Folks, another week of updates from Myanmar. Min Aung Hlaing’s peace talk is getting low attendance, junta representatives are nowhere to be found in US-ASEAN special summit but the NUG’s Foreign Minister Daw Zin Mar Aung showed up in Washington D.C. Read all about it in our weekly update.
- The NUG Minister showed up in Washington D.C.
Highlight of this week was the National Unity Government (NUG)’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Daw Zin Mar Aung showing up in Washington D.C. US based news outlets such as Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Voice of America (VOA) reported exclusive interviews with her. She met with the US Deputy Secretary, and selected representatives of ASEAN states who were in D.C. for US-ASEAN Special Summit. As soon as the news broke, the junta’s Ministry of Foreign Affair issued condemned the US and ASEAN’s engagement with the NUG, and accused that it could lead to abetting terrorism and violence in the country.
- Major EAOs refused to attend Min Aung Hlaing’s peace talk
Back at home, major ethnic armed organizations (EAOs), namely Karen National Unity (KNU), Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and Karenni State Progressive Party (KSPP), refused to attend the junta’s peace talk. Coup leader Min Aung Hlaing said that low attendance at the peace talk is due to the interference of foreign states, and democratic forces. It was Min Aung Hlaing who said that EAOs are dishonest and defying the government in the last 21st Century Panglong Peace Talk in 2020 organized by the NLD government. It’s rich that he thinks it was the PDFs, and NUG or foreign states changed the minds of EAOs.
Source: Myanmar Now
- Myanmar New Society Democratic Party saw revocation of political party registration
Myanmar New Society Democratic Party, led by U Zin Aung, refused to be investigated by the junta’s Union Election Commission (UEC). The junta’s UEC summoned the political party for two times to be investigated for its funding sources, and inventory, but the party refused to comply. Hence, the party’s registration is revoked for one year.
Source: DVB News
- Rumors about registration of mobile device
More on draconian measures by the junta, rumor has it the IMEI numbers of mobile phones will be required to register. The International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) is a 15-digit number, unique to each smartphone, which can locate the users’ location or identify personal information of the user, what kind of applications are being used, etcetera. The news is not officially confirmed yet, but the rumors usually turn out to be true in Myanmar, and there is no doubt that the junta would do everything to turn our country into an Orwellian state.
- US-ASEAN Special Summit took place this week without Myanmar Rep
ASEAN leaders gathered at the White House to meet with President Joe Biden at the US-ASEAN Special Summit. The joint statement of the US-ASEAN Special Summit mentions the concerns over the crisis in Myanmar, which sparked ire from Min Aung Hlaing and caused rejection of the statement from junta’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The seat of Myanmar during the Summit is empty as US continues ASEAN’s decision to extend invitation to non-political representatives of the junta, which led to Min Aung Hlaing not sending any representative.
- Cambodian PM’s insulting comment on Myanmar people
Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia and Chairperson of ASEAN, remarked disappointment at the people of Myanmar for failure to heed Min Aung Hlaing’s calls for ceasefire talks with ethnic armed organizations (EAOs), saying “Myanmar protester are destroying their own country and killing innocent people” by rejecting so. The calls for ceasefire, which comes after relentless onslaught of Min Aung Hlaing’s troops to civilians and armed-combatants alike continues unabated is widely seen as a sham and ASEAN Chair’s remarks caused outcry from the people of Myanmar. NUG’s Acting President Duwa Lashi La commented Hun Sen’s remarks as “insulting towards the Myanmar people”.
- NUG’s Foreign Minister visiting Washington DC
NUG’s foreign minister Daw Zin Mar Aung visited Washington DC to meet with American and (selected) ASEAN representatives during US-ASEAN Special Summit. Delegates which held meeting her includes: Malaysian Foreign Minister Mr. Saifuddin Abdullah, who expressed Malaysia’s support and solidarity with the people of Myanmar and stands ready to work towards restoring peace and democracy in Myanmar; US Deputy Foreign Secretary Ms. Wendy Sherman, who expressed “robust USA support” for the people of Myanmar and pledge of the United States to continue to work closely with ASEAN and other partners in pressing for a just and peaceful resolution to the crisis in Myanmar; US Special Assistance to the President – Senior Director for Democracy and Human Rights, Mr. Rob Berschinski.
- Junta refused visa for UK Chargé d’Affaires
The senior British diplomat to Myanmar, Mr. Pete Vowles, is stranded in Thailand as SAC refused to issue him a visa to enter Myanmar. This comes after the UK decided to downgrade Mr. Vowles’ title from ambassador to Chargé d’Affaires ad interim. Mr. Vowles arrived to Myanmar late 2021, but did not present his credentials to SAC despite repeated demands, and subsequently got locked out of the country from late February as he left the country for regional meetings. Irrawaddy news report that UK is not the only country to downgrade their representation in Myanmar since coup, with many foreign countries downgrading the head of delegations from ambassadors to lower representations or leaving ambassador positions vacant, with countries such as Denmark, Germany, Israel, Italy, South Korea, Austria, Ireland and Spain among these.
- Gold price on the rise
Gold is in high demand as savings and investment after the banking crisis and SAC’s restrictions of foreign currencies made the market deprived of alternative liquid assets. Industry association representing gold entrepreneurs told BBC Burmese that the high demand is causing near depletion of available gold for sales in the market.
- Junta does not spare the rich as well
In the evening of May 8, news broke out in our social media that Nang Leng Kham, the daughter of U Aung Ko Win who is one of the major cronies, and director of the largest bank Kanbawza Bank, was taken from airport lounge and questioned by junta’s lackeys. She was taken for two hours, later released and continued her overseas travel plan the next day. On May 14, a Facebook page which supports the people’s revolution named “NST” posted a secret document which contained 10 major business cronies and their family members. The document did not include the reason for the list but it is certain that cronies are also under the radar. Not everyone is safe under the regime.
Attacks on the Junta’s Lackeys & Properties
- Pyu Saw Htee leader killed in Waw Tsp, Bago Region
On May 9, U Kyaw Zaw known as the leader of Pyu Saw Htee from Waw Township, Bago Region was shot and killed. He was also said to be a member of the United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), the military’s proxy political party. Locals claimed that he was responsible for the abductions of people of the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) and members of the National League for Democracy (NLD). It was not verified which force was behind the assault.
- Junta’s militia leader shot dead in Inle, Shan State
Assassin For Justice – AFJ guerilla force announced that it had carried out attacks on the junta’s militia leader Ye Myint and his son-in-law Kyaw Swar who was also a military informer in Shan State. The attacks took place on May 9 in which both of them were shot and killed in Than Daung Market, Nyaung Shwe Township. Ye Myint and Kyaw Swar had been reportedly forming and recruiting armed thugs for the military before their dalan careers were cut short.
- Military Security Affairs Officer killed in Thanlyin Tsp, Yangon Region
The junta’s Military Security Affairs Officer Zaw Tun was shot and killed in Thanlyin Township, Yangon on May 11. On that morning, Zaw Tun was driving in his car when Thanlyin PDF followed the vehicle and carried out the assault. He was said to be one of the key members of the military administration in town and responsible for the arrests of multiple youths.
- Ward administration office attacked, one died in Mayangone Tsp, Yangon Region
On the morning of May 11, the urban guerilla force in Yangon conducted an attack on the ward administration office in Mayangone Township, Yangon, killing one and injuring two in the process. The one who passed away was Daw Kyi Khine Win, a hundred households administrator who abducted many anti-regime protesters in the area. Those wounded were U Nay Win, the chief administrator and U Mya Than, a member of the fire department.
- NUG’s Nan Htike Aung Operation strikes again in Yangon
“Anonymous” Urban Guerilla Force carried out a mission under the Nan Htike Aung Operation in Yangon on the evening of May 13. It was an attack on the security post located on the corner of Pyay Road and Inya Road in Kamaryut Township of Yangon. The mission killed two soldiers before the rangers safely retreated. It was declared as an act of revenge for shooting a youth on February 6 for hanging an anti-regime poster on the overhead bridge in the same township.
Arbitrary Arrests, Killings & Violence
- Nearly 100 buildings/properties sealed off in Sagaing Region
News reported that Thukathitsar Clinic from Sagaing City was seized by the junta’s forces on May 9 citing its relations with resistance PDFs. Two days prior to the incident, five people including Dr Aye Thi Khine were also abducted in a related case in Sagaing. Including this clinic, nearly 100 buildings and properties have been reportedly seized and sealed off by SAC in Sagaing Region alone.
- Wife and daughter of Dr.Zaw Myint Maung detained
Daw Yu Yu May and Daw Su Wai Pone, the wife and the daughter of the former Mandalay Regional Minister Daw Zaw Myint Maung were reportedly abducted in the early days of May according to local news. Both had been seen visiting and sending medicine and food supplies for the detained minister during his trials prior to the arrest. This news came out shortly after Dr.Zaw Myint Maung’s lawyer Daw Ywet Nu Aung was detained for contacting PDFs.
- 22 civilians killed, over 80 households destroyed in Ye-U Tsp, Sagaing Region
Regime’s forces reportedly raided and committed atrocities in Monedinepin Village of Ye-U Township, Sagaing Region on May 10. At least 22 villagers were shot and killed for no apparent reason while 28 others were taken as human shields. According to the witnesses, the dead bodies were spread all over the village and nobody dared to collect those yet. In addition to that, the soldiers also set over 80 households from nearby villages on fire, reducing at least 29 of them to complete ashes.
- Village ransacked in Myaing Tsp, Magway Region
On May 12’s afternoon, the junta’s forces were witnessed storming into Taungbo Village, Myaing Township in Magway Region and committing theft and burglary in the village. One villager was shot and killed while ten villagers were abducted. The dead victim has not been identified yet. Following the incident, the junta’s forces continued their crimes by shelling artillery at nearby villages.
- PDF Station ambushed, eight rangers killed in Myinmu Tsp, Sagaing Region
On the early morning of May 9, SAC’s forces raided the outpost of Black Eagle Local Resistance Force in Myinmu Township, Sagaing Region, and killed at least eight rangers. According to the local news, Black Eagle Force was deployed in that location for just a few days and a military informer tipped the information to the SAC. The regime announced that it had also seized various guns and explosives during the ambush. Black Eagle had successfully coordinated attacks on the regime’s forces along with fellow local armed forces in early May.
- 26 Junta soldiers killed during skirmishes on Hakha-Falam Road, Chin State
Chin National Organization (CNO) released news that clashes between the junta’s soldiers and the local resistance forces on Hakha-Falam Road between May 2 to May 7 resulted in the deaths of 26 regime soldiers and 9 resistance rangers. Clashes took place on May 2, May 4, May 5, and May 6, and the most casualties came from the detonation attack on the junta’s convoy that included two tanks on May 4&5.
- Junta’s casualties reported in battle of Pale Tsp, Sagaing Region
On May 10, Myanma Royal Dragon Army (MRDA) led by Bo Nagar inspired a battle against the allied regime’s forces and Pyu Saw Htee Group. During the clash, air support was witnessed from the junta’s side at least twice. However, MRDA managed to come out on top as at least 20 soldiers of the regime were killed while only one ranger died in the day-long clash.
- SAC’s station in Mobye-Nyaung Shwe Road occupied by PDF, Shan State
On the early morning of May 12, a local PDF carried out an ambush and seized an outpost of SAC on Mobye-Nyaung Shwe Road, situated in the north of Shan State. At least 20 soldiers were killed in the clash and five were captured alive.
- 10000 Residents Becomes Displaced in Southern Shan State After Clashes
More than 10,000 residents from 20 villages in southern Shan State have been displaced by heavy fighting between People’s Defense Forces and junta troops since May 13 when junta troops from Thiri checkpoint on Moebye-Nyaung Shwe main road attacked Lwe Pao village in Pekon Township.
- Kyauktaw IDP Camp Caught on Fire, Hundreds of Residents Face Starvation
Hundreds of refugees from Kyauktaw IDP in Rakhine State’s Kyauktaw Township are struggling to make ends meet after the camp caught fire. The fire broke out around 1am on May 9, with more than half of the 432 tents housing 1,820 people were set on fire.
- Refugees on Indian Border Face Danger of Disease and Shortage of Medicines
Almost 30,000 refugees sheltering in India’s Mizoram State and the twin districts of Champhai and Saiha are reported to be facing a shortage of medicines and access to healthcare after being forcibly displaced since the military coup last year. Most of the refugees are originally from neighboring Chin State with some from Sagaing Region. The refugees have been receiving support from village councils, church and civil society groups in Mizoram such as Young Mizo Association, but the displaced residents are still facing problems while settling in new locations.
- Myanmar Resumes Tourist Visas After 2-year
Starting from May 15, Myanmar will resume its issuance of tourist visa after two years suspension, the Ministry of Immigration and Population announced on May 12. The announcement said that the online e-Visa service will resume for tourist visa applications on May 15.
- Entire Villages in Magway Region’s Myaing and Sagaing Region’s Kalay Torched
Between May 10 and 14, almost the entire villages of Yay Shin in Sagaing Region’s Kalay Township and Lat Yauk Ma in Magway Region’s Myaing Township were torched by junta forces, sources said. Over 400 houses from Kalay Township’s Yay Shin village, Sagaing Region were burned down within four days after junta soldiers and Kalay-People’s Defense Force clashed near the village. In Myaing Township, Magway Region, over 1,500 houses from Lat Yauk Ma village were torched in the evening on May 14 after the junta troop raided the village and stationed on May 13
Sources: Khit Thit, RFA Burmese, Eleven Media, Myanmar Now, NST, DVB News, BBC Burmese, Irrawaddy, VOA Burmese