Freedom Memoirs – Day 260

A total of 5,600 people arrested or subject to arrest warrants for taking part in anti-coup protests since the military committed a coup in February would be released, Min Aung Hlaing said this morning. The news come just two days after a formal decision was announced that he would not be welcome at the ASEAN Summit. This shows how much the junta crave the legitimacy from ASEAN whereas it had done little in response to the economic sanctions from western countries previously. The people of Myanmar are aware that the coup leader & co are only releasing the detainees because they are hoping ASEAN would take a U-turn and accept them at the summit. We hope ASEAN realize their role in this crisis and hold the junta accountable for further steps to restore democracy in our country.

Min Aung Hlaing also added in his speech this morning that ASEAN has been only pressuring his side and not National Unity Government (NUG), Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) and Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs).  However, what he failed to mention was it was his army; not NUG, not CRPH nor EAOs, that committed a coup, overthrowing the legally elected government. Regardless, we are overwhelmed with the thought of welcoming back some of our heroes who have been unlawfully detained and the return of them will be a huge boost for the revolution. According to Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP)’s this morning’s data, over 7,300 people remain under detention, and we must keep calling for the release of the rest.  

Despite their master’s plan to free the political prisoners, some of junta’s forces did not seem to receive a memo this morning. A morning protest in Mandalay was violently cracked down around 8am and many youths were reportedly injured. As usual, junta’s soldiers in cars rammed into the protest scene with full speed, injuring, and abducting the demonstrators altogether. A few youths were abducted and about 10 motorbikes were seized, according to Khit Thit Media. Also, in Launglon Township, Dawei District of Tanintharyi Region, regime’s soldiers have abducted 21 adult men in Kyautsin Village following a murder of one of their lackeys on October 11, Mizzima reported. Moreover, residents in Myaung Township, Sagaing Region have been facing continuous harassment from junta’s forces as they rob and threaten those farmers on plantation, so the locals no longer go to work although it’s harvest season for sesame according to DVB news.

Khit Thit Media reported that regime’s soldiers have killed at least eight civilians within a week after accusing them of being People’s Defense Force (PDF) members in Sagaing Region. This morning in Yonetaw Village, Shwebo Township, a villager was accused of being a PDF and shot to death. Yesterday morning near Sartaung Town, three civilians; Ko Zaw Htet Aung (a technical university student), Ko Zaw Myo Ko KO and another unnamed person, were also shot and killed after being suspected as PDFs. Two more civilians called Ko Thet Naing Oo and U Marga too were murdered by junta’s forces in Ayardaw Township on October 15 following a detonated attack. Similarly, a local youth called Ko Than Naing from Kinmontaw Village was killed during a raid and two others were injured and abducted on October 13. Two local youths were also killed on the spot when regime’s soldiers raided Nyaungkhine Village on October 12.

As usual, attacks on junta’s lackeys and properties continued. Mandalay alone recorded five explosions; four took place in different internal revenue departments and one occurred at the regional municipal office. Kawlin PDF from Sagaing also announced they had captured and destroyed three trucks worth of military-owned beer stocks such as Myanmar, Dagon, and Andaman Gold on Shwebo-Myitkyina Road on October 17. Junta’s forces took some losses on the warfare front as well. Three military personnel including a major were attacked and killed by local PDF as they were traveling in private cars from Thabeikkyin to Hteegyaint in Mandalay Region last night. In Monekoe Township from Shan North where clashes have been reported recently, junta’s forces carried out offensives and shelled artillery various times to occupy MNDAA’s outpost in Sutoungtaung Hill; however, the overnight battle was halted this morning as junta’s forces have retreated after losing at least 50 soldiers, according to The Kokang.

Since the coup, some people especially youths attempt to leave the country whether to pursue further education or to seek job opportunities. Khit Thit Media reported today that there has been strict inspection at the immigration since October 15 and some of the travelers were denied boarding the planes. Generally, passports are issued in Myanmar with two main purposes such as Purpose of Job (PJ) and Purpose of Visit (PV) and those who hold PV books are not allowed to travel with work visa anymore and vice versa. It has never been a serious issue during the NLD government’s term, and it seems those on immigration duty are keen to make one last desperate attempt at squeezing money out of travelers, just like the old times under the previous military juntas.

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