Freedom Memoirs – Day 289

On Frontier’s US journalist Danny Fenster, State Administration Council (SAC)’s spokesman Zaw Min Tun said Danny was released on “humanitarian grounds” at the request of Mr. Richardson and representatives of two Japanese organizations close to Myanmar, Yohei Sasakawa, president of the Nippon Foundation, and Hideo Watanabe, chairman of the Japan Myanmar Association, The New York Times reported. However, the release is unlikely to improve junta’s stained diplomatic terms with the United States, Zaw Min Tun stressed it during a brief interview with NY Times, “We did not release him with that expectation.” About 126 journalists have been abducted since the coup and 47 remain behind bars. For most of them, Mr. Richardson or Mr. Sasakwa may not be much help. 

Following an attack on junta’s police station in Htantapin Township of Yangon yesterday, a civilian was killed by regime soldiers during a violent car chase. The attack took place around 11:30am yesterday and was recorded as members of People Defense Force (PDF) inside a white SUV opened fire at the policemen. Later in the afternoon, four youths including Ko Zin Ko Htet were on their way back to Yangon in a black SUV which was followed and brutally shot by junta’s forces who thought it was the same car that had attacked them. Twenty-five-year-old Ko Zin Ko Htet, a resident of Mayangone Township, was killed on the spot while three of his friends were injured and abducted. Although their mistake was obvious, junta’s soldiers stood by their story and framed the victims as the real culprits. Although many are relieved the very men responsible for the attack have escaped, it is indeed heartbreaking to hear the tragedy of Ko Zin Ko Htet and his family.

Another attack we overlook to report yesterday was the detonation of landmines at the junta’s convoy carrying Dr Htay Aung, the Minister for Hotel and Tourism who was at Chaung Tha beach for the opening ceremony of tourism season. Joint local PDFs including Pathein Western Defense Force (PWDF) claim responsibility of the ambush which took place around 3:45pm that was followed by back-and-forth firings for about five minutes. At least 10 junta’s soldiers were killed during the attack, according to unverified sources. Many passenger vehicles were stopped and inspected thorough while about ten civilians were abducted from nearby villages. Record number of four battles also took place in Pale Township, Sagaing Region in yesterday alone between Pale PDF and junta’s forces where at least 500 to 1000 military personnel have been deployed in the area.

As civilians find various creative ways to protect themselves via armed means, junta’s forces struggle to match them on level playing field and come up with ridiculous rules. In Myeik Town of Tanintharyi Region, junta’s soldiers announced that people are banned to ride motorbikes with a passenger, and if anyone is found violating the rule, they will shoot without question commencing November 20. Because many cases of attacks on junta’s lackeys have been from motorbikes where a passenger shoots the target while another one up-front drives to safety, such rule has been imposed in most areas of the country including Hlaingthaya, Pathein, etc. 

On battle news, it’s a sad day as we lost some of our resistance fighters. A PDF outpost in Kalay Township, Sagaing Region was ambushed and occupied by junta’s forces in which at least eight female PDF members from medical team were abducted. The morning raid started since 10am in the morning and it has been one-sided battle due to the unmatched manpower and weaponry. Kalay PDF has called for all the resistance forces across the country to riot in order to reduce pressure in Kalay. Three PDF members were also murdered in cold blood by regime soldiers in Mingin Township, Sagaing Region early morning on November 15. The victims were on their way for morning security duty when they were shot and killed. The dead bodies were only collected at night and had signs of torture even after death, a Mingin PDF member told The Irrawaddy. 

Khit Thit Media reported that seven civilians were killed by SAC’s soldiers across the country yesterday and today. Four people were killed in Mingin Township by Pyu Saw Htee members and regime soldiers yesterday. They were shot in the head before the bodies were burned. Ko Kyaw Thu Win from Labutta Town of Ayeyarwaddy Region who was abducted on November 12 related to a couple of bomb attacks in the area was reportedly killed during interrogation. A mentally challenged person from Ye-U Township of Sagaing Region was also shot and killed by regime soldiers because he did not run away on their approach. In the same region, a villager from Shwebo Township was shot and killed when the soldiers came to the village to arrest the Village NLD Chairman.

The much-anticipated press conference of the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) was held this morning. NUCC, a legal body to build federal union in Myanmar, was formed to offer check and balance to the parliament and government. Here are some highlights from the press conference: NUCC consists of eight ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) including Chin National Front (CNF), Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), Karen National Union (KNU); international governments are willing to engage with National Unity Government (NUG) and formal legal procedures to be followed; when federal army is eventually formed, it will come under civilian rule, an interim constitution for federal state will be proposed in the first parliament to be held in December.

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