Freedom Memoirs – Day 219

A war has been waged. This morning, National Unity Government (NUG)’s interim president Duwa Lashi La declared a defensive war against Min Aung Hlaing’s regime and announced that nationwide defensive attacks would target the regime’s establishments. In his 7-minute-speech, he warned junta-appointed administrators to abandon their jobs and non-CDM staffs to stop going to offices, then encouraged police and military forces, border guard forces (BGF) and militia groups (Pyithu-sit) to side with the People Defense Forces (PDFs). To civilians, the NUG requested to stock up food and medicine, and to cooperate with PDF members. Not everyone expected the resistant war to be announced this soon but the speech was overwhelmingly welcomed by the people of Myanmar.

After the NUG’s announcement, ethnic armed groups welcomed the collective resistant war. In exclusive interviews with Myanmar Now, Kachin Independence Army (KIA)’s spokesperson Colonel Nawbu said that resistant warfares would be inevitable when facing the long-rooted military, and NUG did what it needed to be done. Karen National Union (KNU)’s Brigade 5 spokesperson Saw Kleh Doh also supported the declaration and vowed to comply with NUG. Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP)’s spokesperson Khu Daniel said that the official announcement called for collective effort of everyone to win the war. Chinland Defense Force (CDF)’s spokesperson Ko John welcomed the announcement and said that coordinated attacks would be launched soon. Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) welcomed the announcement but showed concerns on preparations for the war.

The declaration of war has pumped up our spirit since we are so done with tolerating Min Aung Hlaing’s soldiers savaging our lives. Netizens shared different ways to support the PDFs and resistance fighters since it is extremely important to support them now more than ever. Residents from Yangon and Mandalay cities were seen stocking up food and medicines despite tightened security in the city. It was also reported that 15 minutes after the declaration of war by the NUG, military aircrafts were leaving their base in Meiktila, Mandalay, and residents from Yangon’s Mingalardon township also shared on social media that fighter jets and choppers were flying around this morning. 

The eventful day was not short of bomb blasts all over the country. In Yangon’s Mayangone township, an explosion took place at traffic police outpost near Bayint Naung junction around 10am. In South Dagon township, two consecutive bombs blasted when the junta’s soldiers came to destroy the site of people-less protest around 2pm. A grenade was thrown inside a police post in Mandalay’s Pyi Gyi Takhon township this morning, and this evening, a grenade attack took place near Mandalay hill where regimes’ forces stationed. Two soldiers were reportedly killed at the incident. In Mogok town around 12pm, a bomb blasted at a primary school where regime’s soldiers stationed. In Magway Region, five regime’s establishments in four towns were attacked this morning. Residents of Kalay town, Chin State, also heard several explosions this morning.

Although the regime side has been frequently attacked, its soldiers do not slow down on violence against civilians. Yesterday in Pyay, Bago Region, two young men were arrested around 3.30pm by the regime’s soldiers with the reason of associating with Basic Education Students’ Union. Due to severe beating and torture, one of the two men Ko Zaw Lin Htet died around 8pm according to Khit Thit media. Today, DVB News reported that Ko Zaw Lin Htet’s wife and brother were detained this morning, phone and money were taken and their house was destroyed.

On this very day, the regime’s military launched offensive operations in Taninthayi Region, Thayat Chaung and Palaw townships where KNU’s Brigade 4 controlled. Locals said that clashes broke out in Thayat Chaung around 9am, and in Palaw around 8am. These clashes marked the first armed conflicts in Taninthayi Region since the coup. In Karenni (Kayah) State, Loikaw township, the regime launched heavy artillery shelling at Dawsipoe village since 3pm. According to Karenni news source PKPF, about 200 soldiers were stationed in the village. Similarly in Bilin township, Mon State, the regime’s forces carried out indiscriminate shooting in Asue chaung village around midnight, fearing local villagers according to KNU. 

In Sagaing Region, Myaung township, Pauk Chaung village, a place where local PDFs camped out was attacked and burned down by the regime’s forces this morning. About 1000 troops carried out the attack so local villagers had to flee to safe places according to the leader of Myaung PDF. He said that the PDF group successfully escaped from the attack. 

With the official declaration of war, protesters were seen holding banners which read “D-Day 7 September 2021”, and “Support NUG, Reject Military”. Another themed protest widely seen today was “Women who will crash the military hold up three fingers through iron bars” with female protesters leading the rallies. More women’s marches were observed in Thayat Chaung township of Taninthayi Region, Yinmabin, Monywa and Kalay townships in Sagaing Region to name a few. Unfortunately, junta’s forces rammed into the protest rally in Kalay town and arrested two protesters. 

It will be wildly illogical for others to see us Myanmar people getting excited for an imminent full blown civil war. Our grandparents and parents have lived under different dictators in the past, and they had experienced trauma and pain. Their lives were limited, their rights were taken. We certainly do not want the similar fate for us and the younger generation. That’s why we are going all in. The journey ahead is going to be rough but with our resilience and collective effort, we will certainly win this war.

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