Freedom Memoirs – Day 321

From Lay Kay Kaw, flames of war have spread to other townships of Karen State. This evening in Kawkareik Township, a confrontation occurred between regime forces and Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) around 5pm after KNLA forces detonated a military convoy, which consisted of 14 cars and four armoured fighting vehicles, with landmines. The convoy was travelling to Lay Kay Kaw Town where current clashes broke out, but KNLA ambushed on the way. After the detonation, regime forces launched heavy artillery indiscriminately. In Bilin Township of Mon State, the combined forces of KNLA and People’s Defense Forces (PDF) coordinated an attack at Kya Thaung Seik outpost of Border Guard Force (BGF) yesterday morning, and successfully occupied the outpost by the end of the day. While we are excited about regime forces getting defeated, the flames of war means proliferation of displaced persons, which is a crisis that we must not neglect.

Yesterday evening, three artillery shells that regime forces launched fell into Thailand side of the border in Mae Htaw Ta Lay, severely injuring one displaced person from Myanmar. After the shelling, Royal Thai Army responded with two smoke bombs as warning shots according to U Ye Min from Thai Aid Alliance Committee (AAC). Thai security forces also sent the injured person to Mae Sot Public Hospital.

Elsewhere, regime soldiers continued to attack civilians. In Karenni (Kayah) State, junta forces launched artillery shelling to Daw Saw Wae Naung Lon village around 12pm today. The heavy artillery attack was followed by the raid of regime soldiers, destroying and torching five civilians’ homes according to Khit Thit Media. Since regime forces occupied areas near the village, villagers could not enter and extinguish the fire. 

Unfortunate news came from Mandalay City that about 100 urban guerrilla fighters have been arrested from November to December 16, Irrawaddy News reported. Mandalay based Spring Diary group said that guerrilla fighters and support teams in Mandalay were arrested, some were even shot during the abduction. In addition to arrests, weapons were seized and safe houses were also compromised according to Spring Diary group. Almost a year of the coup, Mandalay City boasts with continued guerrilla protests, but these days, security is tightened and more frequent arrests were carried out. A member of Mandalay Phoenix Force (MPF) and Mandalay Dragon appealed to the public to support the resistance forces by sharing the information of regime forces, and remove CCTVs so that they could not be traced by regime forces.

In Gantgaw Township of Magway Region, regime forces launched an aerial attack at Hnan Kha Village where Yaw People Defense Forces (YPDF) were having a meeting yesterday around 2pm. Regime forces shot with machine guns from a military chopper about 45 minutes, and killed nine people both PDF members and civilians. YPDF said that the meeting was attended by leaders from Chinland Defense Force, Sagaing PDF and local resistance forces, totalling up to 150 attendees, and resistance leaders escaped from the attack. YPDF added that since the attack was launched at the exact time of the meeting, the information was leaked from the within, and that, the incident warned all PDF forces to be more careful with information security. 

Meanwhile, military proxy party Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP) announced that the political party has been cooperating with the military in security matters, aiming to restore peace and stability in the country. The announcement came after the USDP meeting in Naypyidaw today. Knowing that USDP is capable of nothing but cunning moves, this statement only alerts us to be more and more vigilant of the possibility of dalan (informants) infiltrating in our every day lives to prevent from further arrests of resistance fighters.

Yesterday, United League of Arakan/Arakan Army (ULA/AA) released a statement which warned that the incidents in Rakhine State could lead to racial conflict. In its statement, ULA/AA highlighted a series of incidents recently took place in the state: on December 9-11, arson attacks took place and burned down barns where rice grains were stored in Auk Ta Kan and Laung Kyat villages in Mrauk-U Township, on December 12, two Muslim men attempted to rape a Rakhine woman in Kyauk Taw Township, and on the same day in Gwa Township, an elementary school was torched, and on December 14, more barns were burned down in Kyauk Taw Township. The ethnic armed group analysed that these incidents could be carried out deliberately by a group which wanted to fuel conflicts in the region, and hence, encouraged the locals to remain vigilant. 

To this day, protests were observed all over the country. Residents from Sagaing Region haven’t slowed down their marching rallies, neither have the residents of Hpakant Town in Kachin State. Yangon and Mandalay also witnessed guerrilla protests that continue igniting the revolution spirit.

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