinbaungwe Township, was killed by regime’s soldiers because his MP son had refused to sign a document that he did not support NUG/CRPH and fled the area. Locals said that 67-year-old U Tin Ohn was shot at least 30 times by a total of 20 soldiers.

Protests across the country continued as usual despite constant harassment. Peaceful demonstrations were seen in Yangon, Mandalay, Sagaing, Ayawaddy, Tanintharyi Regions. A strike organized by General Strike Committee (GSC) was cracked down in Yangon and at least two people were abducted, according to Khit Thet Media. We are going into nine-day lockdown imposed by junta due to growing Covid cases which will see the businesses, factories and restaurants closed. Although circumstances are not in our favour for the time being, we will come out alive and healthy and continue protesting against junta.

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