Freedom Memoirs – Day 356

Last night, junta media announced that its court sentenced the 88 Generation activist Ko Jimmy and NLD MP Phyo Zeyar Thaw to death. Junta accused that they led and planned guerrilla attacks against its forces. Phyo Zeyar Thaw was named as “mastermind” of targeted attacks at the regime’s lackeys in Yangon while Ko Jimmy was named as “advisor” for these activities and helped hiding weapons. The news devastated the people of Myanmar, but many took it as a force to fight further and to put an end of the military regime sooner. According to Assistance Association for Political Prisoner (AAPP), a total of 82 people, including 39 people who were convicted in absentia, have been sentenced to death by the junta.

News from Karen State came that regime troops have been attempting to block the logistics of humanitarian aid for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Thai-Myanmar border areas. Due to the escalation of conflicts since December 15 in Lay Kay Kaw, thousands of villages have fled from their homes and been living in IDP camps. On January 10, an outpost of Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) in Phalu Lay Village, which have been transporting aid for the IDPs, was attacked by regime troops with land and air forces. The regime forces continued to enter villages in Myawaddy Township where food supplies were temporarily stored and transported to IDP camps. A person who lives in an IDP camp told Mizzima News that camps encountered shortage of food, and junta forces launched aerial attacks at IDP camps so they have to be discreet about the camp locations.

Yesterday, Myanmar Now media reported that a prominent Shan armed group Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) agreed to transport aviation fuels for the State Administration Council (SAC), citing an anonymous source close to the RCSS. The transportation will take place in the areas where RCSS controls, then deliver to Meikhtila, Myanmar Air Force’s central command. The source speculated that if the plan is implemented, areas such as Sagaing, Karenni (Kayah), and Kachin will suffer from air attacks. The source also said that the SAC and RCSS came to an agreement with three points: not to attack the SAC, to continue with Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), and not to provide military training for PDFs. In its report, Myanmar Now wrote that it had contacted RCSS for comment but it was unable to get connected. Today, RCSS released a statement, demanding Myanmar Now to apologise for the libel and to remove the news story from its website. The story remains on Myanmar Now’s website as of writing this.

On a related note, Khit Thit Media reported that tensions between United Wa State Army (UWSA) and RCSS have been growing in Eastern Shan State. The news emerged after training footage of UWSA forces circulated on social networks on January 21. In Shan State, RCSS and the combined forces of Shan State Progressive Army (SSPP/SSA) and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) have been clashing, and rumour has it, UWSA has been supporting the alliance of SSPP/SSA and TNLA forces. Khit Thit Media was not able to confirm with both UWSA or RCSS about the growing tension. 

In Mandalay, security has been tightened, and even patrolling with military choppers was witnessed this morning since news came out that Min Aung Hlaing will make his way to the city. Mizzima News reported that the coup leader will attend the opening of new court in Chan Mya Tharzi Township in Mandalay, and plan to meet with Islam community in the city while he visits. Mandalay locals told Mizzima that junta soldiers were seen providing security all over the city, and at least 35 troops were providing security at a mosque where Min Aung Hlaing plans to come. A local reminisced that the coup leader made his ways to mosques in Mandalay in 2019 before the ICJ case. 

We hate to cover ridiculous activities that Min Aung Hlaing does but here’s an interesting news circulating in Naypyidaw. Khit Thit Media reported that the coup leader has been planning a North Korean style military parade for the upcoming 75th Jubilee of Union Day which will fall on February 12. Each ministry in Naypyidaw was ordered to provide 100 staff members to march at the parade to pay respect at Min Aung Hlaing, and since January 21, the military has been providing marching training, a source told Khit Thit Media. In addition, Naypyidaw sources said that the coup leader has allocated roughly USD 5 million for the parade, and is flexible to spend more if necessary. His hunger for power and validation becomes more and more evident, and pathetic. 

Resistance of the people have been growing both in armed conflict and non-violent forms. Several reports of local resistances confronting with regime forces in central plain regions were observed. Marching protests and guerrilla protests were seen in both rural villages and big cities like Yangon and Mandalay. It’s been almost a year since Min Aung Hlaing staged a coup. Many speculated that our protests would die down and people would eventually submit to the new military regime. But look at where we are now. The flame of revolution only grows stronger and spread wider.

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