Freedom Memoirs – Day 237

In Yangon, residents in Sanchaung township reported that about 50 gunshots were heard around 1.30am today. They thought a shootout took place between urban guerrilla fighters and the regime’s forces. However, Khit Thit media reported this afternoon that the incident was not a shootout but a killing spree committed by regime soldiers. Three young persons were taken from an apartment, and shot dead near Myaenigone flyover. A witness told Khit Thit media that even after killing, regime soldiers kicked and beat the dead bodies in the pond of blood. So far, details about the deceased are yet to be known. As the dawn broke, five consecutive bombs exploded near the notorious Insein Prison around 7.30am. Security was extremely tightened in Yangon this morning.

Despite the tightened security, protests were observed in Yangon today. A group of guerrilla protesters from Sanchaung took to the street today, raising three finger salute to show defiance against the military regime. In Mandalay, Buddhist monks lead a marching strike to commemorate the 14th anniversary of 2007 Saffron Revolution, and similarly in Monywa, Coalition of Villagers strike and Monwya Main Strike students combined and rallied in memory of the  2007 revolution. In Launglon township, Taninthayi Region, protesters held a banner which read, “We challenge you. We protest because we are not afraid. If you are brave, come and arrest with your uniforms”, condemning the use of plain-clothed soldiers when arresting protesters. In addition to these remarkable ones, more marching strikes and guerrilla protests were observed nationwide.

We previously reported about eight young people from Mandalay’s Sein Pan neighbourhood who were accused of grenade attacks and six remained in detention. Yesterday, five detainees were released from the police station around 3pm. However, one of the released persons Ko Ye was shot dead upon the release, and the police said that he was trying to run away. His wife was waiting for his return but unfortunately all she received was a dead body of her husband. When the body was returned, it had bullet wounds on head, chest and thigh according to a witness.

Since the announcement of defensive war, clashes broke out everyday in various part of our country. In addition to ethnic areas, central plain region also saw severe battles. Between Mingin and Kalaywa townships in Sagaing Region, local People defense force (PDF) clashed against the regime forces around 7am this morning, and the clash lasted until 1pm. Mingin PDF said that they fought against the combined forces of regime military and pro-military thug group Pyu Saw Htee, and killed at least five from the enemy side. One death from PDF side was reported. Due to the ongoing conflict, villagers from nearby areas had to flee from their homes.

Although the regime forces are defeated in the battles, they continue to spread their forces and fight in several ethnic areas. This morning around 7am,  the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) detonated the regime troops who were moving around in Hpakant township. The explosive attacked was followed by a shootout between the two forces for 30 minutes. Details of the casualty is yet to be known. In Demoso township of Kayah (Karenni) State, junta forces launched offensive attacks at the local resistance forces in Daw Ngan Kha village around 9am today. The combined forces of Demoso PDF, Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) and Karenni Army (KnA) defended the attacks but the clash was intense as the junta used long-range bullets. Once again, details of the clash are yet to be shared.

Just because active conflicts are taking place in northern and eastern areas, it doesn’t mean southern region is in peace. Yesterday, a clash broke out between the regime forces and Karen National Union (KNU)’s Brigade 1 in Hton Bo Lay village, Thaton township in Mon State around 1pm, resulting in one death and two injuries from junta side. As a retaliation, junta forces burned and destroyed small vendors and motorcycle repair shops near Hton Bo Lay village according to local media Salween Press.

When they are not militarily engaged, regime soldiers searched and arrested innocent civilians. News came from Monywa, Sagaing Region that Dr Zaw Htoi Aung and two others were detained by the regime forces yesterday. Dr. Zaw Htoi Aung works with Chindwin Medical Network, and provides medical care to internally displaced people (IDPs) in Yinmabin and Kani townships. He was arrested when he visited his home briefly. Two young men who worked for his family owned restaurant were taken with him, and their whereabouts is unknown. In another part of Sagaing Region, 14 villagers from Yin Paung Tine village, Yinmabin township were abducted by junta forces last night. Due to the severe beating and torture after the arrest, a man in his 40s died in the custody. Later on, the detainees were released, but, locals said that many were severely injured because of the beatings.

To end today’s report on a good note, Captain Nyi Thura, the first soldier who joined civil disobedience movement (CDM) and is currently providing support for CDM soldiers, said in an exclusive interview with Khit Thit Media that about 2000 soldiers have switched to the people side. He said that there were more soldiers, including higher rank personnel, consulted with him to defect. Captain Nyi Thura speculated that if the resistance forces intensified their attacks, these soldiers would eventually leave the army. Meanwhile, support information for defecting soldiers should be widely shared so that it would encourage more soldiers to switch to the people side.

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