Freedom Memoirs – Day 258

Coup leader Min Aung Hlaing will be excluded from the upcoming ASEAN summit to be held from October 26-28, the decision was made during the emergency meeting between foreign ministers. ASEAN’s current chair Brunei said a non-political figure will be instead invited to represent Myanmar. If the junta military does not accept the arrangement, the seat will be left vacant, Reuters reported. Details on how the non-political figure will be selected remains undisclosed; however, it was a bold move considering ASEAN’s history of staying out of each other’s affairs. Singapore’s foreign ministry said the move was a “difficult but necessary decision to uphold ASEAN’s credibility” while Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi showed even tougher stance by saying junta “should not be represented at the political level until Myanmar restores its democracy through an inclusive process”.

In addition to diplomatic means, junta’s forces have been defeated heavily on warfront as well. Early morning on October 15 around 4am, regime’s soldiers arriving at Khin-U Township, Sagaing Region were attacked with landmines by guerrilla forces from Shwebo and Khin-U. Junta’s side was about 200 soldiers and Pyu Saw Htee members combined and at least 60 were killed, a Khin-U PDF member told DVB. Although no resistance fighter was harmed during the attack, regime’s soldiers abducted 21 unarmed civilians following the incident. Three bomb explosions also took place in heavily manned Maubin Township’s police station last night although no casualty has been verified.

Similar attacks reported in different regions and states. Fox Army HPDF, based in Katha of Kachin State, carried out an ambush and set Innywar Police Station on fire last night, killing one soldier. A military truck was detonated with landmines in Depayin Township, Sagaing Region and at least two were injured and the vehicle was destroyed. A bomb also exploded in Myawaddy bank, Naypyitaw last night and rumors said two soldiers on duty were killed. Naypyitaw PDF claimed responsibility. A clash broke out between CDF-Thantlang and junta’s forces yesterday and one soldier was reportedly killed, according to Zalen, Chin-based media. CDF-Thantlang also said that regime’s soldiers that want to defect to the people’s side will be wholeheartedly welcomed.

Also this morning, a convoy of Lieutenant-General Than Hlaing was detonated with landmines in Myaung Township, Sagaing Region and at least ten military personnel were killed. The attack was jointly carried out by 13 resistance forces including TGR People Defense Force (Myaung), MSPDF and 27 Revolution Force (Myingyan). Battle news were reported from ethnic regions as well. Junta’s forces were conducting offensives in Kachin Independence Army’s territory brigade 3 in Bamaw District this morning around 9am, that was responded by detonated landmines, resulting in many deaths according to sources close to KIA. A similar junta’s operation in KIA’s brigade 6 in north Shan was also met with a counterattack from KIA and the battle has been quite intense, a KIA member said to Khit Thit Media. Similarly, back and forth firings between junta’s forces and Shan’s MNDAA were also reported from Monekoe Town, Shan State.

State Administration Council (SAC) has deployed reinforcements in Chin State recently and its forces leaving from Falam to Hakha were attacked on the way by the joint forces of Chin National Army (CNA), Chin National Defense Force (CNDF) and Chinland Defense Force (CDF) on both October 14 and October 15. Retreating to Falam, the same convoy was targeted again on the way back this morning and Chin news reported that a total of seven military vehicles were destroyed and 15 were injured while several could have died although the exact number was not disclosed yet. A CNA spokesperson told Hakha Times that junta’s forces were heading towards Camp Victoria to launch attacks on the headquarters of CNA and now they are stuck on the way and will struggle to retreat any further.

In the meantime, junta seems desperate to restore some friends as it has reportedly released 61 people who were charged under terrorism act due to relations with Arakan Army (AA) yesterday. According to DVB, over 200 people were arrested with the same charges following 2 years of fighting between junta’s army and AA and about 117 people remained under detention to this day. Clashes have significantly slowed down since the coup and SAC removed AA from terrorist list in March. Speaking of SAC’s attempts in making friends, National Unity Government (NUG) announced on October 14 that some foreign Non-State Armed Groups (NSAG) have been settling inside Myanmar territory with the help of the military junta and fighting the People’s Defense Forces (PDF). Although no specific name was mentioned, it could be Meitei rebel fighters from India, according to an article from The Irrawaddy.

Since she was detained on February 1, the only news the people of Myanmar heard of the State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi is through her lawyers who meet the lady during weekly trials. The lawyers inform the public the lady’s trial updates, passing messages and health situation. However, Lawyer U Khin Maung Zaw, the head of her legal team, said yesterday that junta has imposed a gaging order on him, fearing his communications may cause instability. Today, the order has been extended on two more lawyers of the team and it may have effectively cut off the only communication route between the State Counsellor and the people of Myanmar.

Despite the growing armed resistance, peaceful demonstrations are still witnessed everyday across the country. Protests were staged in many shapes and forms in Ayardaw, Sarlingyi, Latpadaung, Yinmapin townships of Sagaing Region, Hpakant, Kachin State, Dawei of Tanintharyi Region, Yangon and Mandalay, etc.

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