Freedom Memoirs – Day 323

by mohingamatters

According to The Karen Post, Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) leaders held a meeting with the central Karen National Union (KNU) committee leaders regarding the Lay Kay Kaw Crisis as the junta and Karen army continue to fight in all seven brigades. KNU also extended their offer to give support to anyone who is affected by the violence committed by the junta’s forces. Earlier, KNU issued an official order allowing all seven brigades to launch offensive attacks on any junta’s soldiers forcing into the KNU’s territory. During five-day clashes with the junta’s troops, NUG and local sources reported more than 100 junta’s soldiers have been killed. This evening, KNU also requested people not to rush in celebrating the defeat of junta’s outposts on social media so quickly as it will harm the situations on the ground. With worry over the military’s airstrikes, close to 3000 villagers from Lay Kay Kaw are waiting to escape into the Thai border as Thailand has closed its border since yesterday’s evening. 

Military has been waging wars on all fronts, and frequently being attacked by people forces at the same time. Today at 8am, two military trucks transporting rations were dynamited which led to the deaths of two soldiers in Yangon’s Thongwa Township. In the Shwebo-Mandalay route, military trucks were also detonated with mines though casualties are unknown. In Mandalay’s Myingyan, one military truck was attacked by the local guerrilla force which led to the deaths of three soldiers. In Sagaing’s Kani township, the seven-day clashes (December 12-18) around Chindwin River cost more than 90 soldiers’ lives with a military’s transport ship being destroyed. 

Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) told the media that the junta’s forces made several attempts at launching attacks both on land and air onto MNDAA’s outposts. Fortunately, MNDAA defensive war defeated the junta’s forces which led to more than 70 soldiers’ deaths with seizure of a large number of the weapons. MNDAA warned that the junta’s forces might advance more in coming days. Today, Graduation Ceremony of Batch (45), basic military training of Chin National Army (CNA), was held at a CNA’s controlled territory.

Torture to death, arbitrary arrests and burning of homes continue nevertheless. A couple from Pyi Gyi Takhon, Ko Thae Htwe Maung and Ma Nan, were arrested on December 13 around 11 am. About 30 members of regime forces raided the couple’s house and forcibly took them to the interrogation center accusing them of supporting PDF. When the husband and wife denied the accusation, the husband was threatened that his wife would be shot dead. As the husband chose silence, the wife was shot dead in front of him. When he groaned in agony upon her death, he too was shot dead. The couple was survived by a ten-year-old son. Their bodies were cremated by the junta on December 15 without informing the remaining family members. Similarly, more than nine youths were arrested in Rakhine State with accusations of supporting PDF. The student leader of Student Union of the East Yangon University, Ma Su Yee Lin, and the freelance photographer, Ko Zaw Lin, who were on the way to the protest were arrested. 

Today, international media, BBC News, reported that the Myanmar military carried out a series of mass killings of civilians in July in Sagaing’s Kani township that resulted in the deaths of at least 40 men. Detailed accounts of witnesses and survivors are horrifying. BBC reported, “Eyewitnesses and survivors told that some as young as 17 were tortured to death. Those killed were tortured first and buried in shallow graves. The largest killing took place in Yin village, where at least 14 men were tortured or beaten to death. A survivor said, “The victims were tied up, beaten with stones and rifle butts and tortured all day.” Some 12 bodies found in Zee Bin village were mutilated including of a small body, of a child, and of a disabled person. The body of a man in sixties was found tied to a plum tree.” When BBC contacted the SAC’s Chief spokesperson General Zaw Min Tun for the killings, he simply replied that, “It can happen when they treat us as enemies, we have the right to defend ourselves.” 

Military’s burning of civilians’ homes and villages has been one of the tactics to stop the resistance movement. Since December 13, more than 1000 villagers from Kaebar Village of Ayardaw Township, Sagaing, have not been able to go back home due to security threat from the junta’s forces. More than 60 households were set ablaze by the forces. This morning, Loikaw township’s Konnar Klo Khu village was set ablaze by the junta’s forces. They were firing random shots into the village at the same time. On December 18, northeast of Loikaw town, on the Shan-Kayah border, more than four villages were burnt down by the junta’s forces. 

Other news on Myanmar includes the impact of natural resources destruction which is also connected to the military’s and their cronies’ business empire that had enriched themselves at expense of nature and the people’s livelihoods. The landslide occurred near Mana Maw in Kachin State on December 19. Rescue workers told Mizzima that at least 10 people are missing after a landslide occurred while searching for jade with machines at a jade mining site in Hpakant Township, and there is little chance of them being found alive. The trial of two charges of Telecommunications Law and Export-Import Law against the State Counsellor, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was postponed until next week. The court also decided that Mandalay Chief Minister, Dr. Zaw Myint Maung, can testify for the State Counsellor on natural disaster law via video conference. 

On the international front, Human Rights Watch (HRW) found that eight Myanmar military cadets have been trained at the National Defence Academy of Japan as of December 10. The program includes combat and arms training. HRW calls for immediate suspension of the program and any other ties with the Myanmar military that is committing crimes against humanity to Myanmar people.

As usual, many brave protesters still come out and march on the streets across Myanmar such as Mandalay, Monywa, Yangon, Kalay, Yinmarbin and Sarlingyi.

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