Weekly Update: 009

Folks, it’s another week to update on the cruelty of Min Aung Hlaing-led regime in our country. This week has been colorful from CBM’s vice governor being assassinated to Lay Kay Kaw Battle being resumed. Read our full report below:

Internal Politics

NUG Announced Rewards Plan for Defecting Soldiers
On April 7, the National Unity Government (NUG) revealed a reward plan to attract regime soldiers for defection. The announcement claims that the defense machineries and weaponries are purchased with the national budget, hence, they are owned by the public. The highest reward is worth of USD 500,000 if any soldier defects with a military aircraft, followed by the USD 300,000 reward if any aircraft is destroyed in army bases. Other rewards include destroying any military automobiles/vehicles, as well as, fuel tanks for aviation.

NUG Apologized for Describing Paletwa as Part of Rakhine
In daily update of NUG’s Ministry of Defense on April 7, a news story mentioned Paletwa Township as “Paletwa Township of Rakhine State”, which in fact is in Chin State. The particular township is a war-torn border town between Chin State and Rakhine State, which saw conflicts between the Arakan Army (AA) and the military in the past few years. The NUG issued an official apology, reasoning that it was due to “typing error”. Yet, criticism rose since people believe that building trust with ethnic groups is extremely important at this moment of our nation.

EAOs Congratulated Arakan Army on Turning 13
On the 13th year of the establishment of the Arakan Army (AA) which fell on April 10, several ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) and recently emerged armed resistance groups sent commemorative messages to the AA. The groups included Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), People’s Revolution Alliance (Magway), People’s Independence Organization (PIO)/People’s Independence Army (PIA). Yangon based Students’ Unions, Student Fronts, and Democratic Party for a New Society (DPNS).

Firefighters and Red-Cross Members to be Assigned for Defense Services
Desperate times call for desperate measure for the military junta. According to a leaked internal memo circulated inside the junta’s Ministry of Planning and Finance, the regime plans on assigning firefighters and red-cross members for military services. Two weeks ago, we reported that the regime planned to recruit police forces and veterans for defense services. This leaked statement on March 25 revealed that the regime directed to form “Public Security Groups” with police, vets, militia, firefighters and red-cross members. Legal expert U Kyee Myint told Myanmar Now that the leaked statement proved that, “the regime is waging a war on the citizens”, and he continued that these measures should only be taken when a war has waged with another sovereign state, not to its own people.

International Affairs

Burma Act of 2021 Passed by Lower House of Congress
BURMA ACT of 2021 was passed by the US House of Representatives during this week. The bill was introduced in October 2021 and intended to bring together four primary threads of US policy towards Myanmar: targeting military revenues through sanctions, supporting the pro-democracy movement, authorizing humanitarian assistance and pursuing accountability for the military’s atrocities. Although it will take some time until the bill gets passed by the Senate and signed by the President to become law, this shows consistent US support in Myanmar’s struggle for democracy.

NUG Delegation Arrived in US
NUG delegation arrived to US last Sunday. Meetings were held with senior US officials over issues such as Federal Democracy Charter, humanitarian assistance, and on currently frozen funds of Myanmar, deposited by ousted democratically elected government in the US. Genocide museum was visited. This comes at a time where key NUG members (from ousted democratically elected government) were accused of being silent or tacitly approving Myanmar military’s atrocities on Rohingya people over past 5 years. The delegation also met with US Ambassdor at Large for Global Criminal Justice at the Department of State to discuss accountability process on the genocide against Rohingya and all other crimes under international law.

NUG Voted in Favour of Suspending Russia from UN Human Rights Council
Myanmar’s Ambassador to the UN, represented by NUG-loyalist, Kyaw Moe Tun, voted in favour of suspending Russian Federation from the UN Human Rights Council. While the junta has been pro-Russia, the people of Myanmar and NUG has been consistently standing up for freedom and justice, in together with the people of Ukraine.

India’s Ambassador to Myanmar Presented Credentials to the Junta
India’s Ambassador to Myanmar Vinay Kumar has presented credentials to the coup leader Min Aung Hlaing on April 5, a move seen as legitimizing the junta, by democratic forces in Myanmar. Mr Kumar, the former envoy to Afghanistan, has been appointed in the position since November last year and he was pictured this week side by side by Min Aung Hlaing.

Business Matters

Foreign Currency Controlled by SAC
On late evening of April 3, Junta’s Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) sent shockwave across Myanmar economy by ordering all foreign currency inflows must be converted to Myanmar Kyats within one day, under rate set by CBM which is way below the market rate. The sudden and drastic measure caused the businesses to panic and unable to effectively respond. All foreign currency outflows now require approval from Foreign Currency Supervisory Committee, and foreign currency purchase from banks authorized only after approval.

Businesses and Embassies Warned Economic Surge
Businesses and analyst warned that the junta’s attempt to control foreign currency will cause more turbulence in the economy, bottlenecks in imports and exports, difficulties in doing business and overall drop in economy. Embassies of Japan and Singapore sent letters to CBM Governor to give exception to Japanese- and Singaporean-owned businesses operating in Myanmar. Thirteen Chambers of Commerce representing businesses from US, France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and European, etc. operating in Myanmar released a statement warning CBM’s latest measures of having destabilizing affects to the economy and potentially lowering the standard of living to the people of Myanmar. As an immediate impact, the ceiling of amount allowed to deposit in international prepaid cards such as Visa and Master cards now halved from USD5000 to USD2500.

Humanitarian Affairs

Over 4000 IDPs from Magway Region’s Saw Township in Dire Need
The World Food Programme convoy carrying food for the IDPs in Magway Region’s Kyaukhtu IDP camp, located in Saw Township, was stopped by the junta troops on April 2, causing the camp officials to express concerns about shortages within the camp. Kyaukhtu IDP Camp officials issued a statement after the incident that the WFP convoy carrying basic food items and supplements for the pregnant women were scheduled to arrive at the camp on April 3 until the convoy was turned away by the junta troops stationed at Kamma town in Pakokku Township. More than 4,000 IDPs, on the run from Chin State’s Mindat and surrounding areas, are currently taking shelter at the IDP camp in Kyaukhtu Town.

Almost an Entire City of Chin State’s Rikhawdar on the Run
A small town of Rikhawdar in Chin State’s Falam Township near the India-Myanmar border has been seeing a mass displacement since early March due to the frequent clashes between the military council and local armed resistance forces. Prior to the clashes, Rikhawdar had a population of over 5,200, and since March, about 4,000 residents fled the small town, leaving only about 1,000 remaining in the city, a resident told RFA Burmese. He said at least 99 percent of the residents fled, with half of them crossing over the border to India’s Mizom Province and the other half taking refuge in the forest with temporary shelters, one displaced resident.

Residents on the Run, Houses Torched, Residents Killed in Tanintharyi Region’s Thayetchaung
Last week, we reported that over 5,000 residents from Tanintharyi Region’s Thayetchaung Township fled after a column of 100 soldiers advanced into the Taung Pyout Tite area on March 30. When it happened, there had not been any clashes reported in the area but the residents fled because they feared the troops would rob and burn their villages. But the residents’ fear transformed into a reality on April 3, when the junta troops burned down 15 houses from Taung Pyout Tite area, and d two residents were also shot dead, the residents told Mizzima News. The junta troops started the attack against several villages in the area on April 2 and detained about 30 villagers as human shields while two villagers, Aung Than Htay and Lin Maung were shot to death on April 3.

Attacks on Junta’s Lackeys & Properties

USDP Party Member/Dalan Killed in South Dagon
It was reported that a member of military’s proxy political party Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) was shot and killed in South Dagon Township of Yangon on the evening of April 4. She was identified as Yin Yin Win, widely known as a dalan in the neighborhood. She lived in the market and made money off people’s misery by working as a mouthpiece for military. She reportedly vowed that “No PDFs can survive in South Dagon as long as she lives”. After she was shot, a few vendors nearby were questioned, and one was abducted by the junta’s forces.  

Mandalay’s Ward Administrator Shot Dead
Mahar Myaing Ward (1) Administrator U Ohn Lwin from Mandalay was shot and killed on April 4. Justice Mandalay PDF claimed responsibility and said Ranger Mike acted solo and handled the case. The 58-year-old U Ohn Lwin had submitted request for resignation letter to SAC since October last year, but he kept on feeding information of the resistance movements to the regime’s forces and had also received warning many times.

More Dalans Ended up Dead in Mandalay and Magway
San Lwin, a claimed military informer from Mandalay’s Sein Pan Neighborhood was shot and killed on the morning of April 5. He had reportedly played a major role in the multiple arrests of youths in Sein Pan last year. Likewise, non-CDM education officer Daw Tin Tin Yee from Magway’s Pakokku Township was shot and killed on the same morning. According to the sources on ground, she had threatened many CDM education staff to return to work.

Ward Administrator Killed in Chin
In Tedim Town of Chin State, the junta appointed ward administrator Kyi Min Tun was shot and killed on the evening of April 6. Kyi Min Tun @ Pauk Kyaw Ma recently moved to Tedim after serving as the same position in Saw and Hakha townships. His dead body was left on street until the next morning since people were prohibited from going outside after 6pm in the town.

Central Bank’s Vice Governor Shot at Home in Yangon
The biggest news of the week took place on the morning of April 7 when the vice governor of Central Bank of Myanmar Daw Than Than Swe was shot at her home and severely wounded. Many reported that she has passed away, but some also said she is still receiving treatment at Yangon General Hospital. Pyan Hlwar Aung Operation under the ministry of defense of NUG claimed responsibility. This news sparks quite a debate on the social media because the reason why Daw Than Than Swe was targeted remains unclear.

Ward Administration Staff Shot and Killed in Tanintharyi
In Launglon Township, Dawei District of Tanintharyi Region, U Zaw Naing Oo, a village tract member was shot and killed in a wet market on April 7. Two women nearby were also wounded accidentally while he was being attacked. The 50-year-old man was also an owner of a liquor shop and had led gambling activities in the area. In the same district, Pyu Saw Htee trainer U Sein Lwin was also shot in the arm and admitted to the hospital on April 4.

Yangon City Golf Course Attacked
Several areas around Mingaladon Township of Yangon were attacked by electric flight rockets on the morning of April 9. One took place at Yangon City Golf Course where the military officers usually play and injured a staff. More explosions were reported in Mingaladon’s airforce and its staff housing on the same morning.   

Nan Htike Aung Operation Kicks Off in Yangon
Ministry of Defense under NUG has kicked off the second wave of military operation named Nan Htike Aung in Yangon. As part of it, the regime’s forces on security duty near the houses of the coup leaders Min Aung Hlaing and Soe Win on Inya Road were attacked by the urban guerilla forces on April 10. A video shared on the social media shows two rangers opening fire on the security gate through a moving car’s window. At least four soldiers were reportedly wounded.

Arbitrary Arrests, Killings & Violence

One Killed, Five Injured Inside Monywa Prison
A protest against the regime was staged inside Monywa Prison on April 3, followed by a violent crackdown by the junta’s forces in which one detainee was killed while five more were wounded. On that day, locals heard the protest chants through the wall around 5pm in the morning and saw at least four military trucks entering the prison and later heard at least 30 gunshots. The victims have not been identified yet.

Nine Youths Abducted in Mandalay
SAC’s forces reportedly raided two safehouses In Mandalay City on the evening of April 4, abducting at least nine young people who had been staging guerilla strikes. The detainees were six boys and three girls named Ko Aung Zaw Myint, Ko Kyaw Soe Moe, Ko Kyaw Min Tun, Ko Htet Ko, Ko Hein Min Zaw, Ko Naing Lin Tun, Ma Thae Su, Ma Ja Seng Aung and Ma Kyal Sin Lin. Mandalay’s resistance forces have warned people to stay vigilant because some of the detainees may contact them on the junta’s order to get more people.

Three-Year-Old Kindergartener Detained by SAC
A three-year-old kid was detained by the junta’s forces in his kindergarten In Yangon. On April 5, three military vehicles arrived at the BC Kindergarten in Alone Township on the evening and pointed guns at the teachers and children before violently carrying three-year-old Mg Thant Phone Wai Yan back with them. The child was reported crying as he was taken helplessly. The junta apparently wanted his parents who are on the run for supporting PDF. A follow up story described that the mother was also shot and arrested on the same day. The SAC has detained and killed children previously but in most cases, together with parents or accidentally, this is the first time arresting a kid that young in place of the parents.

Daughter Arrested in Place of Father in Thaketa
On the night of April 6, 17 military vehicles stormed into a ward in Thaketa Township of Yangon and broke into a house for inspection. The house is owned by a man on their warrant list. As the man they wanted was not in the house, they instead arrested his 23-year-old daughter Ma Myat Thu Thu Aung. According to her neighbors, Ma Myat Thu Thu Aung was not related to the resistance movement and had only focused on teaching children as a volunteer.

Two Social Media Influencers/PDF Members Abducted and Interrogated in Myawaddy
Two young members of PDF such as Ko Soe Win Naing @ Khaw Khaw and Ma Phoo Pwint Phyu @ Naw Phoo, both social media influencers with large following and currently working for supply chain management in a PDF unit in Myawaddy, Karen State, were abducted by the junta’s forces and border guard force (BGF) on April 6. According to local reports, they were arrested in a safe house along with seven fellow members on a mission to purchase necessary medical equipment for their unit. They are currently being held at Thingan Nyinaung Interrogation Center.

Two Youths Shot Dead in Mandalay
On the morning of April 8, two young men on a motorbike were shot dead by SAC’s soldiers on security duty near ward administration office in Mandalay’s Maharaungmyay Township. A witness said the victims were on their way to a grocery shop and shot dead without apparent reason but also said SAC might portray them as people coming to set up bombs. It’s still being investigated inside the resistance forces if those two had been members of any group or only civilians.

Helper of IDP Camp Found Dead in Karenni (Kayah)
DMO-Local PDF and alliances conducted an area clearance operation on April 9 and found a dead body in Hpruso Township of Karenni (Kayah) State. The victim was identified as 25-year-old Paskwa Lal who was on his way to transport supplies to an IDP camp and killed on April 5. He was shot dead by SAC’s forces and although he was a civilian and wore plain clothes on that day, a PDF uniform was put on his dead body by the regime’s soldiers to force a lie that they killed a PDF member, not a civilian. 

Twelve Including a Columnist Abducted in Dawei
During a week since April 4, a total of 12 civilians including Ko Aung Lwin, a columnist from Tanintharyi Journal were abducted in Dawei District, Taninthayi Region. Ko Aung Lwin, resided in a village temporarily for medical reason, was detained along with three fellow travelers at an inspection gate in Dawei Town on April 7. Four more people were arrested in Launglon Township on April 4 and April 6. A gas shop owner, his wife and his nephew CDM police staff were arrested on April 4 in Myittar Township as well.

Armed Resistance

Two-day Battle Cost the Junta in Myaung
It was reported on April 3 that a total of 22 local resistance forces coordinated attacks towards the regime’s soldiers in Myaung Township, Sagaing Region. In a span of two days, at least 11 junta’s soldiers were killed, and many were wounded. No casualty was reported on the people side. SAC’s forces have been reportedly committing arsons, theft, robbery and using civilians as human shields during such battles.

Nine SAC’s Soldiers Died in Mingin Clash
An encounter between local resistance forces and the regime’s army was reported in 30 miles south of Mingin Town, Sagaing Region on April 4. The skirmish began at 8am in the morning and lasted five hours. At least nine soldiers from the junta’s side were killed while one resistance ranger was also missing. On the people’s side, KLG PDF and Shwe Thamin Hunters joined forces in the clash.

PDF Seized Three Trucks Load of Ammunition in Pauk
On April 6, five PDF soldiers from Justice Ranger Force hijacked three trucks transporting ammunition in Pauk Township of Magway Region, with hand-made guns. A total of 7 MA-3 guns, 700 bullets and 10 communication tools have been seized. Seven soldiers were also arrested in the process, all of them were killed as they tried to fight back.

NUG’s Ministry of Defense Announced Second Wave of Operation in Yangon
Yangon Military Command under Ministry of Defense, NUG announced on April 8 that it had completed the first wave of Pyan Hlwar Aung Operation and introduced the second wave named Nan Htike Aung Operation. Pyan Hlwar Aung Operation was conducted for seven months during which a total of 1128 attacks against the Junta’s military, economy and administration were recorded. Its final assault was the hit on the Central Bank’s vice governor which drew some criticism.

Twenty Soldiers of SAC Killed in Budalin
Ku Daw Police Station located 10 miles northwest of Budalin Town, Sagaing Region was ambushed by local resistance forces around 10pm on April 8. At least eight soldiers of the regime were killed during the attack and the station was burned down afterwards. Later, Mi-35 choppers arrived and started firing towards the rangers, firing at least two to death.

Two PDF Killed in Kalay Clash
A skirmish that took place near Sharpo Village, south of Kalay Township on April 9 killed two rangers from the resistance forces in Sagaing Region. Comrade Yaw Han Lin and Comrade Kyaw Min Thein from CDF-KKG were the ones that paid the ultimate price for defying the junta. The battle began on April 9 when about 120 troops of the junta trespassed into the area and five local forces defended jointly. Since then, PDF Kalay has forbidden people from using Kalay-Gantgaw main road.  

Lawkaykaw Battle Resumed, Casualties Reported on Both Sides
Clashes in Laykaykaw Town of Karen State have resumed between Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA)’s Cobra Force and the regime forces. Around 2am on April 10, about 300 SAC’s troops marched into the area, igniting back and forth firings. At least 20 deaths were reported on the Junta’s side while two KNLA rangers were also killed and another four were wounded. CDM soldiers were said to join the clash on KNLA’s side. Due to the high number of casualties, two fighter jets were reportedly seen dropping air bombs at least three times.

Others

Rising Cases of CDM Staff Being Detained at Yangon International Airport
CDM staff who plan to leave the country have been constantly harassed at the Yangon International Airport, according to local news. Only few numbers of CDM staff have been put on the SAC’s warrant list, however, most of them have been blacklisted to deny them travel permission, said the reports. In some cases, those former government employees were detained at the airport and in some, they were disallowed to apply for passports.

Junta’s Jade Mining Ban Targets Resistance Funding, KIA says
A recent junta order to stop all jade mining in Kachin State was intended to put pressure on the Kachin Independence Army, said KIA information officer, Colonel Naw Bu. State-owned Myanma Gems Enterprise announced on March 31 that jade mining would no longer be allowed at Hpakant, Lone Khin, Maw Lu and Maw Han for the sake of resource conservation and preserving the environment. Colonel Naw Bu said the KIA was waiting to decide its response to the ban, but said it had socio-economic implications for hundreds of thousands of people who work in the industry. A jade miner in Kachin State told The Irrawaddy that most jade mining companies in the state, including military-linked companies, are required to pay tax to the KIA and the ban was likely an attempt to disrupt funding to the KIA.

Junta Seized More than 500 Properties of Anti-regime Activists
The junta has seized more than 547 houses and property owned by anti-regime activists since the February 2021 coup, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said in a report on April 4. The report said the junta specifically targeted property owned by National League for Democracy lawmakers and party members and those with alleged connections to the National Unity Government, Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw and the People’s Defense Force after the NUG declared a “people’s war” against the regime last September. The report said 90 percent of the seizures had occurred since the declaration of war. Civilians against whom arrest warrants had been issued and political prisoners also had property seized, it said.

Reference: Khit Thit Media, Mizzima News, DVB News, The Irrawaddy, Ayeyarwaddy Times, RFA Burmese, NUG, Delta News Agency, Burma VJ, People’s Spring, Public Voice Television  

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