Freedom Memoirs – Day 184

The new variant of Coronavirus hasn’t been kind to the people of Myanmar in past few weeks. Today, Mizzima News reported that 17,715 bodies were cremated from second to fourth week of July according to data from social welfare groups and funeral services in Yangon. One of the volunteers from a funeral service said that 90% of the deaths were identified as Covid. However, data from the regime’s Ministry of Health and Sports (MOHS) only recorded 6000 Covid deaths in July. To justify the significant data difference, MOHS’s Department of Infectious Disease Director Dr Khin Khin Gyi wrote on her social media that the ministry only counted Covid deaths from hospitals. In one of her posts, she even went on and blamed people for not admitting Covid patients to hospitals, but netizens resounded that both public and private hospitals were unable to provide necessary healthcare. Each and every death, whether Covid or not, is caused by Min Aung Hlaing, who staged an illegal coup and destroyed the country.

More on Covid news, the regime started its vaccination program in August and state-owned papers published colourful photos of elderlies getting vaccinated by healthcare workers in different states and regions. However, on-ground reports said otherwise. In Yangon, netizens reported that the vaccination centers were very crowded that they worried about contracting Covid instead of preventing it. In one case, ward administrators announced in advance that 300 people would be vaccinated, but on the vaccination day, the queue was cut at 100 due to the shortage of vaccines and the elderlies were forced to go home after a half day waiting. Looking at the lack of trust and poorly organized vaccination plan, the Covid surge will not be contained anytime soon.

In addition, the regime has also been using Covid to cover up its crimes. In Kalay township, Sagaing Region, two men were detained by the junta’s forces on July 30. Lam Khant Htan and Lal Khim were simply on their journey back home from Ruili, China where they worked for a year. When arrested, the regime’s forces accused the two men of transporting weapons, and the next day, Lam Khant Htan died in the custody. Although the junta’s forces claimed the cause of death was Covid, one of the family members denied and said that signs of torture were found on the dead body. Among the death tolls regularly reported by MOHS, we don’t know how many of them actually died of Covid. 

In another part of Sagaing Region, Kani Township, local villagers reported that mobile phone and internet, except MyTel operator, were cut off since last night according to DVB News’ report. Kani locals explained that whenever the regime’s troops entered a village, they shut down telecommunication networks in the area, and committed looting, tortures and killings. It was only last week that mass graves were found in Kani Township, and the regime’s forces kept on moving around and committing crimes on Kani locals. The villagers fear for more and more mass killings. 

On Sunday, we reported that the regime-sponsored thug group named Pyu Saw Htee raided a village in Pauk Township, Magway Region. Today, Myanmar Now media reported that Pyu Saw Htee continued to harass civilians in Wun Chone and Kinma villages, opened fire and committed arsons on many houses. According to a local PDF member and a resident, two nurses and four villagers from Kinma village were abducted by the thug group while they were travelling to another village to collect medicine supplies donated for their village. Because of the Pyu Saw Htee members’ continuing attacks, about 1000 Kinma villagers are unable to return to their homes, and they are facing shortage of food and medical supplies.

In Kayah (Karenni) State, Bawlakhe township, the combined force of Karenni Army (KnA) and Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) set up detonated landmines, destroying three military trucks, killed 11 and injured 20 regime’s soldiers according to the announcement made by KNDF. The attack took place around 11am this morning, and as a retaliation, the regime’s forces raided Nan Phe village, and searched for resistant fighters. They also beat up a 70-year-old man and looted his valuables. The regime’s forces have reinforced in five different townships in Karenni State, and the resistance fighters vowed to confront the murderous military.

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