Freedom Memoirs – Day 191

In the past 24 hours, we received the passing news of three remarkable persons for the people of Myanmar. Yesterday afternoon, we learned that writer Nyi Say Min, an editor of the famous Ludu and Kyipwayay Press, passed away. Late in the evening, the passing news of well-known poet Aung Cheint hit hard us hard. Then in the morning, it was reported that Dr. Naga Thein Hlaing, who was well-respected for travelling to Naga Hills and performing surgeries in underdeveloped rural area in the 60s, passed away. Netizens shared condolences and posted the writings of/about these people to remember them by. 

Multiple blasts occurred in downtown Yangon today.  Local media quoted a member of Yangon-based Urban Guerrilla Resistance Front (UGRF) which claims responsibility of five blasts. The blasts were at office of Young Men’s Buddhist Association (YMBA), a rightwing ultranationalist body with a reputable past under colonial rule but now openly supporting the junta, traffic-monitoring police post and traffic-police station, and at an office of junta controlled newspaper. However, local media also noted that these locations were just claims, and the accuracy of the location, let alone the damage incurred, is yet to be verified. Nonetheless, multiple blasts were reported by residents of these areas and police were seen searching the passersby. UGRF has previously claimed responsibility of the deaths of junta administration and its key personnel’s’ assets.

Yesterday afternoon, a vigilante group beat up four people who stationed at COVID monitoring gate and shot one to death, in Myaing Township, Magwe Township. Survivors alleged that the armed vigilante group must be pro-military one due to their interrogation on a local anti-junta activist in hiding. U Win Naing, brother of U Aung Zeya, the murdered community COVID volunteer, confirmed the death of his brother and quoted as follows in Myanmar Now “He tried to run away while armed men are tying them up. Three gunmen followed and opened fire and Aung Zeya got shot. Then the gunmen left with the car they came with.” U Win Naing also claims that most of the villagers are staying indoor due to COVID restrictions and there is no telling where the armed gunmen could have come from. In the interview, an another villager answers that these gunmen also raided a house which displayed NLD signboard, although no casualty or damage from that episode is reported yet.

U Kyaw Moe Tun, anti-junta Myanmar Ambassador to the United Nations today expressed his dismay at the time taken to appoint ASEAN Special Envoy to Myanmar as part of five-point consensus agreed in May 24. In the interview with Myanmar Now, he said, “While I understand that issues like this one are difficult to setup a strict timeline, time is of the essence for the people. Even one-day delay means difference between life and death for many.” He also warned the need for the ASEAN Special Envoy to have unrestricted access within the country, and for the envoy to perform the tasks without interference and conflict of interests, in order to accomplish the daunting task.

Today is Kachin Martyrs’ Day and people across the country showed the support towards diversity and against dominance by a single race. The slogan “Stop racial superiority; Martyrs are more than nine (in response to traditionally memorialized nine Martyrs led by General Aung Sang),” was a common theme in protests and in social media today. 

Speaking of protests, peaceful protests were observed at multiple sites in Yangon and Mandalay, Myaing, Monywa, Kale, Latpadaung Taung, Yinmarbin, Thayetchaung, Dawei, Yay Oo, and many other places. Almost all protests are staged in support of National Unity Government (NUG) and as resistance towards the military rule. Moreover, in some protests, protestors rise banners writing, “In Solidarity with Thai Oppressed”, in unity with pro-democracy protestors in neighbouring Thailand.

In Kale Township, Sagaing Region, two elderly people were taken hostage by junta’s forces this afternoon. According to Khit Thit media, 30 soldiers raided the house of local activist Mg Phyu in Htaut Kyant Village and sought for him. Upon learning that he was not home, his parents-in-law were arrested despite not involved in any activities. The junta has been building up military presence in Kale Town and local media reports that additional 200 soldiers were deployed in past three days alone.

In Chin State, local media reports that one woman has died, two other civilians were injured due to opening fire and artillery shelling to villages in Falam Township, Chin State between 9 and 10 August. Additionally, a number of villagers were also reportedly arrested by junta’s forces. The firing started yesterday evening 8pm and continued today. In another part of Chin State, Mindat town, Chinland Defense Force (CDF-Mindat) announced that a reward of 5,000,000 Myanmar Kyats (approx: USD 3000) will be provided if any of the regime’s soldiers defects with full armed gears. In the announcement, CDF-Mindat also said that it would arrange for the defected solider to take refuge outside the country.

The latest news of today came from Yangon residents in downtown 44th street. Netizens reported that junta’s forces stormed into the streets and looked for young men, presumedly PDF members. Chased by the soldiers, five young men ran up to the rooftop of a building, and when there was no other escape route, all of them jumped off the building. Initial reports by netizens said that two of them died on the spot, and three, who were severely injured from the jump, were arrested by the regime’s soldiers. Netizens shared that the young men’s location was tipped by a dalan (informant). The problem of dalan (informant) is still at large.

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