Freedom Memoirs – Day 194

Cash has always been a major problem since the coup for both the junta and public. To prevent banks from collapse due to massive cash withdrawal, the junta-appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) limited cash withdrawals. German company Giesecke & Devrient also halted providing supplies to print new banknotes. Today, the CBM finally admitted that the security printing works factory Wazi had been printing new banknotes to compensate the budget deficit. According to Myanmar Now media’s report, a source who wished to stay anonymous said that Wazi was able to operate again with the help of Russia. It was only yesterday that the exchange rate for USD to Myanmar Kyats (MMK) hit the highest record of 1 USD equivalent to 1720 MMK. Together with inflation, the rise of commodity price is expected, and  people at the lowest level of social hierarchy will suffer even more.

Coup leader Min Aung Hlaing, who hasn’t had any positive accomplishments except killing and disrupting, wanted to show off that he could administer the country. As such, the regime began its nationwide vaccination process in August with vaccines purchased from China. Local ward administrators announced 60-year-olds and above to take the vaccinations but people showed no trust because of poorly arranged procedures. Today in Mindat town of Chin State, Mizzima News reported that, in one of the Covid vaccination centers, local educators administered Covid vaccines because healthcare workers went on strike. The witness to Mizzima that she thought local educators were only helping around the center, but they were personally injecting vaccines. Yet another reason that the junta showed no interest in the wellbeing of the people.

Last week in Mong Ko (China-Myanmar border area), clashes broke out between the regime’s forces and the combined forces of Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and Kachin Independence Army (KIA). During the clashes, the regime’s artillery shells fell into the China side of the border, Wanding town. Today, Irrawaddy News reported that the Chinese authorities showed concerns for its citizens in Wanding town, and warned that if there was more artillery shells falling into China’s side, it would make any necessary response. Myanmar Ambassador to China U Myo Thant Pe was also summoned by China Foreign Minister and told to stop the clashes at the border area. To respond, Myanmar military’s Colonel Zin Myo Swe wrote a letter to Chinese authorities, denying that the artillery shells were launched by MNDAA, not from them. 

The regime’s arbitrary arrest is still a threat for the resistance forces. Daw Myint San, a legislator and member of Committee Representing Magway Region (CRMH) was arrested on the night of August 11. She was arrested at her sister’s house in Nattalin township and her brother-in-law was also arrested for accepting the “absconder”. In Budalin township, Sagaing Region, a doctor and a clerk from local courthouse who joined CDM movement were beaten up and arrested by the regime’s soldiers around 2pm today. 

Around 5pm today in Waing Maw township, Kachin State, Light Infantry Battalion 58 launched indiscriminately shooting with heavy weapons, and a young woman on motorbike was shot. The woman was identified to be Saung Pyone, a mother of one who was returning from the market. Passers-by tried to help but they were not allowed to approach the woman. Since the clash between KIA and LIB 58 on July 29, the regime’s forces has been occasionally opened fire randomly at the civilians. 

Following up on Yinmabin People’s Defense Force (PDF)’s landmine attack yesterday, it was reported that more than 20 regime soldiers in two military trucks died. 

In addition to the man-made disaster, people of Myanmar are facing natural disasters at the same time. This morning, Myanmar Now media reported that one died and six were admitted to hospital due to the landslide caused by heavy rain in Mogok, Mandalay Region. Yesterday, three people including a five-year-old child died because a stone wall collapsed on their house in another part of Mogok. Local social welfare groups said that landslides became more frequent in 2020 and 2021. 

Another NLD leader is infected with Covid-19 under the regime’s detention. Mandalay Region Chief Minister Dr Zaw Myint Maung said in today’s online court hearing that he was infected with Covid-19 and had to use oxygen. He was initially detained in Mandalay’s Obo prison, but transferred to Mandalay General Hospital on August 6. Prison Department said that treatments were being provided for Dr Zaw Myint Maung’s preexisting Leukaemia condition, but family members were worried because they did not receive proper information about his situation. 

As usual, protests were seen nationwide. From marching strikes to guerrilla protests, people of Myanmar continued to resist the military regime and protesters showed overwhelming support to the National Unity Government (NUG). As the UN General Assembly approaches, all the resistance forces gear up for the credential challenge. Awareness raising campaigns for the credential challenge were seen both online and offline. 

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