Freedom Memoirs – Day 341

There has been a nightmare in Karenni (Kayah) State today as clashes between regime’s soldiers and local resistance forces have been reported from Loikaw City since this morning around 6am. Previously, fights broke out in Demoso and Hpruso townships of the region but today’s events have taken place in downtown Loikaw, leaving thousands of people displaced. Khit Thit Media reported that junta’s troops located themselves on an 11-storey building of Mainglone Ward and started shooting people on the streets, at least three have been killed so far. Artilleries were reportedly shelled towards civilians’ neighborhood as well, one of which hit a household, killing one and severely injuring five. The whole ward has been blocked in which helpless people including women and children are stuck.

Resistance forces that have been defending against junta in the region are Karenni Nationality Defense Force (KNDF), Karenni Democratic Front (KDF), GZ 21, Karenni Army (KA) and Demoso PDF. Regime’s soldiers excessively used forces and weaponry to attack against civilians and resistance fighters- even a military chopper was seen flying in circle above the main battle zone for at least 20 minutes- according to Mizzima. KDF said that junta’s troops were particularly targeting civilians and vowed to protect the people’s lives at all costs. A spokesperson of KDF also said to Mizzima that battles are intensifying each day and hence they would like to request more weapons and funds for resistance forces from Karenni State. One freedom soldier was killed during today’s battle.

Intense clashes are reported from Matupi Township of Chin State as well. The joint local forces of Chin State such as CDF-Zotung, CDF-Lautu and CDF-Matupi had to defend the intruding junta’s troops yesterday in a location, 20 miles away from Matupi Town. CDF-Matupi released a statement today that junta’s forces abducted and used seven civilians as human shields during the battle. Meanwhile, a few townships of Sagaing Region no longer have access to mobile internet and even short message service (sms) is blocked, according to Khit Thit media. Townships where resistance is strong such as Kani, Pale, Budalin, Yinmabin, Ayardaw and Pinlebu all have encountered the internet and phone shutdown today.  

Min Aung Hlaing’s atrocities continued in Tanintharyi Region as well. A battle took place between his soldiers and local people defense forces (PDF) in Sawphyar Village of Dawei District this morning and afterwards, junta’s convoy was detonated with landmines near Kinshae Village. More troops were reinforced to the area and while they were on the move, regime’s forces put on shooting spree as usual towards civilian’s neighborhood, reportedly targeting youths. Four civilians including three children were shot in the heads as they were accused of being PDF members. Child victims were Khant Zin Htwe, Aung Thet Phyo and Ye Zaw Htike, all of them were younger than 18 years of age.

In other news, the Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has arrived on our soil despite the people of Myanmar requested him otherwise. Hun Sen was welcomed with a red carpet by junta’s Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin and he met with Min Aung Hlaing afterwards. He reportedly said he would extend his two-day trip if the visit benefited for the greater good of Myanmar. However, there is slim chance that Hun Sen would be allowed to meet the detained State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. We were not expecting much from someone like Hun Sen but it is now crystal clear that dictators always tend to side with its own kind, instead of the people.

Speaking of legitimacy, we learn that only five countries had sent courtesy messages to State Administration Council (SAC) on the Myanmar’s 74th Annual Independence Day on January 4 despite having diplomatic relations with 125, according to The Irrawaddy. The article called SAC one of the world’s loneliest administrations and people would not have known that fact if it weren’t for junta’s boasting of those felicitations in its own newspapers. Congratulatory messages came from Russia, Cambodia, Belarus, Serbia and North Korea. The list says it all. Even China and Thailand did not care for it apparently. We realize that no matter how slow international community responds to the crisis of Myanmar in general, there is few people who would go extra mile to provide even a slight legitimacy to Min Aung Hlaing & co. We still have multiple friends on diplomatic front.

Last but not the least, Min Aung Hlaing’s dream of leading a smart country with electric cars and trains may have to wait because it has been announced in his own propaganda newspapers that power outage may occur frequently and randomly between 7am to 11pm on daily basis and people are also urged to save power as much as possible. Blackouts are no stranger to Myanmar people but it’s been a while that we last had to worry about it frequently and randomly. Moreover, junta amended a law yesterday that it would start charging 20,000 MMK tax on the purchase of phone sim cards as well as more tax to be imposed on the internet services. The directive actually said that the increase of such prices is to reduce internet usage of youths and to create more funds for “the government”. We can guarantee you the country is turning into North Korea if we don’t win this revolution.

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