Freedom Memoirs – Day 257

by mohingamatters

Today marks the sixth anniversary of the signing of Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) during President Thein Sein’s administration in 2015. Back then, Myanmar’s transitioning journey was widely welcomed by the international community, ethnic armed groups which signed the NCA were hopeful to bring eternal peace after having suffered more than 70 decades of civil war. After six years, the country is nowhere near eternal peace but it has returned to a military regime, and the NCA has become nothing but a piece of paper. As one of the NCA signatories, Karen National Union (KNU) issued a statement today which called for the military regime to resign from its participation in the politics, to put an end to active military operations, and to release detained leaders. 

Meanwhile, the regime has not slowed down its atrocities on civilians. In Mingin and Chaung-U townships of Sagaing Region, six civilians, including a mentally ill person, were killed by the combined forces of the regime and pro-military Pyu Saw Htee thug group in the morning of October 13 according to DVB News. A local told DVB News that Kinmon village of Chaung-U township were dominated by Pyu Saw Htee group and villagers were only allowed to go out from 5am to 5pm. Due to the harassments by Pyu Saw Htee group, villagers from Kinmon village fled from their homes and stayed in nearby villages.

Ayeyarwaddy Region also saw large scale arbitrary arrests this week. In Maubin and Ingapu townships, about 60 civilians, including a 70-year-old grandma were arrested by the regime forces on October 13 and 14. Detained persons included volunteers from local social welfare groups and university students. DVB News reported that these civilians were accused of supporting People Defense Forces (PDFs) and were beaten up during the interrogation. In Pathein and Bogale towns, another parts of Ayeyarwaddy Region, junta forces were raiding villages and searching for PDFs. Local villagers also said that drunken soldiers cursed swear words every night while patrolling. Regime soldiers are harassing the public both mentally and physically.

On the other hand, PDFs, with their guerrilla warfare, are getting stronger in attacking the regime forces. In Khin-U township of Sagaing Region, Khin-U PDF and Shwebo Thunder Storm group jointly detonated landmines at the regime forces this morning around 7am, killing 12 regime soldiers. In Chin State, clashes broke out between regime forces and the combined forces of Chin National Army (CNA) and Chinland Defense Force (CDF) on October 13 and 14 in Hakha and Falam townships. During the clashes, at least five regime soldiers died and no injury from Chin resistance forces according to CNA spokesperson Salai Htet Ni.

We have previously reported that the regime has been sending reinforcement to launch massive military operations to attack resistance forces in Sagaing, Magway regions and Chin State. Today, DVB News reported that about 300 regime troops from Putao township, Kachin State were transferred to Sagaing Region with military planes on October 14. No doubt, the military regime will use both infantry and air forces to crash the resistance forces. As severe attacks in these regions are imminent, netizens encourage one another to support resistance forces so that they will be prepared when the regime launches the massive attack. This evening, British Embassy Yangon issued a statement that it is closely following the news of the continued troops build ups in the areas, and that it would continue to work closely with the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar to document the violence against civilians. 

Yesterday was quite an eventful day for Karenni (Kayah) State. Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) dynamited the regime’s troops in the morning of October 14, killing three and injuring at least four from the regime side. In the afternoon, another shootout broke out and regime forces used artillery shelling and torched civilians’ homes in Loikaw township. Another Karenni resistance group Karenni Army (KnA) also confronted the regime forces in Hpasaung township in the evening. Details of the clash is yet to be updated. 

Since February, majority of the public has refused to pay electricity bill as civil disobedience movement (CDM) and it has been more than eight months that the regime’s income has been crippled. Desperate for income, the electricity supply employees, guarded by regime soliders, were forcibly collecting electricity bills in Hlaing Tharyar township in Yangon today. A local told DVB News that the electricity supply employees collected the bills on the spot, and when the house owner could not pay the large sum, they cut off the electricity cables right away. Similar bill collecting incidents were also reported in Thaketa township of Yangon as well. 

Despite the heavy military presence, multiple bomb blasts were reported in Yangon today. In Thanlyin township, a bomb blasted near a security check point around 8am this morning, and no injury was reported from the incident. Around 11am in Yangon city center, an explosion took place at Revenue Office in Kyauktada township. Free Tiger Ranger group claimed the responsibly and said that the office had been forcibly collecting taxes from the public. Around 5pm in Tarmwe township, a grenade was thrown inside a military truck but it only exploded outside the truck. As retaliation, regime soldiers opened fire but details were yet to be shared.

Anti-regime protests are still carried out in many parts of the country. Today in Yangon, a guerrilla protest was organized and the vinyl of Min Aung Hlaing was burned on the street. Several townships in Sagaing Region continued to stage marching strikes despite the regime’s reinforcements. Protests were also observed in Launglon township of Taninthayi Region today.

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