Freedom Memoirs – Day 268

Last night, the US Embassy Rangoon and UK in Myanmar posted on social media that they “are deeply concerned by the reports of serious injury to Ko Jimmy and to other detainees at the hands of the Myanmar military”. Ko Jimmy @ Ko Kyaw Min Yu, a prominent pro-democracy activist, was detained by the junta’s forces on the night of October 23 and severely injured in the process. His wife, Ma Nilar Thein, also a fellow veteran of 1988 revolution expressed deepest concerns for her husband’s wellbeing saying, “I am afraid that I won’t see him alive” again. Initial news mentioned that Ko Jimmy was unconscious and admitted into Defense Services General Hospital and reportedly required a head surgery. However, State Administration Council (SAC) is yet to acknowledge the arrest of the man, let alone his health condition. 

SAC has been facing defeats on the diplomatic front lately. Junta’s foreign ministry last night released a statement that said either the coup leader Min Aung Hlaing or a union minister level must be invited to ASEAN Summit, and they would not send any lower position to represent the country, citing the violation of those ASEAN’s principles in barring the self-appointed prime minister of Myanmar. As such, SAC rejected to send the country’s highest-ranking veteran diplomat, Chan Aye who was invited as the country’s “non-political” representative. Therefore, the ASEAN’s 38th and 39th summits began today minus the representative from Myanmar. And many leaders reportedly criticised the junta for both failing to send the invitee and ignoring the peace roadmaps agreed six months ago. Ismail Sabri, the prime minister of Malaysia tweeted “Malaysia fully supports the decision made by the ASEAN Chair on the issue of representation from Myanmar”. 

In contrast, National Unity Government (NUG) has made quite some progress in the foreign affairs. NUG’s interim president Duwa Lashi La and the foreign minister Daw Zin Mar Aung met virtually with the US’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on October 25 in which Mr. Sullivan underscored continued US support for the pro-democracy movement in Burma. They also went on and discussed ongoing efforts to restore Burma’s path to democracy. The news was shared by the US Embassy Rangoon Facebook Page and overwhelmingly welcomed by the public and some interpreted the move as an official recognition towards NUG. Moreover, NUG appointed an ambassador to the ASEAN on October 24. The appointee is U Bo Hla Tint who had served in the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB) as a foreign mister until 2012. It is unknown yet whether the ASEAN has accepted or will accept the appointment. 

Regardless of triumphs on the international front, people are still suffering from the junta’s atrocities on daily basis. Early this morning around 4am in Bago Region, about 100 junta’s forces raided Kyopin Village in Paungde Township where they ordered people to gather around in a local monastery before they went on to beat them up. A villager named Ko Chit Shine was reportedly shot and killed. Either to impress their supervisor or cover up their crimes, regime’s soldiers planted a gun beside the dead body to make it look like he was a member of the People Defense Forces (PDF) and took photographs. At least five other villagers were severely injured as well. Similarly, in Dawei Town of Tanintaryi Region, junta’s forces abducted two youths called Ko Htet Wai Naing and Ko Than Soe Oo on October 23 and informed their families to collect the dead bodies on October 24. Both bodies were found with eight bullets and eleven respectively.   

On warfront, Myaung Special People’s Defense Force (MSPDF) shared a news that about 100 junta’s forces advanced into Myaung Township of Sagaing Region yesterday morning around 6am and nine local people forces including MSPDF and 27 Revolution Forces had to defend the territory. Consequently, a clash broke out in which one resistance fighter and six junta’s soldiers were killed. MSPDF also reported that junta’s forces abducted three villagers in a day prior to the battle. Meanwhile in Mindat, about 80 junta’s military trucks including two tanks have been deployed in Layshee Village on Mindat-Matupi Road since October 21 and junta’s forces have been terrorizing on civilians and looting their properties from blankets to food supplies. All communication routes have also been shut in the area. Locals have had to abandon their hourses to avoid death; however, they are instead facing the unkind weather without much protection as the village is located at an altitude of 9,000 ft. 

As usual, demonstrations were observed in many different regions of the country. Night protests were staged in Monywa, Myaing, Dawei and Mandalay. Several people also participated in day-time protests in Tanze, Yinmabin, Latpadaung, Sarlingyi, Yephyu, Kalay regions, to name a few. Due to the growing international recognition towards NUG, we are more hopeful and optimistic towards the federal goal; however, the junta does not seem willing to give up the power easily as it continues terrorizing on the people with even more violence every day.

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