Freedom Memoirs – Day 255

The whole country was put in the dark most of the day today due to “system breakdown” and it reminded us of even darker days when we experienced part-time electricity day in day out under the previous regimes. Back then, people literally and figuratively had to endure dark times as our homes were ill-lit, and our futures were dim. Such nightmares may come true once again if we let Min Aung Hlaing-led regime reigns any longer.

Despite the power outage, our resistance fighters weren’t at rest. A coalition of 10 joint resistance forces in Magwe Region detonated landmines on two junta’s military trucks, killing one and injuring several this morning around 8am in Yesagyo Town. Also in Magwe Region, Myaing People Defense Force (PDF) and Pauk Urban Resistance Force (URF) jointly attacked Zeepyar Village last night, claiming at least seven deaths. The clash lasted half an hour as PDF had to retreat due to artillery shelling of regime’s policemen from a nearby hill. Two PDF members were also injured with minor wounds. A local villager told Myanmar Now that this was the first attack in the village and some policemen in plain clothes came into the village this morning for inspection and most the villagers have fled their homes due to the growing fears of random abduction.

Attacks on junta’s informers and lackeys also continued. More than ten people were found dead last night and today. A family member of a policeman, two members of United Solidarity Development Party (USDP) were shot and killed this morning around 8.45pm in Tanze Township, Sagaing Region. Two women known as Dalan, junta’s spies were found dead in Ye-U Township of Sagaing last night around 9pm. A ward administrator and his son were shot lifeless in Nyaung Oo Township of Mandalay last night and MGN Tiger claimed responsibility. A major military informer from Monywa, Sagaing was also whacked by PDF- South Monywa today around 11am.

Also in Yangon, a non-CDM railway staff called Htein Win, who was accused of being a Dalan, died on the spot during a gun attack at a Theinbyu traffic light in downtown Yangon around 9am. An armed Pyu Saw Htee member of Khayan Township, Yangon also met the same fate at today noon as he passed away with bullet wounds in the back. A ward administrator called Tun Tun Win from Shwepyithar was also killed dead with a gun shot in his neighborhood.

Meanwhile, signs of an imminent warfare were reported from Chin State. Junta’s forces have increased the security measures in Matupi Town of Chin State as they attempt to clear Mindat-Matupi main road. A military convoy consisting of 80 vehicles and two tanks was found heading towards that direction last night, Mizzima News reported. The road is the main transportation route to send reinforcements and rations to their forces in Paletwa and regime’s soldiers are kept busy day and night warning in the speakers that anyone interrupting the clearance operation will be punished. More reinforcements carrying 48 military trucks and two tanks also reportedly arrive in Falam. Chin National Organization (CNO) has warned the people to avoid Falam-Rih and Falam-Hakha roads at all costs. We learn that State Administration Council (SAC) is set to launch high level military operations in resistance-strong states such as Sagaing, Chin and Karenni and now it seems they will begin at Chin State.

On economic front, the exits of international businesses have been quite frequent since the coup and the latest one is British American Tobacco (BAT), the second largest tobacco company in the world. The company entered the local market in 2013 and manufactured popular cigarette brands such as London, KENT, Lucky Strike until October 6 when it announced the close of business in Myanmar. BAT’s corporate manager Madeeh Pasha told Myanmar Now that the decision was made after evaluation of the future business outlook in the country. BAT employed 400 staff, invested 91 million USD, and paid 27 million USD in tax the previous year. Vicky Bowman, the director of Myanmar Center for Responsible Businesses (MCRB) told Myanmar Now that BAT’s departure means one fewer organization in the country attempting to mitigate illegal trading of international brands and she also urged the company to leave responsibly with regards to the staff and business partners.

The Irrawaddy reported today that two Chinese-backed LNG power plants in Yangon have been shut down due to financial fall out. The increase in LNG prices in global market, the depreciation of Myanmar Kyats, lower demand of electricity and the regime’s inability to pay the suppliers were the roots of the shutdown, sources from Ministry of Electricity and Energy told The Irrawaddy. However, the real underlying issue was the junta failing to meet the contract promises which meant the supplier must be paid in USD instead of Myanmat Kyat only which they can afford now, the source added. The LNG plants in question were 400-megawatt (MW) plant in Yangon’s Thaketa Township which came to a complete halt since July and 350MW plant in Thilawa Special Economic Zone which still produce just 15% of its capacity. This only indicates that we will inevitably have to brace ourselves for more blackouts in quite near future once again.

Ahead of the ASEAN Summit on October 26, European Union (EU) today released a declaration to support the work of the ASEAN Special Envoy and the bloc’s efforts in finding a peaceful solution to the current crisis in Myanmar. The declaration by the High Representative on behalf of EU urged the military to facilitate regular visits of Special Envoy and to arrange meetings with all he wishes to meet. It also promises to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Myanmar. We are grateful for EU’s continuous support to our people while we are not convinced of ASEAN’s intentions in “finding a peaceful solution to the current crisis in Myanmar”.

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