Freedom Memoirs – Day 179

Last night, we heard initial information of PDF fighters  being arrested in Mingin township, Sagaing Region and the sadly news was verified by news outlets this morning. Mizzima News reported quoting the spokesperson of Mingin PDF’s that 57 PDF members were arrested by the military council last night and 12 escaped. Prior to the arrest yesterday, fighting broke out between the PDFs and Pyu Saw Htee-like armed thugs. About an hour into the clash, the armed thugs were reinforced by junta’s soldiers and police forces which put Mingin PDFs in weak position. Later in the day, the junta sponsored armed thugs tricked the PDFs into false ceasefire for the sake of civilians which turned out to be a trap. This evening, Mingin PDF’s spokesperson told Myanmar Now media that the junta’s forces were planning to transfer 47 PDF members from Taung Phyu village to Mingin town, but the remaining 10 were presumed to be killed. 

PDFs in Sagaing Region have been bravely fighting the regime’s forces without having proper trainings or weapons and they have been severely outmatched by the junta’s forces. Myanmar Now media reported that local villagers in Kani Township found eight male dead bodies near Zee Pin Twin village on July 27. Some of the bodies were buried in a fresh grave, a few on the ground and one was found hanging from a tree. Local villagers assumed that the deceased were severely tortured before their death because bodies found were disfigured and badly wounded. Locals presumed there would be more burial sites in the area but they also feared the risk of landmines.

Despite the barbaric assaults by the regime’s forces, the PDFs in other regions are still operating their missions. Around 5am today in Ayeyarwaddy Region, there was an explosion in a police station in Pathein township . The bomb blast took place at the entrance of the police station near a shipyard, and Pathein PDF claimed that they were responsible for the blast but no injuries were reported. However in some cases, the junta tried to blacken the image of PDFs. Last night, it was shared on our social media that a gas pipeline was destroyed by local PDFs in Thaton township, Mon State on the night of July 27. Today, one of the local PDF members told Than Lwin Khet media that it was not the doing of them, and that the explosion was done by the SAC’s soldiers to stain the reputation of the PDFs.

As we reported in the previous days, southern part of Myanmar continued experiencing floods. Today, it is reported that Bago City suffered major flood, especially wards near Bago River. About locals from 200 households in five wards are now living in two monasteries to take shelter. Gathering of such a large crowd may call for Covid spread consequently yet our people had no option. Kayin State also continued to experience floods. In KNU-controlled Kaw Myat village, a four-year-old and one-year-old children fell from their house and drowned in the flood while their grandmother went out for a few mintues to buy food. There was no extra adult to take care of children because their parents were migrant workers in Thailand. The villagers helped with cremation process of the younglings, and their mode of transportation was boats because of the flood. It is indeed a devastating tragedy that our people are losing lives in both natural disasters and man-made disasters. 

In more disaster news, a strong earthquake took place around 3pm today. The quake was 6.3 Richer scale strong, and the epicenter was Thabeikkyin township, Mandalay Region according to Department of Meteorology. Residents from Mandalay, Sagaing, Magway regions and Shan State felt the strong earthquake, and in Ye-U township Sagaing Region, the fences of a monastery was damaged due to the quake. Aftershocks can be followed after a strong earthquake so residents in Thabeikkyin stay vigilant. 

In this revolution, Rakhine State has been somewhat peaceful compared to other part of the country. Today, Myanmar Now reported that stun grenades were heard for two consecutive days (July 28 and 29) in the state’s capital Sittwe. One incident took place near a game centre, and the other near a monastery. One of the Sittwe locals told Myanmar Now that those were warnings by the Arakan Army for the public to follow stay-at-home order in the town. Another local also said that the game center which saw stun grenades was still operating against the lockdown order.

Since the coup in February, we have marched down the streets, expressed our rejection against the coup and the military regime, and we haven’t stopped for the past six months. Today, protests were observed all over the country: from northern part Kachin State to southern part Taninthayi Region. To name a few significant protests, Sangha Union in Mandalay continued to march in the street, farmers showed defiance in paddy fields in Taze township, and in Yangon this evening, protesters came out with torches. In the midst of raging pandemic, we are risking our lives and refusing to submit to the coup leader Min Aung Hlaing and his barbaric military. 

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