Weekly Update: 030

Internal Politics

  • DASSK and U Win Myint received three more years of jail-time 

On September 2, junta-controlled court in Naypyidaw Detention Center came to a verdict that the state counselor and the president were guilty of committing electoral fraud in the 2020 election, and imprisoned three years of jail-time by accusing them of violating Section 130a of the Penal Code by unfairly influencing the election commission. Detailed Union Government Office Minister U Min Thu also received the same verdict. To this day, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has received 20 years of jail-time in total. 

  • Rohingya people at the sea

On August 31, RFA Burmese reported that 59 Rohingya people were found in a boat near Pyapon Township of Ayeyarwady Region. According to the locals, the boat had been floating in the sea for a few days as its mortar was broken. Coastal guards rescued them on August 29. Six dead bodies were also on the boat, to which an anonymous coastal guard commented that the deaths were caused by lack of food and water during the time in the sea.

  • AA Chief calls Myanmar army “cowards” 

In his latest Twitter rant, Chief of Arakan Army (AA) General Twan Mrat Naing wrote “The Mrauk-U operation was ordered by commanders of Division 55, who are cowards only daring to attack unarmed Mrauk-U civilians” on September 4. Than Lwin Times reported that the regime had been conducting artillery shelling and aerial attacks recently, which resulted in displacement of civilians. 

  • NUG declared Power 54 as a national heritage 

After the regime’s court made a decision to auction off the Aung San family residence, the NUG declared No. 54-56 University Avenue Road as a national heritage on September 2, signed by the interim president Duwa Lashi La. Being listed as a national heritage, the property is prohibited to be sold, remodeled, renovated or demolished. The announcement also read that any party or anyone involved in breaking these prohibitions will be blacklisted. 

International Affairs

  • Min Aung Hlaing was en route to Russia

The coup leader Min Aung Hlaing will travel to Russia to attend the 7th Eastern Economic Forum 2022 in Russia on September 4 for eight days, and return to Naypyidaw on September 11. Wanted in international courts, Min Aung Hlaing seems to be able to travel only to Russia these days.

  • Military spies detained by Thai authorities in Maesot

On August 29, Thai media reported the arrest of 38 Myanmar nationals who were without travel documents and identified as spies for the Myanmar military. Some were pretending as monks, some nuns. Detainees confessed their mission to spy on the resistance movement from those who have been seeking sanctuary in Thailand. They said they even plotted a plan to further their mission to Bangkok. All of them will be charged and prosecuted by Thai authorities.

Business Matters

  • Junta declared USD 200 Million will be injected for fuel imports

Amidst the rising fuel prices, Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) announced that $200 million will be sold for fuel importers. Under the decision of Financial Regulatory Department (FRD), the junta-controlled media propagated that this was made in an attempt to minimize the depreciation of Myanmar Kyats value. However, there is little optimism that this will stabilize Myanmar economy which is plummeting uncontrollably since the junta leader Min Aung Hlaing initiated the coup in February 2021. A local businessperson said that this will only be the short-term solution for the fuel price to go down, but in the long run, the dollar value will continue appreciating. His speculation totally resonated with the current economy situation as the fuel prices decrease only for few days, and it has since then escalated again.

  • Local airline’s money exchange rate higher than CBM’s rate

In early August, the Central Bank of Myanmar announced that the currency exchange rate has been revised from 1 USD = 1850 MMK to 2100 MMK. Despite the rate having been standardized, even the local airlines failed to oblige with this rate as it is way below the actual market rate. Even the national airline Myanmar National Airlines (MNA), which is currently under the control of the regime, set the rate as 1 USD = 3000 MMK when buying flight tickets. Another major airline in Myanmar, Air KBZ also released a statement in which it announced the rate of exchange of 1 USD will be equivalent to 3050 MMK.

  • Gold merchant and currency exchange agents in danger of being arrested

As the gold and dollar prices have escalated, prominent gold merchants and currency exchange agents have to seek refuge from being arrested by the military junta’s investigation team. One local gold merchant said that the regime’s intel personnel were at Myanmar Gold Entrepreneur Association (MGEA)’s office and patrolled around the informal gold trade areas to check for the illegal transactions prohibited by the junta. The dollar exchange agent also spoke that the military’s associates searched for him at his home after calling him a potential buyer, and he currently had to flee from home. The regime’s appointed deputy minister of commerce and industry U Nyunt Aung propagated that the rising costs of gold and USD are due to the overvaluation of these assets, and he further threatened that the junta’s forces will arrest the unregulated market trade of gold and USD.

Humanitarian Affairs

  • Thousands flee as fighting between Junta and AA escalates in Rakhine

Fresh fighting erupted in Rakhine State on August 30, causing more than 5,000 civilians from more than 10 villages in Rathedaung Township to flee their homes, residents told RFA Burmese. The clashes broke out when a junta column tried to break through an Arakan Army position along a supply route in the northwestern part of the state. One resident said the clashes started at 7pm on Tuesday night and lasted until around midnight. Many residents in Rathedaung Township fled at night whilst a military plane reportedly circled in the air. Recently, a battle broke out between the junta forces and the AA within the township on August 13 as well, and the commander of junta forces based in Rathedaung demanded the AA to leave their posts in the township on August 25. Neither side has released any information about the fighting.

  • IDPs in Rakhine and Chin States in dire need, UNOCHA says

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released a report on September 1, stating that thousands of local residents have fled due to recent fighting between the junta forces and Arakan Army in Rakhine State and Chin State’s Paletwa Township. The tensions between the junta forces and AA have been rising and fresh fighting have erupted in Maungdaw, Rathedaung and Mrauk-U townships as well as Paletwa Township in Chin State since August, resulting in thousands of local residents being forced to flee their homes. Security measures have been tightened in many areas and transportation of medical supplies, food and other humanitarian aid items by water and land is restricted, the report said.

  • Thousands flee homes in Kachin amid fighting between KIA and Junta’s forces

Since early July, more than 3,000 residents in Kachin State’s Waingmaw Township have fled their homes to escape heavy artillery and air strikes from junta forces trying to attack the coalition forces of Kachin Independence Army and local People’s Defense Forces. Junta forces have been attacking KIA camps in Waingmaw, Hpakant, Tanai, and Shwegu townships. In addition to the fighting, the junta soldiers have also been setting fire to over 400 residents’ houses in the township, forcing more than 2,000 residents to flee.

  • More than 80 people forcibly removed from their homes in Shan-north 

In Laukkai of Lashio-district, Shan-north, more than 80 people have become homeless between August 29 and 30. The former MP, Khin Maung Lwin, from the Union Solidarity and Development Party(USDP) colluding together with a Kokang Chinese businessman forced people out of their homes. Homes near the old market were bulldozed and the land was made empty, ready for a land grab.

Protests & Fundraising

  • Protesters hanged banner “UN Prove Your Existence for Justice” in front of UN Office in Yangon

On the morning of September 4, the banner that says “UN Prove Your Existence for Justice” was hung in front of the building of the United Nations office in Yangon. The anti-coup protesters known as “Anti-Junta Alliance Yangon-AJAY” also demanded that the United Nations need to hold the junta accountable and to continue accepting the role of the ambassador U Kyaw Moe Tun representing Myanmar in the UN.

  • 77th Credential Campaign for the UN Ambassador U Kyaw Moe Tun

Protests calling to continue acceptance of the existing UN Ambassador U Kyaw Moe Tun in the 77th credential campaign. On September 3, Myanmar diaspora in the U.S.and Korea organized a protest demanding the UN to do so. Japan will organize a protest on September 11 for a similar purpose. Meanwhile, similar protests were observed in places across Myanmar where the protesters still march to the streets to this day in Sagaing, Tanintharyi, and Magway.

  • All Spring Glory @ Thanthumar Land Plots sold out within 2 days

National Unity of Government (NUG) announced that its project “The End of Dictatorship – EOD” Spring Glory @ Thanthumar Land Plots have all been sold out within 2 days. EOD states that a total of 150 plots with 60 feet x 80 feet in width and 500 plots with 40 feet x 60 feet have been sold out, totaling the value of over USD 10 million. By adding the values of Spring Glory @ Min Dhamma sales, that is a total of over USD 12 million. NUG started announcing the sales of Spring Glory @ Min Dhamma and Thanthumar under The End of Dictatorship – EOD program on September 1st. It further states that buyers will also be granted the right to land ownership, and the valuation is set at one-third of the current market price, and the payment can be made in two installments with a down payment of 40%, and the consigned payment of 60% after the revolution.

  • A new campaign “Project Skywalk” launched to raise USD 1 million

A project skywalk is to arm the people’s defense forces (PDFs) with drones that can hold heavy artillery to launch aerial attacks on the military posts. This project is led by the Deputy Minister of Defense Colonel Naing Kaung Yuat together with finance and public relations teams to support the local defense forces, people defense forces, and ethnic armed groups under a single chain of command. Project Coordinator Ko Armait told the media that he believes this campaign will be a success just like many others.

Resistance Education

  • Teacher trainings on interim education curriculum held by NUG in Kani tsp, Sagaing Region

On September 3, the media reported that the members of the National Unity Government (NUG)’s interim education program have been training 800 teachers in Zone-1 and 600 in Zone-2 of Kanin township respectively where they teach in high schools, middle schools, and primary schools. The teachers are being trained on the new curriculum and on teaching methods.

  • Nway Oo Guru Lay Myar education center accepted new batch

In Karenni IDP camp, a new batch of SEL Kaye Phu Program was welcomed by the Nway Oo Guru Lay Myar education center on its one-year-anniversary of launching the school and medical care program. The new batch was welcomed by the previous batch 1 and 2 and exchanged the plans and ideas of continuous learning despite the hardships.

Attacks on the Junta’s Lackeys & Properties

  • Pyu Saw Htee leader and lapdogs killed in Yesagyo tsp, Magway Region

A coalition of local resistance forces carried out a guerilla attack on Pyu Saw Htee leader Tun Aung Kyaw and his followers in Yesagyo Town, Magway Region on August 28. A video that was shared on social media showed the rangers opening fire on the truck as Pyu Saw Htee members arrived at the local market for tax. It lasted about 20 seconds until the vehicle came to a complete halt. All five people on board were reportedly killed and many weapons were seized.

  • Military informer/dalan attacked and killed in Mattaya, Mandalay Region

On the afternoon of August 31, a person was attacked and killed inside a beer pub in Kyauttada Village, Mattaya Town, Mandalay Region. The man was later identified as U Swe Naing, aged 40-year-old from Taunggaung Village, who was known as a military supporter/informer. He had a transportation business and allegedly accompanied military forces during village raids in his own car more than ten times. Mahar Revolution Force (MRF) claimed responsibility for the attack and said they had to use the knife on him because the gun blanked.   

  • Nine people killed during clash inside military compound in Thanlyin tsp, Yangon

A shoot-out broke out inside the military compound in Sitpinkwin Village, Thanlyin Township, Yangon on the night of August 31, and a total of nine people were reportedly killed. An argument among military families ignited the clash and two soldiers apparently opened fire on fellow soldiers and their family members. Nine people including Captain Myo Han, Lieutenant Thein Aung, Infantry soldiers Toe Tet Naing, Myo Min Khant, San Win, Aung Lay and Lin Lin Htwe and two female family members were shot and killed. One of the culprits was named Wai Yan Kyaw and both are on the run. The regime’s forces blocked Thanlyin and conducted thorough inspection for two days.

  • Ward administrator shot and killed in Hlaingtharya tsp, Yangon

On the evening of September 1, the junta-appointed ward administrator was shot and killed in Hlaing Tharya Township, Yangon. U Zaw Lin, the chief of hundred households for the ward 6 was attacked by unknown gunman on his way home from the office. The 47-year-old was injured in the chest and while being transported to the hospital.

  • Military-owned Myanmar Beer factory targeted in Mingalardon tsp, Yangon

On the evening of September 3, the Myanmar Beer brewery owned by the regime located in Mingalardone Township, Yangon was targeted with two remote bombs. The casualties or damages remained unknown. Generation Z Defense Force & Supply army (GZDF) claimed responsibility for the attack and said “it’s time for the regime’s forces to suffer”. The spokesperson added the rangers who carried out the mission safely retreated. It was the second time this year that the factory was attacked, the first time took place on April 19, 2022. The factory produces Myanmar, Andaman, and Black Shield brands that have been boycotted by the public since the coup.

Arbitrary Arrests, Killings & Violence

  • PDF’s supply station ambushed, political activists detained in Hpakant tsp, Kachin State

On the early morning of August 27, the regime’s forces raided a supply office of the People’s Defense Force (PDF) in Mhawpon Village, Hpakant Township, Kachin State, detaining six people including protest leader Ko Zaw Min Oo. The soldiers arrived in two military trucks and set the food supplies and vehicles on fire after the raid. Many fears for the life of Ko Zaw Min Oo as his house has also been sealed recently for his political movements. 

  • Regime’s soldiers opened fire and detained youths in Ahlone tsp, Yangon

On the night of August 31, the regime’s soldiers and policemen conducted a lengthy search under the name of midnight inspection on an apartment, on the corner of Sinmin and Ngywar roads in Ahlone Township, Yangon. The location was blocked as they seized the apartment, drawing guns on the young residents shortly afterward. About six youths were reportedly abducted and some allegedly jumped out of a window to escape the arrest too.   

  • Medical doctor with outstanding academic records from Mandalay sentenced to seven years

Doctor Kyaw Kyaw Thet who was abducted by the regime’s forces in Mandalay last year has been sentenced to seven years in prison under the counterterrorism act. He was also given a three-year-imprisonment in May this year under the sedition act and now he is facing ten years behind bars in total. The 28-year-old holds the highest achievement record in Mandalay medical college, and he had been consistently serving the community with volunteer teaching work and free medical consultations until his detention. The regime’s forces opened fire and beat him up as they raided his house in July 2021.

  • Four political activists sentenced to jail terms in Mandalay

Young members of Mandalay’s strike force have been sentenced to imprisonment in Mandalay. Ko Kyaw Thiha Soe, one of the leaders, has been sentenced to 10 years in total under the counterterrorism act and sedition act. The rest such as Ko Kyaw Soe Moe, Ko Hein Min Zaw, and Ma Ja Seng Aung received three years each under the sedition act on September 1.

  • Ex-UK ambassador Vicky Bowman and her husband Htein Lin jailed for a year

Vicky Bowman, the UK’s former ambassador to Myanmar and her husband Htein Lin, a former political prisoner/artist, have each been sentenced to one year in prison by a tribunal controlled by Min Aung Hlaing’s regime on September 2. The couple were arrested last week in their home in Yangon for allegedly breaching immigration laws. The arrest took place shortly after the UK announced sanctions against the military including Min Aung Hlaing’s son.

  • Hip-hop artist detained in Myaut-U, Rakhine State

Ko Kyaw San Wai, a local hip-hop artist from Myauk-U, Rakhine State have been abducted by the regime’s forces on the morning of September 4. The 30-year-old victim is popular on Facebook for his comedy and recently produced a rap song called Exodus that included lyrics about current politics and situations in Rakhine and it is speculated to be the reason for his arrest. On the previous night, Min Aung Hlaing’s soldiers reportedly opened fire randomly in the town as well.  

Armed Resistance

  • Min Aung Hlaing’s military conduced airstrikes to reclaim strategic outpost in Maungdaw tsp, Rakhine

On August 31, Arkan Army (AA) mounted an offensive and seized the military station of the regime located near mile-40 in the north of Maungdaw Township, Rakhine State, which is also a border to Bangladesh. In the clash, about 19 soldiers from the junta were killed. In order to reclaim the strategic location, the junta has been reportedly conducting airstrikes in the area with four military choppers in addition to heavy artillery. Also on August 28, the regime’s heavy artillery killed three civilians including a child, and injured nine more.

  • PDF and KIA attacked SNA’s forces in Banmauk, Sagaing Region

On August 31, a combined force of PDF and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) conducted an attack on the station of Shan Nationality Army (SNA) located 30 miles west of Banmauk Town, Sagaing Region. The spokesperson for SNA accused KIA invades its territory because KIA wants to expand its control of the land. He added that another station of SNA near Natnan Village in Homelin Township was also targeted by PDF and KIA on August 30. 

  • SAC announced arrest of 19 PDF members in Pyapon and Maubin tsp, Ayeyarwaddy Region

On September 3, the State Administration Council (SAC) released the news that 14 PDF members from Pyapon and 5 from Maubin townships of Ayeyarwaddy Region have been arrested. However, according to a member of the Urban Guerilla Force from those regions, only six of those were actual members and the rest were civilians. One of the detainees was pictured dead in the news broadcasted by the junta-owned state media.   

  • Nearly a dozen SAC soldiers killed during clashes in Khin-U tsp, Sagaing Region

During this week, skirmishes that took place in the west of Khin-U Township, Sagaing Region has resulted in the deaths of at least ten military personnel from SAC, according to the local-based Khin-U Support Organization (KSO). On August 31, a 40-men military convoy was detonated with landmines and eight including a colonel and a captain were killed. The bodies were airlifted to a football stadium in Ye-U Town on September 2. Resistance forces again attacked the soldiers who were providing security to the helicopter with drones. At least five more soldiers were killed in the attack.

  • Regime soldiers raided PDF station, met with landmines in Minhla tsp, Magway Region

On the morning of August 30, around 4am, about 200 troops conducted a raid on a PDF station located in the south of Min Hla Township, Magway Region. The resistance forces narrowly dodged the attack as they received the news about 30 minutes ahead and managed to set up landmines before the escape. Many soldiers were said to be killed by explosion of landmines as they entered the station. The eight-vehicle convoy reportedly retreated after having to collect the bodies of their own men, instead of catching the PDF rangers in blind.

  • Nearly 4,000 skirmishes reported in Hpapun tsp, Karen State since the coup

A recent report from Institute for Strategy and Policy-Myanmar revealed that there have been a total of 3,7,34 clashes erupted in Karen State’s Hpapun Township between February 2021 and July 31, 2022. Karen National Union’s recent report also stated that about 90,291 civilians were displaced by fighting in Karen State’s Dooplaya District between August 1 and 20, and over 33 clashes erupted within 20 days as well.

Source: Khit Thit Media, Myanmar Now, The Irrawaddy, Mizzima, RFA Burmese, Ayeyarwaddy Times, People’s Spring, Mandalay Strike Force, Burma Associated Press, Public Voice Televistion, Lu Nge Khit 

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