Freedom Memoirs – Day 348

A total of 67 Karen civil society organizations (CSOs) have written an open letter to U.S President Joe Biden and France President Emmanuel Macron in an attempt to impose economic sanctions on natural gas tax payments to the Myanmar junta. In it, Karen people from all over the world expressed their disappointment with the U.S and French companies for paying taxes to the State Administration Council (SAC), and how SAC has been using billions of tax money to buy armed and ammos to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity. Since the coup in February 2021, over 300,000 people, of which 85,000 are Karen people, have had to flee from their homes due to the SAC’s air strikes and attacks. Though it is very important to regularly impose economic sanctions against the junta, Karen CSOs point out that it is equally important to enforce the policy to take actions against the gas taxpayers.
The Irrawaddy News reported that a Qeshm Fars Air owned Boeing-747 281B flight that departed from Mashhad city on the northeastern of Iran arrived to Nay Pyi Taw airport on the late night of January 12. According to the investigations from the Irrawaddy, the flight has carried some military equipment, and dropped off these parcels in the airport. According to Myanmar Sentiment news, this is not the first time that a flight from Mashhad flew to Nay Pyi Taw. Last year on December 30, 12 Iranians paid a visit to Nay Pyi Taw as well.
On the early morning today, an opening ceremony for the new road was interrupted by a loud explosion in Monywa, Sagaing Region. According to Chindwin Yoma Media, senior military officials attended the opening ceremony on Aung Thapyay road at 8am, but after the explosion around 9 am, the junta forces immediately fled from the area. According to the informant to Chindwin Yoma Media, the blast took place right before the senior official was about to give a speech, and everybody near the area also ran away from the area.
Mizzima News reported that a household leader from Zeyawaddy 4 road in Taketa Township, Yangon was shot to death on the early morning today. A witness said that the victim’s name was U Hla Thwin, and he was known as the military informer in the ward. This morning, the attackers shot him to death, and they also warned that one more person remained to be shot. U Hla Thwin was shot twice, and while on his way to the hospital, he was pronounced dead. Afterwards, the junta forces came to the crime scene, and interrogated the passerby while blocking the Khine Shwe Wah Main Road. The responsible culprit for this shooting has not been identified yet.
One good news come from Falam Township in Chin State as the junta’s subordinate Zin Lin Aung from Brigade 268 defected the army, and joined Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM). Along with fully equipped weapons, he deserted to Chin National Defense Force (CNDF). He stated that he bears much hatred against the SAC, and that was his primary reason for leaving the army. Due to his courageous action, CNDF rewarded him with cash, and also sent him to liberated areas.
In the past week, about ten People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) members have been arrested in Yangon. According to Mizzima News, the regime’s army has been aggressively trying to arrest PDFs and other revolutionary groups starting from January 8. Therefore, NUG warned PDFs to secretly plan their attacks and move to safe houses. Currently, the update information of the arrested PDF members have not been known yet, but the regime’s army has been tricking PDF members to weaken the latter’s forces. The spokesperson from the Yangon Region Military Commanding Group requested PDF groups to directly contact with their group for operations. The junta has been reportedly relying on psychological warfare, and creating fake accounts and pages to spread false news on social media and channels. Thus, NUG has urged local PDFs to pay extra attention for their safeties during these days. 
In the past few months, the military army is renowned for aggressively using air strikes and helicopters to launch attacks in Kayah,  Kayin, Chin, and Sagaing states where they have been losing significantly on in-land battles. This afternoon around 12:40 pm, the junta has deployed multiple army forces in Depaeyin and Khin Oo townships in Sagaing Region though no clashes are occurring at this moment. Two combat helicopters, and one utility helicopter from Northwestern Headquarter fired towards Yinn village on the east side of Depaeyin. Similarly, Thaekonegyi village from Khin Oo Township was also randomly attacked, and additional army forces are deployed there. A local spoke to Khit Thit Media that he heard about 200 gunshots although there are no ongoing battles in the area. About 100 soldiers have been deployed in Thaekonegyi Village, and currently, innocent civilians from most villages in Depaeyin and Khin Oo townships have had to currently flee from their homes.
After the SAC has announced that the phone sim cards and internet package price will be increased, the price for sim cards have already risen in Mon State. Than Lwin Times stated that the current price for remaining registered sim cards price has increased from 4000 Myanmar Kyats (MMK) to 5,000 MMK.  Moreover, the new sim cards from telecom operations after the SAC announcement will cost 22,000 MMK. However, the market demand for sim cards is significantly declining according to the sim cards sales representative person. The junta has declared a new law for increasing phone sim card and internet data tax on January 6, effective during January 8 to March 31. This new law implies that it will cost 20,000 MMK to use new sim cards, and 15% service charges will also be added for using internet.
According to One News Myanar, SAC held a media conference in the capital city of Myanmar, Nay Pyi Taw this afternoon. This conference was the 11th time that SAC has arranged since the coup began in February. During the conference, the SAC spokesperson Zaw Min Tun stated that the reason for raising the price of phone sim cards is in an attempt to reduce the number of crimes as in PDFs are using sim cards for detonation of bombs with keypad phones. Moreover, Zaw Min Tun further added an excuse that no other countries allow every citizen to buy sim cards as freely as Myanmar, and increasing the sim card price is just to limit the number of bombing incidents using sim cards.

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