Freedom Memoirs – Day 273

Despite on ground reports coming out from Chin State’s Thantlang town, the military government’s information team blatantly accused the Chinland Defense Force (CDF) – Thantlang of the blaze which engulfed the town in fire. Regime’s spokesperson Zaw Min Tun told local media yesterday, putting all of the blame on the PDFs. “Our security forces and civil servants tried to stop the fire, but they could not do it as those PDFs attacked them. It was the PDFs who burnt the town, not our Tatmadaw,” Zaw Min Tun shamelessly made this statement. The shelling of the town from the military troops occurred following the capture of a soldier by the local PDFs, according to a Thantlang resident who spoke to AFP. As usual, the military responded as they normally do, the accusations of the military’s role in Thantlang was “groundless”.

The Karen National Union (KNU) issued a statement yesterday, offering its deepest sympathy and support towards residents and people of Chin State whose lives have been terrorized by Min Aung Hlaing’s military troops. The statement said, “We strongly condemn the Myanmar military’s extreme brutality against unarmed civilians and stand together with our brothers and sisters from Chin State to uproot military dictatorship and all forms of authoritarianism.” The KNU also referenced that the burning of houses and destruction in Thantlang town reminded the Karen people of the same “four-cuts operation” that the military used decades ago which burnt down 3,000 Karen villages. The atrocities of Myanmar military troops just never seemed to end. 

The PDF-Zoland also issued a statement today, warning residents of Chin State who don’t speak the native language to stay indoors starting from November 1. The military lackeys had reportedly been impersonating as market sellers; delivery men; construction workers and any other everyday goers and acquiring intel while undercover, so to avoid unnecessary situations, the local defense forces requested the cooperation from the residents to stop traveling around. The statement added that the military lackeys had been tormenting normal civilians and abducting them from their own homes under the guise of arresting PDF members as well as destroying the houses and possessions of the residents, referencing what had happened in Thantlang. 

Last night, six youths from Mandalay’s various educational schools strike columns were grabbed from the house they were all staying together in Mandalay’s Chan Aye Tharzan Township around 11pm. The detained individuals are identified as Ko Naung Htet Aung, former student union leader from Yangon University of Education who is also a former central committee member of All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU); Ko Yan Soe Paing, a member of student union from Mandalay University; Daw Thet Su Hlaing from the General Strike Committee of Basic Education Personnel; a teacher U Naing Thiha Kyaw and two other unidentified persons. A committee member who spoke on condition of anonymity to RFA Burmese said their whereabouts are still not disclosed and their lives are in danger. 

In another news on people’s lives being in danger under military custody, DVB News reported today that a detainee, Ko Kyaw Naing Tun, who was released from Magway Daung Nay prison on October 19, was re-arrested on October 27, and the next day he was reported dead. His family members were informed on October 28 that he had died from COVID-19 and to retrieve his body. His body bore injuries which indicate he was badly tortured at the hands of regime soldiers. His entire head was reportedly soft as if it had been crushed repeatedly according to a source close to his family. Ko Kyaw Naing Tun was arrested under the suspicion of allegedly shooting the ward administrator to death.The source also said there were rumors going around that anyone related or close to him would be arrested, so his family members are worried for their safety. 

Early today, the military convoys in Sagaing Region’s Htigyaint Township and Nothern Shan State were attacked with landmines. In Sagaing Region, a military convoy consisting of two tanks, two trucks and many regime forces were caught into a landmine near Doe Pin village around 4am. Residents said at least 10 soldiers were reportedly killed. In Shan State, a military convoy, consisting of 26 military trucks, was attacked by Kachin Independence Army troops around 2am. No damage or casualties were mentioned at the time of reporting. 

On the political front, the officials from the Arakan Front Party (AFP) said they would be attending the meeting on Proportional Representation Election System, organized by the junta’s government in Yangon in the first week of November. The regime had invited the political parties to send two representatives to attend the meeting and to confirm the attendance before November 1, Mizzima News reported. AFP chair Dr. Aye Maung said he will be attending the meeting with the Secretary U Tun Thein, and that they will be there just to hear what the regime has to say. It seems that some of the political parties are still indulging the regime like this. When it comes to the military’s administration in Myanmar, they should know that the negotiation and talks with the military men are just empty conversations. 

Min Aung Hlaing’s administration is planning to open the basic education schools in some townships across Myanmar starting from November 1. The Basic Education Student Affairs Federation (BESAF) urged the people not to enrol or attend the schools under the control of the military government. The statement from BESAF pointed out the mismanagement of the regime in July by forcing schools to open, which resulted in the uncontrollable outbreak of COVID-19. Now, Min Aung Hlaing’s administration is again forcing schools to open with the promises to the parents that the children under the age of 12 would be vaccinated while the World Health Organization hasn’t even allowed the children under the age of 18 to be vaccinated. The regime hasn’t announced which COVID-19 vaccine will be given to the young students as well. 

One teacher who spoke to DVB News also said that many teachers believe that the schools would be open only in December as they were only informed to form a group on school’s security between October 23 and 29, and many teachers aren’t even ready for schools reopening as they are still in the midst of working on curriculum. BESAF statement also mentioned the safety for the students as more violence and instability are frequent in both rural and metropolitan areas across Myanmar. To protest against the education system controlled by the military, many protests across the country highlighted the message of not wanting a military’s slavery education and urged students and parents not to send their children to school coming Monday. 

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