Freedom Memoirs – Day 203

With more and more members of the police force and military defected in recent days, a source close to the military told DVB News today that there is an order for the Pyu Saw Htee members to assassinate police officers as if they were being killed by the PDF members. With many defection news circling the news cycle in recent days, it’s not surprising that the regime might be upping their dirty tricks. According to the retired police chief who spoke to DVB News, the main reason for this trick is to add on more charges to the youths who would be arrested under the suspicion of being PDF members, and to taint the image of the PDF members. “They (regime) want to mislead everyone that all of the police killing and bombings were done by the PDF and want this kind of news to spread around even on the international news cycle,” he said. In reality, Pyu Saw Htee members are allegedly provided with full weapons and equipment to carry out any kind of attacks, he added.

In more defection news, two soldiers on duty from Sagaing Region’s Khin-U town were reported to have fled with a lot of weapons on the evening of August 21. A source close to the police station said that about 20 soldiers are usually stationed at Khin-U’s Myoma police station and around 7pm yesterday, the soldiers were going around the town, attempting to find the two fled soldiers. In Magway Region’s Aunglan town, one of the 15 defected soldiers from the Defense Equipment Factory-15, was reportedly shot to death by the security forces on August 20 when he was found in one of the villages in Aunglan Township. DVB News reported that 15 soldiers, including a Lieutenant, ran away from the Defense Equipment Factory on August 19, and a resident said the Lieutenant had a pistol with him when he ran but it couldn’t be confirmed whether other soldiers took any weapons or not.

During an interview with DVB News today, a defected Sergeant Maung Than from Sagain Region’s Yinmarbin Township police station, he urged other comrades who wish to defy the military regime to try their best to get out. “The military council has been spreading rumors about me looting money and valuable items when I left. It’s a psychological war to alienate me from the other side as well. Regardless, I came out with my belief to work together with the public, and I will stand by the people until we all succeed,” he said. The first female Sergeant who managed to flee to the liberated area, Yin Le Le Tun also urged female soldiers to stand together with the people via a social media account named People’s Soldiers. “Most of us female soldiers joined the military at a very young age and we were all brainwashed to believe the wrong as right and vice versa. Those who know the truth, and yet are still on the side of the dictatorship, please stand up for the people as soon as possible,” said Sergeant Yin Le Le Yun.

The military side seemed to be taking more hits than normal today as well. The security post on Bayint Naing bridge in Yangon’s Hlaing Tharyar Township was attacked this morning when a passing car shot at the soldiers on duty, killing one security member. A police car in Mandalay Region’s Mogok town was also hit with an explosion around 3pm today. Residents said nobody seemed to have been injured since they didn’t see any ambulance afterwards, but the police car was reportedly blasted into pieces. Chinland Defense Force (CDF) also announced today that more than five soldiers were killed during the clashes in Chin State’s Thangland Township between August 20-21, but no casualty from the CDF side.

With the security forces raiding villages in various parts of Sagaing Region, residents of Yinmarbin and Pale townships were reported to have been fleeing their villages since the morning of August 21. About 20 villages in Yinmarbin Township were raided on August 21 with the security members looting the villagers’ belongings and poultry animals. A female resident said their villages are being raided over and over again, and now they don’t even have any belongings or cash left. “We are stranded in our wet clothes out in the field, starving all night and still not being able to go back home. Please help us,” she claimed. Today, the security forces also stormed into some of the villages in Pale Township, causing the residents from five villages to flee. Residents said that 100 security members raided the houses in the Min Ma (West) and Kyae Ninn villages, and were reportedly beating some of the young people and stealing the villagers’ basic necessities.

In another news, a week after the arrest of political columnist Sithu Aung Myint, the regime announced that the prominent journalist is also being charged with Section 124-A of the Penal Code for sedition on top of the initial charges under Section 505-A for incitement. The journalist was accused of criticizing the military council and supporting the National Unity Government (NUG) and the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH). BBC Burmese presenter Ma Htet Htet Khine who was arrested along with Sithu Aung Myint, has been charged under Section 17(A) of Penal Code for volunteering as an editor for NUG’s Federal FM radio.

To give a quick update on the current COVID-19 situation in Myanmar, NUG’s Ministry of Health released the result of its assessment on COVID-19 during the third wave on the evening of August 21. The results showed that at least 72 percent of deaths due to COVID-19 happened at home, and while the military council announced the death rate during the third wave as 3.7 percent, the assessment from NUG’s Ministry of Health revealed that it stands at 7.2 percent. Honestly, no surprise here. The military council isn’t going to announce any statistics or revelations that could ruin their image as the “savior”. 

Their savior complex with the vaccination program was also met with many criticisms from some senior citizens who spoke to Mizzima News. Those above the age of 65 and others who were vaccinated in Ward 48 of Yangon’s Dagon Myothit (North) Township on August 20 complained that the vaccination program was unsystematic and gave priority to military acquaintances. A resident said none of the COVID-19 preventive measures such as social distancing were implemented, and the vaccination room was too crowded to even take blood pressure. There were no proper procedures to line up and some people who are acquaintances of the health workers were prioritized. “There are still a lot of the elderly who have not been vaccinated because the vaccines reportedly ran out around 1 pm. But I saw many young people coming out of the clinic, vaccinated, and many elders who had to leave without being vaccinated,” the resident said.

With everything going on, we still need to remember that we are still in the middle of the third wave of COVID-19 in Myanmar. Military regime has extended the imposed public holidays for the fifth time, but are they really doing anything else to contain the spread of the virus, or this is just a ruse for something else. We may never know. But always remember to stay safe and question everything!

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