Losing allies in both inside and outside of the country, the military regime attempted to make amend with ethnic armed groups. Junta announced that it dropped charges against 41 people who were sued for having associated with ethnical armed groups under Unlawful Association Act. According to the announcement, 23 people who associated with Kachin Independence Army (KIA), 11 with Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), five in connection with Shan State Progressive Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA), one with Karen National Union/KNLA Peace Council (KNU/KNLA-PC) and one with Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) were dropped from ongoing trials respectively. In the latest report from Mizzima News, only 17 from Kachin State had been released for the time being.
Drop of charges do not slow down the clashes in ethnic areas. This afternoon around 3.30pm, Kokang’s MNDAA forces launched an attack at the outpost of regime’s Light Infantry Division 99 in Pang Hseng, Muse township in Northern Shan State. As a retaliation, regime soldiers responded with indiscriminate shooting which caused one death of a civilian who was inside the house according to Khit Thit Media.
We have previously reported that children suffer the collateral damage of the ongoing conflicts. Yesterday in Matupi town of Chin State, regime forces carried out artillery shelling towards areas where they thought Chinland Defense Forces (CDF) based. However, the artillery shells fell into farmlands and killed a 6-year-old girl on the spot as verified by CDF Matupi. About the same time, a man in his 50s stepped on a landmine near Kar Eain village between Mindat and Matupi towns, and died instantly. According to Myanmar Now media, internet shutdown has been imposed in eight townships in Chin State, except Hakha town since September 23, which disrupt dissemination of news in the state.
Sagaing Region continues to be harassed by the regime forces. DVB News reported that a man from Shwe Ku Te Su village, Khin-U township was abducted from his home by regime soldiers in early morning of October 16, then tortured and interrogated entire day. Around 10pm at night, the 39-year-old Ko Myo Swe was taken to a bridge outside the village and killed. A relative of the deceased told DVB News that due to the torture, the dead body was unrecognisable. While fellow villagers fled to safe places, Ko Myo Swe chose to remain in the village because he was not associated with any resistance forces, but unfortunately, that did not guarantee his life.
Local People Defense Forces (PDFs) are also hard at work. Resistance fighters from Khin-U, Watlat and Yay-U townships, Sagaing Region announced that they killed junta-appointed village tract administrator from Watlat township, two members of pro-military Pyu Saw Htee thug group, and a veteran from Yay-U township on October 16 because these people had been serving as informants for the military regime, and were responsible for several arrests of striking civil servants and young students.
As instability and insecurity increases, crimes are also reported frequently but no accountability is promised. Today in Mandalay City, Pyigyi Takhon township, Maw Thit jewellery store was robbed by four gunmen in the broad daylight. The gunmen arrived with two motorbikes, opened fire at the jewellery store and committed robbery around 1pm. Initial reports said that the shop owner was injured and the amount of robbed items were yet to be confirmed. Similarly in Myitkyina, Kachin State, a girl was robbed by three unknown men, and threatened her with a Kachin sword around 3.30pm yesterday. The robbers took her mobile phone and purse. Myitkyina locals told DVB News that more and more robberies and thefts are were reported recently, and they felt unsafe walking around the city.
Protests are still going strong in many parts of the country. Today, brave people of Mandalay boasted several marching strikes in the city. Taninthayi Region saw protests in Dawei, Yay Phyu and Laungon townships while Sagaing Region went strong with marching strikes in several townships. Yangon protesters came out for nighttime protest in Yangon with torches as well.