Freedom Memoirs – Day 192

Art and poems in tribute to 5 young people who jumped off from a three-storey apartment building on 44th street flooded the social media feeds since last evening. According to an eyewitness, one woman and four men ran up to the roof to escape but jumped off from the building into a back alley unable to escape an aggressive junta raid. One young woman was arrested. One could only imagine how bad the torture she would face during interrogation. The junta released a brief today of the incident that two of those who jumped had died and the rest three are at the military hospital. On the other hand, the family of the victims told the press that they are unable to claim their loved ones’ bodies and ashes as the junta decided to get rid of them at their own will. This is a familiar story to many victims in the past six months under the coup.

The National Unity Government (NUG)’s Ministry of Defence reported today that there have been 374 clashes in the country from June 1 to June 30. Among 374 clashes, 40 were the battles between the junta’s forces versus various People Defense Forces (PDF) and ethnic-armed organizations (EAOs) while defensive battles taken by people’s forces were 38. According to the report, Sagaing is reported to be a region with the most clashes. These clashes including attacks taken by the guerrilla forces and PDF resulted in 387 deaths of junta’s soldiers and 159 deaths of civilians. Among 92 clashes broke out in Sagaing Region, 32 cases were atrocities committed by junta’s forces to innocent civilians. Out of all the states and regions, Yangon region has the most number of bomb blasts; 25 cases were reported. 

The clashes could inevitably intensify in coming months and violence has been a new normal. In response to the invitation of ceasefire agreement by murderer-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing on the six-month-anniversary of his failed coup, Kachin Independence Army (KIA/KIO), Karen National Union (KNU) and other prominent EAOs publicly declare that although negotiations are vital in political process, political dialogue with the junta currently is unrealistic and unreliable as long as there are atrocities committed by the junta on the civilians. The Peace Process Steering Team (PPST) echoed the same sentiment. 

In addition, the assassination attacks and clashes between the junta’s soldiers and local PDFs have become more frequent in the country. A Dalan (informant) of 44th street incident was warned with a letter and a bullet today by Hlaing Thar Yar township PDF for his collaboration with the junta to raid the apartment. In South Dagon township of 54th ward, a couple alleged to be informants were shot this morning. Husband died at the spot, and the wife was taken to the hospital. Two soldiers were also shot this morning in Mandalay which resulted in one death and one injured. 

More regional and local PDFs have been formed throughout the country. Yaw ethnic group from Magway region today announced six township-based forces have been formed. They swear in to fight until the fascist regime is rooted out, and to collaborate their attacks through alliances with NUG, PDF, and EAOs that are close to the border. Today, three military trucks on Gangaw-Kalay roads were bursted from a detonated bomb planted by YPDF. A spokesperson from YPDF said the blast claimed at least the lives of two soldiers and injured three. Although there is a desperate need of financial and arms support for various regional PDFs, PDFs seem to be more determined than ever to fight until the end despite being armed with make-shift weapons. Very recently on August 4, a Naga ethnic group also joined PDF by forming local people’s defense forces, and they were set to form alliances with other PDFs under NUG and EAOs.

The death tolls related to Covid-19 has slowed down both in Yangon and Mandalay where it once hit the cities hard with hundreds of deaths daily. American medical and human rights groups together with Johns Hopkins University Center for Public Health and Human Rights released a report of Myanmar public health situation. It is reported that more than Myanmar’s medical workers have been targeted for more than 252 times since the February coup. At least 25 medical workers have been killed that put limits on containing the devastating Covid third wave in Myanmar. More than 190 medical and health workers were arrested, and hospitals have been raided and stationed by the junta’s forces at least 86 times and 55 times respectively.

During the Covid third wave, some CDM doctors who were providing telemedicine and tele-consultations to patients were arrested. Doctors were unable to provide home-visit services as they were being targeted. Arrest of charity workers and volunteers, and seizing Covid-related medical supplies have contributed to many preventable deaths. The latest news reports that the junta has now blocked some medical suppliers saying they import illegal drugs. This led to many pharmacies closing their shops in Mingalar and Bogyoke markets today in Yangon.

Despite the torture and arrests, many main strikes groups in Kalay, Hpakant, Mandalay, Launglone, Yinmarpin and Sarlingyi continue to this day.

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