Freedom Memoirs – Day 357

Under the control of Min Aung Hlaing and his followers in Myanmar, unnecessary arson attacks against civilians’ households have become almost everyday occurrences now. It’s devastating that many residents in conflict-ridden regions have to face this day in and day out today. This morning, about 20 houses from Nat Gyi Village in Sagaing Region’s Kani Township were torched and destroyed after the junta forces advanced along the Chindwin River. The village was also attacked with small and heavy artillery prior to the arson attacks. 

Residents said the day before on January 20, about 10 households from the village opposite to Nat Gyi village across Chindwin River were also burned down by the junta forces. Junta forces have reportedly been traveling along Chindwin River and attacking the villages along the way without any concrete reasons. More arson attacks were reported in Karenni State’s Demoso Township as well. About five civilian houses from Ho Phate Village in Demoso were burned down after the fighting between the junta troops and the joint effort between Loikaw-People’s Defence Force, Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) and Karenni Army broke out between 1 to 5pm yesterday. The arson attacks occurred after the joint resistance forces managed to retreat without any injuries and casualties. 

More artisanal oil wells from Magway Region’s Myaing and Pauk townships were reported to have been burned down around 11am this morning. This is also another occurrence that the residents of Myaing and Pauk townships have been experiencing with the initial arson attacks first reported in Myaing Township on January 14, and then continued on between January 19 and 20. The reason for the arson attacks was that the owners were unable to pay bribes that the junta forces demanded. Today’s incidents occurred at Suu Win Village on the western part of Myaing Township and Kyat-Su Ein Village on the northern part of Pauk Township. A person who owns two artisanal oil wells reportedly had to pay MMK 500,000 and another who owns six had to pay one million kyats, and the rest who refused or couldn’t pay had their oil wells burned down, one resident who requested anonymity told RFA Burmese.  

In ethnic developments, fighting between EAOs and the military were reported in Chin and Shan states, and Sagaing Region. The Chinland Defence Force (CDF) and the junta troops have been fighting consecutively in Chin State’s Tedim Township for 10 days, RFA Burmese reported today. The fighting was mainly happening along the road connecting the southern Chin State and Sagaing Region’s Kalay Town with the first clash reported on January 13. There were a total of 82 casualties from the junta’s side and three from the CDF (Kalay, Kabaw and Gangaw). The junta troops were also clashing with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Sagaing Region’s Katha Township and Shan State’s Nawnghkio Township this morning according to Khit Thit Media and a post from The Irrawaddy which was then deleted. Both reports said the forces have been fighting since the morning of January 22 and continued on today, but no other developments on this news have been reported elsewhere so far. 

Khit Thit Media reported today that it has managed to acquire the audio files of the coordinating meeting of the Magway Region Administration Council on January 19 in which the Minister for Border Affairs and Security of Magway Region Administration Council, Colonel Kyaw Kyaw Lin admitted that the government administration in six townships are almost coming to a standstill with many government employees on the run. Khit Thit Media said it will be releasing all of the audio files one by one, and the first audio released today disclosed information that since July of 2021, the government administration in Gangaw, Saw and Htilin townships have not been operating, and Myaing, Pauk and Yesagyo townships are following suit soon. Colonel Kyaw Kyaw Lin also referred to the People’s Defence Force as Burmese insurgents and that the military has a history of not winning against the previous Burmese insurgents—Communist Party of Burma (CPB).

In the audio acquired by Khit Thit Media, Colonel Kyaw Kyaw Lin also explained the tactics that the military troops are planning to use against the PDFs. He said that the PDFs are using the people’s militia strategy, and the counter strategy is to cut off the sources and the support of the general public on the PDFs. The first cut focused on the cutting off the means that the PDFs are receiving nourishments, weapons and ammunition. The second cut is for the governmental administration from township to region levels to rebuild relationships with the general public to ensure the governing mechanism is in operation again. Khit Thit Media released both audio and transcript of the first files earlier today, and just before posting, another audio containing discussion by Minister of Transport, Police Chief Thwin Ko Ko was released. 

In the second audio released by Khit Thit Media, Magway Police Chief Thwin Ko Ko said that between January 21 and 27, the junta will be trying to mobilized the people in PDF-controlled areas and villages within Pauk, Myaing and Yesagyo townships by using five major strategies which consist of political, organizational, social, administrative and regional developments. Khit Thit Media said it will be releasing the rest of the audio files of the meeting one by one, so we will just have to wait and see what kind of mediocre strategies they will be discussing in the meeting. Whatever it is, this would give our resistance forces on the ground in Magway Region a heads up as Magway had been hit too hard in recent days. 

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