Freedom Memoirs – Day 330

As early as 3am this morning, Chin World News reported that the sounds of heavy artillery shelling were heard in Kalay Town, Tahan Ward in Sagaing Region. Around 5am, Taung Zalat Ward Administration office in Kalay Town was burned and destroyed according to Chin World. In addition, regime soldiers burned and destroyed five civilians’ home in Than Pho Village in southern part of Kalay Town. More troops were stationed in a nearby village as well, DVB News reported. Despite the unsettling morning, Kalay residents staged its 323rd day of marching rally, holding protest signs which read, “The scariest weapon that the enemy uses is not heavy artillery or airstrike, but creating divisions among us to disrupt our unity”. Once again, while showing resilience, the people of Kalay Town warns us that we cannot underestimate the military regime. 

Explosions were reported in big cities as well. Last night around 7pm, a bomb blasted in the parking lot of Thiri Mingalar Market in Yangon. After the explosion, regime soldiers arrived to investigate the blast. While they conducted the investigation, shop owners and workers from the market were told to assemble at the parking lot. Around 11:45, they were dismissed from assembly as the soldiers finished the search. After the investigation, shop owners found that they lost a large sum of money stored in their shops. One shop owner told Khit Thit Media that desk drawers and small safes were destroyed and money stored inside those were taken by regime soldiers and market’s municipal staff. Due to the bomb blast, one person was injured, and vendors and workers from the market doubted if the blast was doing of resistance fighters. 

In Mandalay, an explosion was reported at Mandalay District Court around 10am this morning. A local told Irrawaddy News that the bomb blast was very loud, and since it was working hour, injury could be expected but details are yet to be reported. After the blast, junta’s forces arrived at the court, blocking the streets and investigated. This marked the third time the district court saw bomb attack, and no group has claimed responsibility yet.

On December 25, we reported that the combined forces of Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and people defense forces (PDF) retreated from an outpost in Maewarkhee Village in Karen State due to heavy attack by junta forces. Today, Irrawaddy News reported that the people forces have once again reoccupied Maewarkhee outpost, and controlled until Mae Htaw Talay. The combined forces include KNLA, PDF, Karen National Defense Organization (KNDO), Democratic Karen Buddhists Army (DKBA). The coalition forces launched an attack at 4am this morning and by 2pm, the forces gained control of the area. Sources from the ground also told Irrawaddy that regime forces launched airstrikes with fighter jets after the occupation. Details of the battle are yet to be disclosed. 

News from Insein prison came that Daw Than Myint Aung, Yangon City Development Committee member and philanthropist/writer, received three years of jail time with hard labor. She was detained on the morning of February 1 before the announcement of the coup. Similar verdict was delivered to actor and model Paing Takhon today. On the other hand, verdicts for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s walkie-talkie case were moved to January 10 by junta court. This marked second time the verdicts were postponed for the detained leader.

Never a day goes without devastating news for the people of Myanmar. Today, Yangon University Geology Department announced the passing of third year student Ko Aung Phone Kyaw. The young student was arrested by regime forces on December 26 in Tarmwe Township, and died at the interrogation center on December 27 due to severe torture of regime soldiers. Another student Ko Thura Aung was also abducted on the same day as Ko Aung Kyaw Phone, but his situation is unknown according to Yangon University Students’ Union. 

While youths are being targeted by the regime, their families are also not spared. Vice chair of Dawei University Students’ Union Ma Thiri Moe told DVB News today that her mother Daw Thet Thet Htwe received two years of imprisonment with hard labor today. Her mother and younger sister were taken as hostages on November 8 when regime soldiers could not locate the student leader. Younger sister Shwe Yee Moe was released three days later but the mother Daw Thet Thet Htwe was pressed charges with sedition law. During the court hearings, the mother was told that if her daughter turned herself in, she would be released. Yet, the family did not have any contact with Ma Thiri Moe for more than 11 months now. 

On Christmas Day, we reported the mass killing of 35 civilians in Hpruso Town in Karenni (Kayah) State. Today, Karenni National Defense Force (KNDF) and Karenni State Police (KSP) requested the public to collect evidences of the mass killing and share with them. The resistance forces called on the family members of the deceased to provide details of their loved ones as the groups plan to work with international organisations to bring justice for victims of the mass killing. Latest news from Khit Thit media reported that regime forces have been launching heavy artillery to the location where villagers came to collect evidences. Min Aung Hlaing’s forces try to destroy evidence of their crimes, but the world has already seen what they have been doing to the people. They will be held accountable this time.

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