Folks, we have flipped another page of Burmese lunar calendar: new year, same junta, and same democratic struggle. Third consecutive year, Myanmar people didn’t get to celebrate the sacred Myanmar New Year festival. Who would be able to celebrate when the entire country mourns for the loss of our future? Regardless of the holidays, there was no break, everyone from CDM heroes to people’s soldiers accelerated their efforts in resisting Min Aung Hlaing’s reign. Read all about what happened in the last week of Myanmar year 1383:
- Myanmar People Refused to Celebrate the New Year Festival under the Regime
People who know about Myanmar know about the Thingyan Water Festival. To celebrate the end of Burmese lunar calendar, we throw water at each other to wash away the sins from the past year. It is a four-day nationwide celebration where people enjoy the holidays, reflect the old year and prepare for the new year. This year marked the third year that Myanmar people did not get to celebrate the new year festivities; Covid-19 broke out in 2020, the military coup was staged in 2021, and this year, people under the regime refused to have fun. Min Aung Hlaing, desperate to prove his worth, attempted to organize state-sponsored Thingyan festivities, forcing celebrities to perform and hiring people to “have fun” at the staged festivities. Yet, the armed soldiers near the staged events, and the empty streets only proved that whatever the junta was cooking was not working.
- First Year of the National Unity Government
On April 16, formation of the National Unity Government (NUG) marked one year. Amidst the regime’s constant oppression against the democratic forces, the NUG was formed with a few representatives of ethnic political leaders although it certainly received criticism for being an NLD-dominated parallel government. Throughout the year, the NUG has been working to resist the military regime, to restore democracy and to form a diverse federal state. Despite the massive support it receives from the public, shortcomings of the NUG were usually raised out of love for the betterment of the country.
- Honorary Awards for Dead Men, and Alive
For everyone’s amusement, the regime issued a list of honorary awardees, including the coup leader himself, retired generals, ethnic leaders, and even some dead men, for their extraordinary service for the nation since the Independence in 1948. Signed by Min Aung Hlaing, the announcement allocated two awards from the coup leader himself, and a few dead men including Burma’s first prime minister U Nu, and famous composer Nandaw Shae Sayar Tin.
- First Year of Bamar People’s Liberation Army
One of the earliest armed resistance groups, Bamar People’s Liberation Army (BPLA) , celebrates the first year of its resistance journey on April 17. The celebration was held somewhere in a liberated area with the attendance of Lt. General Saw Baw Kyaw Heh of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA). The group’s milestone was also commemorated by ethnic armed groups and fellow resistance fighters. The Brotherhood Alliance, which included Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), and Arakan Army (AA), and Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) sent commemorative messages to the BPLA.
Social Affairs and Civil Disobedience Movement
- Myanmar’s New Year Strike and Easter Sunday Strike Coincided
April 17 is an auspicious day for many Myanmar people as the new year begins. Today is when Myanmar Buddhists go to pagodas and temples and cultivate merits. It is also an Easter Sunday for Christians. Myanmar people from both faiths join the strike against the junta calling for ‘Federal Democracy’ and ‘An end for military rule’ organizing New Year Strike, and ‘Easter Sunday Strike’ respectively.
- Myanmar People Marched to Capitol Hill
Save Myanmar USA led the march against the Burmese military rule and to commemorate a one-year-anniversary of the formation of the people’s National Unity Government (NUG). Around 500 Burmese people marched from the White House to the Capitol Hill.The NUG ministers also gave speeches.
- Students’ Strike Against the military rule at the university
Students from Dagon University’s Student Union showed their defiance against the junta by setting the Students’ Union’s flag high. They also organized the red campaign that symbolizes bloody violence committed by the military by spraying their school gate red.
- Two Brothers from Border Guard Forces (BGF) joined CDM
Two brothers from the pro-military BGF’s battalion-1018 joined the Civil Disobedience Movement by escaping to the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA)’s Brigade-5 with their weapons. They were forcibly recruited as child soldiers.
- A Call to Participate in Social Punishment Movement Against the Pro-junta Celebrities
LGBT Alliance Mandalay, Youth Union, Sanchaung Strike Committee and Labor Union LA disclosed the list of celebrities (artists and singers) who performed on the junta’s stage for the water festival. They again call for the boycott movement against celebrities who fail to stand with the people, ignoring the injustice and violence done by the military against the civilians.
- Junta Continued with Attempts to Fake Normalcy
The State Administration Council (SAC) issued orders to make the water festival in Yangon and Mandalay lively with music and performances. The performances are ordered to be broadcasted on the state-owned TV channels such as Myawaddy, MRTV 4 and MRTV. The SAC also issued a written order to artists to collaborate with them by not requesting copyright claims.
- ‘Tumee’ Lottery Tickets Sale to Support Chin’s Defense Forces
Chin Relief Funding Program (CRFP) organized the ‘Tumee’(homemade rifles for hunting) Lottery Tickets Sale Campaign to raise funds for the defense forces in Chin State. This will be run digitally and anyone can support the defense forces by buying the lottery tickets. Period for the promotion is between April 11 to April 25.
- Over 800 Houses Torched, 10000 Civilians in Need of Help in Magway Region’s Pauk Township
For residents of Magway Region, there were no Thigyan festivities or holidays. Since April 6, the junta troops have been advancing towards the southern part of Pauk Township with three military operations, the residents of Magway Region said. About 800 houses from 13 villages were burned down by junta soldiers, causing over 10,000 civilians to flee into the forest nearby. Residents said the civilians escaping the arson attacks from Yay Kyaw, Kyaung Kone, Kyauk O and ten others from Pauk Township; Le Thar Wa and Shar Hla from Seikphyu Township, and Myit Phyar village from Pakokku Township are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. As of April 13, there had been 9,187 houses across Myanmar which had been burned down and destroyed, according to an update by Data for Myanmar on April 14.
- IDPs from Kachin State’s Laiza Still Far Away from Home
Among the 60,000 IDPs residing in Laiza area, the headquarters of the Kachin Independence Army, about 8,000 people from Je Yang IDP camp have been residing in the camp for almost 12 years now. The camp residents were originally from 70 villages in Waingmaw and Momauk townships, and they had been displaced by the fighting between the KIA and the Tatmadaw since 2011. One resident told RFA Burmese that even if they wanted to go home, they were unable to as the junta soldiers were still stationed in their village. In 2020, the National League for Democracy government, Kachin Independence Organisation and the Kachin Humanitarian Organisation reached an agreement to allow some of the IDPs to return home, but since the military coup last year, the camp residents’ hopes of returning home were dashed. Moreover, within a year after the February 1 military coup, the fighting between the junta troops, and the joint force of the KIA and People’s Defense Forces resulted in an increase of over 10,000 new IDPs from Waingmaw and Momauk townships.
Attacks on the Junta’s Lackeys & Properties
- Yangon’s South Dagon Ward Administrator’s House Attacked
Around 8pm on April 11 in Yangon, South Dagon’s Guerilla Force (SDGF) conducted an assault towards the house of U Ye Toe, administrator of the South Dagon Township’s Ward 72. A grenade was thrown inside, followed by six gunshots. However, as the man was in the back of the house and only his wife was present in the living room, the rangers chose to spare her life.
- YBMA Office Bombed, Youths Targeted in Aftermath
On the evening of April 13, a loud explosion took place in Pazundaung Township of Yangon and later it was reported to be an attack on the office of Young Men’s Buddhist Association (YMBA), a so-called nationalism association made up of extremists sponsored by Min Aung Hlaing. Afterwards, SAC’s troops carried out an intense car chase towards the vehicle which supposedly dropped the bomb. The entire road near Makro Supermarket was blocked where every vehicle and individual were searched. Two sets of multiple gunshots with an interval of 30 minutes were heard by Pazundaung residents. One young man was immediately shot to death while two others were beaten and abducted. Sources close to the resistance forces said the dead victim and the detainees had nothing to do with the operation and those who carried out the mission successfully escaped.
- USDP Chair from Pulaw, Tanintharyi Killed
Pulaw Regional Defense Force (PRDF) managed to carry out a hit on U Aung Nay Zar Lin, the chair of Union Solidarity & Development Party (USDP) from Pulaw Township, Tanintharyi Region on April 14. PRDF rangers fired four times on U Aung Nay Zar Lin while he was getting off a motorbike near Taung Wine Kway Road. He was widely considered a part of SAC’s administrative structure in the region. Those involved in the attack have arrived at safety, according to PRDF.
- Pyu Saw Htee Leader Shot Dead in Magway’s Natmauk
Than Lwin, leader of military sponsored thug group Pyu Saw Htee from Natmauk Township, Magway Region was shot and killed around 10am on April 15. Than Lwin had brought in SAC’s army to his village, forcing those related to the resistance movement run, detained and killed while many households were also destroyed thanks to him. As soon as the regime’s forces left, Than Lwin was shot three times to death in the middle of the village.
- Village Head Ended-up Dead in Bago’s Nattalin
Around 11am on April 15, Village Administrator/USDP Chair Myint Lwin from Hla Pa Chin Village, Nattalin Township of Bago Region was shot dead. Police and soldiers arrived shortly at the scene and began intense investigation towards the civilians.
- Military Informer Targeted in Mon’s Kyaikhto
Khin Hla, a major military informer from Kyaikhto Township of Mon State was targeted by Kyaikhto Resistance Force (KRF) on April 15. Since the shoot-out took place in a crowded area, two civilians were also injured with minor wounds and KRF released a statement and apologized.
Arbitrary Arrests, Killings & Violence
- KNLA’s Medic Found Dead
During an encounter between the regime’s forces and Karen Nationality Liberation Army (KNLA) in Karen State’s Dooplaya District on March 24, KNLA’s medic Saw Aung Htoo was injured by heavy artillery. Although he managed to kill two soldiers with the wound, he was later captured by SAC. On the morning of March 25, his dead body was found with hands and legs broken, internal organs cut out. Saw Aung Htoo had also served in Free Burma Rangers previously and he is survived by his wife, 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.
- Kyauktan PDF Member Tortured to Death
Ko Chan Min Naung, a member of Kyauktan PDF from Yangon Region, carried out an attack on the ward administrator and his lackeys on April 2. Although he managed to take out two of SAC’s followers, he was crowded and captured alive. Reports came up this week that Ko Chan Min Naung met with the extreme torture and was killed during interrogation held in Shwe Maw Wun Hall of Kyauktan Town. A picture surfaced on the social media that Ko Chan Min Naung was stripped down to his underwear while both his legs and hands were tied with wounds all over his body. His dead body was reportedly chopped up into multiple parts and buried in different places. Ko Chan Min Naung is survived by 5-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son.
- Youth Girl Raped and Killed, Father Murdered in Gantgaw, Magway
On April 4, two villagers of Htal Law Village were found dead in Gantgaw Township, Magway Region. The victims were identified as U Aung Ye and his daughter Ma Moe Moe Htway who were abducted by SAC’s troops on their way to farm. Bodies of both victims had their hands tied behind the backs and burned to death. Ma Moe Moe Htway, just aged 14, was reported to have been raped by the soldiers before she was killed.
- A Youth Killed for Carrying Two Passengers on Motorbike in Magway
Around 8pm on April 10, 19-year-old Mg Aung Pyae Sone was shot dead by SAC’s troops in Magway Town for carrying two passengers on his motorbike. The victim and two friends were visiting from neighbor town Min Bu while they faced the tragedy. The dead body was not returned to the family and two female passengers were also abducted.
- Boxing Champion Abducted in Magway
Myanmar traditional boxing champion Tutu along with five others were reportedly detained in Saku Township of Magway Region on April 11. SAC’s mouthpieces shared on the social media that Tutu who had actively participated in the pro-resistance movements and friends were arrested with grenades and guns at a restaurant. Following the arrest, Tutu’s family house in Magway Region was also searched.
- Truck Driver & Co Killed, Stocks Seized in Chin’s Falam Township
On April 12, a truck transporting supplies from Sagaing’s Kalay Town to Chin’s Falam Town was detained and two drivers on board were shot and killed, according to Chin National Organization (CNO). The stocks on vehicle were worth around MMK 400 Lakhs and it was speculated that the victims were killed because they refused to bribe the regime’s forces. The vehicle was seized and SAC’s soldiers were reportedly witnessed driving it in Kalay Township. Both dead victims left young families behind.
- Delivery Riders Killed in Yangon
Following an attack on the electricity supply office in Bahan Township on April 13, three youths working as delivery riders were abducted by the regime’s forces. Mg Hein Htet Naing, one of the detainees was immediately shot to death while the other two Mg Tin Tun Aung and Mg Kyi Thar were beaten and taken for questioning. Later reports described that both were killed during interrogation.
- Monywa’s PDF Member Killed within 24 Hours of Arrest
A ranger from Black Dragon Special Task Force called Bogyi @ Nay Min Kha was abducted thanks to a military informer in Monywa Town on April 14. In less than 24 hours, his dead body that was missing internal organs was submitted at the public hospital’s mortuary anonymously. People’s Defense Force- South Monywa -V2 said Bogyi was killed around 4pm on April 15 during interrogation.
- Civilian Killed for Splashing Water at Military Vehicle in Mawlamyine Kyun, Ayeyarwaddy
On April 15, a Kanyin Khae Villager from Malamyinekyun Township, Ayeyarwaddy Region was shot and killed for splashing water at a military truck that was patrolling during water festival. It was speculated that the regime’s troops shot him because they thought he was throwing a grenade inside the vehicle.
- Family of Nine Killed by Heavy Artillery in Magway’s Pauk
Family of nine, eight females and one male were killed by SAC’s heavy artillery in Tan Su Village, Pauk Township of Magway Region on April 17. The regime’s forces had been reportedly intensifying attacks on PDFs in Pauk Township and hence its residents had fled their homes and been hiding in the forests. However, those nine victims still met with tragedy as the artillery fell near them even in hiding, killing seven instantly and two on the way to hospital.
- SAC’s Outpost Ambushed in Shan’s Pinlaung
Karen Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) reportedly mounted assault towards an inspection gate in Taung Me Thin Village, Pinlaung Township of Shan State on April 5. Five soldiers of the junta were killed during the raid while a few weapons were also seized.
- DRPA’s Vice Chair Killed during Bomb Drill
Kani based Dictator Resistance People’s Army (DRPA)’s vice chair Ko Phone Khant was severely injured during a bomb drill on April 10 and passed away the next morning. The 33-year-old man became the latest victims of those killed during testing and production of explosives in finding effective ways to counterattack the junta’s forces. Ko Phone Khant famously joined the resistance movement and donated the funds from selling his house and land plot for the cause.
- KNLA Occupied SAC’s Outpost in Karen’s Myawaddy
An outpost of the junta’s forces that was manned by 10 soldiers in Thin Gan Nyi Naung, Myawaddy Township, Karen State was raided by KNLA on the morning of April 12. At least one soldier was said to be killed and a few weapons were seized during the attach that lasted over an hour.
- Regime’s Forces and AA Encountered in Rakhine’s Myaypone
Arakan Army (AA) and the junta’s forces came head-to-head near Watgaung Village, five miles away from Myaypone Town in Rakhine State on April 13. The clash was ignited when AA entered the area where about 30 SAC’s troops have deployed since April 10. It has not turned out a full-blown battle as only a few exchanges of gunfire and artillery were heard; however, locals are said to be terrified of going out.
- Clash in Bago Claimed the Junta’s Casualties
A coordinated attack from local PDF towards the regime’s operation gate located between Khayan and Kawa towns of Bago Region on April 13 saw at least 10 deaths on the junta’s side. The clash lasted about 40 minutes and Bago PDFs had no casualty.
- Over 30 Regime’s Troops Killed in Pinlebu Battles
Clashes between Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and PDF and the regime’s forces in Pinlebu Town, Sagaing Region during March 29 to April 9 saw multiple deaths of the junta’s forces before airstrikes forced the resistance forces off the town on April 10. KIA and PDF reportedly took control of the town and killed at least 30 soldiers of the regime in multiple clashes while they also suffered five deaths. As airstrikes from SAC became more frequent, the people’s forces left the town, deploying themselves in outskirts of Pinlebu. Clashes have since then slowed down.
- Clashes in Karenni Claimed Lives from Both Sides
During the second week of April, clashes have intensified in Loikaw, Demoso, Fruso and Bawlakhe towns of Karenni State and resulted in casualties from both sides. About 48 soldiers from the regime’s forces died in the battles while the people’s side also lost at least ten. Since there are currently multiple warfronts in Karenni State, its resistance leaders have urged NUG to begin offensive in other regions as well.
- SAC’s Forces Threatened KNLA with People’s Lives
SAC’s Infantry Unit 561 in Kwilonetaing Station, Nohtakaw Township of Dooplaya District in Karen State sent a warning shot to KNU on April 17 that the water supply pipes to its station that have been blocked by KNU must be unlocked, otherwise the villages near its Kwilonetaing Station will be targeted. KNU have been given three days to respond.
- Five PDF Members Providing Security to Protesters Killed in Monywa
Hundreds of peaceful protesters marched the highway road outside Monywa with security provided by PDF members on the morning of April 17. The pictures circulated online showed people carrying poster slogans and chanting protest songs while surrounded by PDF soldiers carrying rifles. As soon as the protest ended up successfully, the resistance rangers assigned on security duty on the road were ambushed by the joint forces of Pyu Saw Htee members and SAC’s forces during which five between the age of 20 to 27 were killed. The bodies have not been picked up as of reporting since explosives may have been set up nearby.
- Iran Plane Carrying Bank Note Paper Arrived in Naypyitaw
Boeing 747-281B Plane from Iran airline Fars Qeshm transporting tons of bank note papers from Uzbekistan to Myanmar arrived in Naypyitaw on April 17. Since the previous supplier German company Giesecke Devrient cut ties with the junta in March last year, Uzbekistan have become the top supplier of the bank note paper to Min Aung Hlaing’s regime.
- Junta Increases Defense Budget, Cuts Education Spending for 2022-2023 Financial Year
The military council’s budget for the 2022-2023 financial year increases defense spending by K300 billion and cuts K700 million from education, when compared to the National League for Democracy’s 2020-2031 budget. The budget signed by junta chief Min Aung Hlaing on March 29 allocates more than K3,700 billion to the Ministry of Defense, more than K2,100 billion to the Ministry of Education and K800 billion to the Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Planning and Finance has the largest allocation, of more than K4,000 billion. For the 2020-2021 financial year, the NLD government had allocated K3,400 billion to the Ministry of Defense, K2,800 billion to the Ministry of Education, and more than K1,400 billion to the Ministry of Health and Sports.
- Over 1,600 Prisoners Freed in Holiday Amnesty
As part of the celebration of Myanmar’s new year, the military council has signed a statement to release 1,619 prisoners, including 42 detained foreigners under the new year amnesty. Of the released prisoners, the 150 released from Yangon’s Insein Prison did not include any political prisoners, DVB News reported.
Reference: Khit Thit Media, Mizzima News, The Irrawaddy, DVB News, RFA Burmese, Myanmar Now, Karen Information Center – KIC, Burma VJ, Progressive Karenni People Force – PKPF, Burma Human Rights Network, Myanmar Labour News, HTY Information, Reuters