Freedom Memoirs – Day 317

It’s been a tense situation in Karen State. Junta’s forces have entered Lay Kay Kaw Town in Karen National Union (KNU)’s Brigade 6 territory since early this morning and conducting searches and arresting people all day today. Initial reports from Khit Thit Media described that at least 13 people have been abducted so far including U Wai Lin Aung, an elected member of parliament from Ayawaddy Region. Lay Kay Kaw was built during Thein Sein’s reign as a peace town between KNU and then government under guidance of Nippon Foundation and currently a home to those wanted by Min Aung Hlaing’s soldiers for either protesting or joining Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) since the coup.

There are many speculations around why KNU has allowed junta’s forces in their territory, effectively giving up the refugees. KNU’s Brigade 5’s spokesperson Padoh Mahn Mahn talked to Karen Information Center – KIC to provide his thoughts. He said the area was never once clear of regime’s control, it was built in the first place by military to use as a leverage in a situation like this. Today had been coming and KNU even informed NUG about the potential danger in the area; however, he did not give more insights on why regime soldiers were let in without much trouble. He added that today’s event had proved that National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) was no longer effective and that four different Karen armed groups should act in the best interest of the people and the revolution. On the potential outlook, he said KNU is ready to respond whatever comes at them, via different forms, either administrative means, political means or armed means. 

Growing tensions in Karen State must not take the attention away from inhuman acts going on inside Insein Prison as well. The 89 detainees who participated in Silent Strike on December 10 have remained in solitary confinements. Leaders among them such as Ko Zaw Htet Naing, CEC of All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU), Ko Thuta Soe, the former chair of Yankin Education College, Ko Wai Yan Phyo Moe, the vice chair of ABFSU and Ko Lay Pyay Soe Moe, the representative of Yangon University’s Students’ Union have been beaten terribly and refused of a medical treatment. Ko Zaw Htet Aung reportedly remains unconscious due to extreme torture. We must keep calling for their release and proper medical treatment before the whole world forgets about them. 

Speaking of junta’s forces’ forced intervention in different locations, a news came from Tanintharyi Region today that two vehicles from a monastery in Thayetchaung Township were seized because the abbot refused to let regime soldiers deploy in his monastery compound. Similarly on December 9, a monk from Launglon Township was abducted for the same reason, denying overnight stay to junta soldiers. Since the coup, Min Aung Hlaing’s armed forces have been deployed in schools and monasteries to monitor nearby environment as well as to ensure their safety.

Another heartbreaking news of today was the murder of a freelance journalist/graphic designer Ko Soe Naing who became another victim of junta’s notorious interrogation centers. Ko Soe Naing was abducted by regime soldiers on December 10, the Silent Strike Day for taking pictures on the streets in Yangon’s Latha Township along with another photographer called Ko Zaw Tun. Three days later, his family was informed of his death. No news of another detained photographer has been made public so far. About 90 people have been killed by junta’s forces in interrogation centers and Ko Soe Naing has become the first journalist murdered in such horrendous way.

Battle news continued today. A military convoy carrying two junta-appointed ministers of Yangon was detonated with landmines in Hmawbi Township this afternoon. At least two vehicles were destroyed in the attack which was carried out by the joint forces of Hmawbi PDF and Hmawbi Youths Army. A clash took place in Kyaukhtu Township on the border of Magway Region and Chin State where junta’s forces were ambushed by CDF and Kyaukhtu PDF. The battle went on for two hours and claimed the lives of at least five of junta’s soldiers, according to Kyauthtu PDF. Another detonation attack on regime’s military convoy was witnessed in Sagaing Region’s Pale Township in which many regime soldiers were reportedly injured, and one resistance fighter was killed. The ambushed was carried out by the joint forces of PRA and Pale People’s Defence Force – Headquarters.

An interesting remark came from Min Aung Hlaing during a routine meeting with his lackeys on December 13. He said that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is at liberty to comment regarding Committee Representing Parliament of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) and National Unity Government (NUG) through her lawyers. Oddly enough, the state counsellor’s legal team has been imposed of a gagging order not so long ago for doing exactly that, delivering the lady’s messages to the public. A lawyer was quoted talking to Mizzima News that Min Aung Hlaing must feel inferior to the resistance movement hence he may have been trying to find a compromising route through Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who was never a believer of armed movement. The lady has refused to make any concrete remark on the current situation and armed resistance so far except that she is in support of the people.

We would like to end today’s note by calling for international community to demand the proper medical treatment and the release of detainees in Insein Prison who have been beaten and tortured for staging the silent strike on December 10, to spread awareness for ongoing raids in Lay Kay Kaw Town and to seek justice for Ko Soe Naing, the journalist/designer killed in interrogation.

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