Freedom Memoirs – Day 343

Tragic killing of nine Chin ethnic people, including a 13-year-old boy, who were detained as local guides by the junta troops was reported today by Mizzima News. The report revealed that about nine displaced people taking refuge in the forest were abducted to use as local guides by the 200-strong contingent from the junta’s Battalion 140 in Chin State’s Matupi Township on the morning of January 6. Reliable sources on the ground said all local detainees had been believed to have been killed as three bodies were discovered so far as of January 9. One of the deceased was reported to be Salai Tui Dim, an editor of the regional news outlet called Khao Nu Thong. He is the third known journalist to have been killed within the 11-month of military rule.

Junta troops across the country continued to be under pressure by the local defense forces’ landmine attacks in Sagaing Region’s Sarlingyi Township, Magway Region’s Saw Township and Mandalay Region’s Pyigyitagon Township today. All the attacks occurred early this morning, starting with a landmine planted on a Mandalay-Lashio train route. A train carrying the Mandalay City Development and Clearance Team was attacked around 8am, causing one carriage to crash and critically injuring one junta cadet. The second attack was against a military convoy containing 50 soldiers that was attacked by a joint effort of local resistance forces on Pathein-Monywa Road around 9:30pm. A member of One Star Task Force told DVB News that the two planted landmines visibly damaged the convoy. The last landmine attack for this morning was in Laung Shay town in Magway Region around 10am in which Laung Shay-PDF attacked the junta troops deployed at the fire station using a remote-controlled landmine.

Of course, the junta troops retaliated by the only way they knew— arbitrarily firing both small and heavy artillery back. Speaking of arbitrary attacks, the junta forces reportedly raided Kyay Sar Kya village in Sagaing Region’s Yinnmabin Township around 12pm today and started firing shots against residential homes, according to the residents who spoke to Khit Thit Media. Around five houses were initially torched and destroyed, causing most residents to flee for their lives. But after the junta forces left, their convoy was attacked by a landmine, and they returned back to fire more heavy artillery, and another resident’s home was destroyed as well. A total of six houses were destroyed in the junta’s attempt to terrorize normal civilians for no apparent reason today. Their barbaric attack didn’t just end with destroying homes.

An express bus traveling from Karenni (Kayah) State to Shan State was attacked early by the junta forces this morning on the outskirts of Loikaw as well. The junta forces reportedly shot at the express bus as it left for Taunggyi around 7am this morning. Khit Thit Media published photos of the bus bearing bullet holes in the windshield and passenger window, but reported that no one was thankfully injured. Karenni State is experiencing the most intense clashes right now, and we reported yesterday that the junta forces’ go-to move is aerial attacks on the civilians. The Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) issued an emergency statement last night, calling on the international community to take immediate action against the aerial attacks that the junta forces had been using to kill innocent civilians—at least six civilians were killed on the morning of January 7 when heavy artillery shelling were dropped on their houses.

More clashes erupting from the northern tip to the southern part of Myanmar were reported today as well. This morning, Putao-PDF in Kachin State and junta’s Battalion 137 and 128 reportedly clashed between Khin Duka and Phong Kyan villages in Sumprabum Township. Putao-PDF told DVB News that the clashes occurred as the result of about 60-strong junta troops advancing towards the villages. Khit Thit Media reported today that on the southern part of Myanmar in Tanintharyi Region, the joint forces of Karen National Liberation Army and Palaw-PDF fought against the advancing junta troops between January 7 & 8 in Sar-Khe village in Palaw Township, managing to dismantle the troop force by killing four soldiers and injuring 20 more. Another clash from January 7 in Magway Region’s Gangaw Township was reported by DVB News as well. Yaw-PDF said they managed to hold their ground against junta troops using traditional Tumi weapons in the January 7’s clash, killing two junta soldiers and injuring four.

It has already been 11 months under the junta’s control, and the junta forces still do not seem to be tired of unnecessarily killing people during military interrogation. Sagaing Region’s Taze Township saw three more deaths in military custody. The latest victims were named as Maung Min Khant Zaw, a first-year student from Sagaing Technological University who was reportedly tortured to death after his arrest on January 4. Khit Thit Media reported today that Maung Min Khant Zaw was subjected to torture tactics which involved hair removal, punching and insistent beating, and he reportedly died from these injuries. The other two victims were U Aung Thein, 60, and Ko San Naing Tun, 29—residents of A-Kote-Kar and Chaung Sone villages, who both died within 24 hours of their arrest on January 7. The National League for Democracy party members continued to be targeted as well. Over 10 NLD members from Ayeyarwady Region’s Zalun Township were arrested within two days after a local military informant was shot to death.

In somewhat lighter news, residents of Kamma Town from Magway Region’s Pakokku Township said the junta helicopters dropped propaganda pamphlets around 10:30am this morning, Khit Thit Media reported citing local sources. Many Kamma residents commented that they read and laughed at the contents on the pamphlets and even joked that the junta must be that bored to be wasting their fuels to scatter these. Some also commented that these propagandas basically reflected the reality of the junta forces’ on-ground situation as the pamphlets claimed the People’s Defense Forces and Kachin Independence Army are the terrorist groups, and that if people try to defy against the military, towns and villages will be ruined. Such propaganda was carried out in some townships across Sagaing Region recently also, but it was tragically unsuccessful and just ended up as a running joke, just like the entire system of military regime in Myanmar now.

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