Freedom Memoirs – Day 342

Following the situation in Kayah (Karenni) State where intense battle broke out yesterday, it was reported that regime forces used air strikes around 3pm today. A local source told Khit Thit Media that fighter jets were flying around and dropping bombs which meant that regime forces had been severely defeated. It has been widely accepted that whenever Min Aung Hlaing’s forces face defeat, they resort to aerial attacks on civilians. Sources also said that military armoured vehicles entered Downtown Loikaw and clashes resumed today. A local blog named Karenni Guys wrote that as of 6:50pm in Demoso Township, at least 18 civilian homes were torched in San Pya Six Mile village tract, and in Mon Pya Ward of Laikaw Town, four artillery shells fell in residential area  resulting in residents having to flee from their homes. 

They say evils get no rest, but the irony is Min Aung Hlaing’s soldiers do not take a break on purpose. This morning in Karen State, regime forces launched heavy artillery shelling to Myo Haung Village in Kawkareik Township. Due to the attack, a total of six women and one man were injured. Among the injured persons, the life of one elder woman is at risk according to Karen National Union (KNU)’s announcement. Civilians’ homes and a monastery from Myo Haung Village were also destroyed because of the shelling. In Mon State, Ye Township, it was reported this morning that movements of regime soldiers were observed near Dhamma Bala Phalam Village, which is the territory controlled by New Mon State Party (NMSP). The movement worries local farmers for potential clashes since KNU also moves around in the area. Locals speculated that regime soldiers came to NMSP territory to search for members of people defense forces (PDF).

In Thahton Town of Mon State, at least 15 youths were arrested from January 2 to 8, DVB News reported. Majority of the arrested youths are in their 20s but three underage young persons were also detained according to a local source. Regime soldiers have been arresting youth for partaking in protests and associating with PDFs. The detained youths are currently at an interrogation center in Thahton, and no contact has been made to their respective families. In Myingyan City of Mandalay Region, Aung Myo Thant, a university freshman, was accused as a PDF member and arrested on January 6. It turned out that regime soldiers actually wanted his brother Paing Phone Maw, who is chairperson of Meikhtila University of Economics Students’ Union, but when the older brother couldn’t be found, they detained the younger brother as a hostage. 

Resistance forces are also hard at work. This week, Myo Hla PDF and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) jointly attacked navy boats travelling in Ayeyarwardy River near the border of Kachin State and Sagaing Region. The joint forces ambushed the navy boats once in the morning of January 5, and again in January 7, destroying one navy boat and injuring at least 50 regime soldiers. However, due to the retaliation of regime soldiers from the navy boats, livestocks were killed in nearby Paw Law Village. 

Strange news came from Demoso PDF that one sergeant from Battalion 108 of Light Infantry Division 66 based in Pyay, Bago Region defected and joined the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM). What makes the news interesting is that Battlion 108 was the force which committed the Christmas massacre in Hpruso on December 24. The defected sergeant said that higher ranked captains and generals discriminated soldiers and only worked for their personal gains. He no longer wished to attack civilians as enemy, hence, he switched to the people’s side. Demoso PDF transferred the sergeant to Central Command of National Unity Government (NUG). One fewer soldier from Min Aung Hlaing’s side is a gain for our resistance force, but we must not forget that military regime has all the cunning tactics that they are not hesitant to use. 

Good news came from Sagaing Region that teachers who join CDM, parents and PDFs opened self-administered schools in some villages and started teaching to young children on January 6. In some villages, classes open for kindergarten to fourth grade, and schools in other villages accommodate up to eighth grade students. While striking teachers run the schools with parents’ support, local PDF members provide security for students and teachers. One local PDF leader told The Irrawaddy News that education cannot be put on hold during the ongoing revolution. 

Protests are continued to be observed throughout the country. Marching rallies were seen in several townships of Sagaing Region such as Ayardaw, Yinmabin and Depayin. Residents of Launglon Township in Taninthayi Region also came out to the streets with the spirit of revolution. In Downtown Yangon, protesters created funeral services for coup leader Min Aung Hlaing and the visiting Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen. The people of Myanmar have repeatedly show defiance against the military regime. We are amazed to see that there are still political leaders who choose to shake blood-soaked hands of Min Aung Hlaing, turning a blind eye to us.

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