Freedom Memoirs – Day 174

We reported yesterday that regime’s soldiers had entered the Insein prison following the protest in the morning. Later, rumors started spreading that a major crackdown was carried out inside a female hall where the protest was initiated. Voice of America VOA conducted an interview with someone close to the prison who said the protesters demanded three points during the discussion with prison authorities: to release the political detainees, to take necessary measures to contain COVID-19 spread inside the prison, and to reduce newly imposed unjust regulations. The interviewee also said that there were at least seven casualties due to the crackdown yesterday. DVB TV News also reported tonight that junta’s soldiers used live ammos in cracking down the protest and casualties were up to 20 people including five women.  

International Committee of the Red Cross Myanmar (ICRC) announced a statement today that it is closely following the current situation at various prions in Myanmar. It also added “The ICRC is continuing its dialogue with prison authorities to resume its purely humanitarian visits and activities in places of detention”. It is crystal clear at this point that junta has no desire nor ability to contain the virus in general, let alone the prisons. The least it can do is to allow ICRC save its own citizens’ lives.

Speaking of junta and its failed mission to contain the virus, a terrible news came in from Karen State that Colonel Myo Min Naung, the junta-appointed minister for border and security, had seized the oxygen cylinders that had been legally imported by Yangon-based social welfare groups. The incident took place on No.2 Myawaddy bridge when the junta’s soldiers took away 130 cylinders under the colonel’s order as though it was a daylight robbery. They tried to justify it by saying they needed those tanks for sick patients of the region; however, they are supposed to come up with solutions for such problems and not create more problems. Seizing someone’s property by a show of force is an act of terrorism and the incident just proves that junta lives up to its “terrorist” name once again. Meanwhile, thousands of people across the country desperately need oxygen and are still denied proper medical care.

More on COVID news, junta announced that a newly established company named National Strategic Investment Corporation (NSIC) had donated 3 billion Kyats worth of anti-viral medication called Remdesivir to the country via State Administration Council (SAC) on 20 July. However, research findings surface online that the number of medicines does not add up to the value of donation received by SAC because the total value for 30,000 pills, which is received by the country, may cost maximum of 0.6 billion kyat and apparently the reported figure is at least 5 times bigger. It is difficult to clarify who has really benefited out of this deal but we are certain it’s not the public.

A former ward administrator called U Myint Shwe was shot and killed in his home this afternoon in Thaton township of Mon State. The 60-year-old man had served under Union Solidary Development Party (USDP) led government between 2011 to 2015 and now he was working as a member of militia. His murder means two pro-military supporters were killed in two days in a row in the same region. A bomb attack was reported near an administrative office in the town of Pathein as well although no casualty was heard.

The better news came in from Mindat township of Chin State that Chin Defense Force (CDF) had ambushed and occupied a police station this morning. At least 20 people from junta’s side were reportedly killed although the exact number cannot be verified yet. SAC’s forces broke the ceasefire agreement on July 16 when they carried out offensives at CDF and now the battles in the area have resumed.

Another clash was reported near Kani township of Sagaing region where shootings broke out between junta’s forces and Kani People Defense Force this afternoon. A ferry from junta’s side was set on fire and the people side suffered no casualty. However, junta’s soldiers apparently attacked civilian’s boats following the clash and abducted 20 civilians. Later, they used the detainees as human shields to find local pdf members in the nearby jungle. Consequently, the local pdf has had to divide into two groups and hide in safe places as they cannot attack junta’s forces which will risk fellow civilian’s lives.

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