Weekly Update: 031

Folks, read our weekly recap between September 4 – 11 below:

Internal Affairs

  • NUG working to establish own central bank with digital currency

NUG’s Minister for Planning, Finance and Investment U Tin Tun Naing told Bloomberg media that the civilian-elected government has been working to establish a central bank with digital currency. As for the reserve money, the NUG has urgently requested the US government to release the one billion dollars reserved money which was frozen in the US Federal bank.

  • Coup leader admits massive casualties in his camp

Min Aung Hlaing’s internal speech for the soldiers was leaked. In the speech, he admitted that the military has been suffering casualties due to weak tactics. He reasoned that the incorrect distributions of troops, fabricated reports to the higher-ups, and the failure to use military education in practice. The speech was given on June 20, 2022, at the quarterly meeting of all military.

  • Son of former general accused Myanmar independent media disseminate disinformation

Aye Chan, son of U Soe Thein who is a former general from the navy, attended the Dili Dialogue Forum and participated in the media challenges section. During the section, he said that some news outlets are spreading disinformation on purpose and illiterate people have been following them. He also said that Facebook blue tick is not trustworthy, and all the “terrorist organizations” have received blue tick verified profiles on Facebook. He said the regime has published a fact check program and people should follow that.

International Affairs

  • German Foreign Minister to support the NUG

After the online meeting with NUG’s foreign minister Daw Zin Mar Aung, Dr Tobias Lindner, foreign minister of German Federal Government tweeted that Germany will continue to support Myanmar people’s fight for democracy on September 10. He also said that the military must return power to the people, and ASEAN and the UN must urgently help to restore peace in the country. Prior to the upcoming UN General Assembly, Daw Zin Mar Aung has been meeting with foreign ministers from European countries.

  • UN Credentials Campaign important for diplomatic fight 

Pro-democracy protesters marched on the streets of Tokyo on September 11 to call for the United Nations to retain the Myanmar Representative U Kyaw Moe Tun who courageously pledged allegiance with the pro-democracy movement last year on February 26. The same demand was called among the Burmese diaspora together with the S.Koreans on September 10 in Incheon city, Bupyeong-district. Youth protesters in Yangon on the evening of September 10 also marched to the streets with a banner that says “Accept NUG & Our Ambassador, Reject Dictator”, calling for the public to join the campaign for Myanmar representative in the UN. Online Photo Campaign for the same purpose is to be held from September 10 to 30 with hashtags UKYAWMOETUN4MYANMAR and #MYANMAR4UKYAWMOETUN.

Business Matters

  • Ooredoo sold to Singaporean telecommunications company

Qatar-based Ooredoo Company announced on September 8th that it has agreed to sell its business entity in Myanmar to Singaporean-based Nine Communications Pte. Ltd. in a deal of USD 576 million. Although Ooredoo did not clearly mention the reason for leaving its business from Myanmar, it is found that the number of Ooredoo users has declined after the coup according to the research data from TeleGeography. Ooredoo is the third largest telecom company in Myanmar, and before the coup, there are about 15 million Ooredoo users. Today, the userbase has declined to 8.3 million. Ooredoo becomes the second company to leave from Myanmar market in the telecom sector following Norway-based Telenor in the aftermath of the coup. In the announcement, Ooredoo mentioned that Nine Communications is owned by a Burmese person named U Nyan Win and Link Family Office.

  • Myanmar under the risk of being blacklisted by FATF

Myanmar faces the risk of being blacklisted for money laundering and terrorism acts by the global money-laundering watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Nikkei Asia wrote on September 7th that Paris-based FATF will make a decision in October, and if Myanmar is blacklisted, it could cause a huge blow to the military junta. Currently, only North Korea and Iran are blacklisted by FATF, and if Myanmar joined them, it would further jeopardize the goals of the military generals who expect more foreign investments. An ambassador based in Asia spoke to Nikkei Asia that there is not much progress in Myanmar and therefore, it is likely that FATF evaluation team will approve for Myanmar to be blacklisted during October meeting.

  • Local gold prices continued rising despite the sales of the junta-inspired gold coins

Although the junta attempted to regulate the gold market by selling gold coins in the market, the price remained on the rise. State Administration Council (SAC) started the sales in Naypyitaw on September 1st, selling 0.25, 0.5. 1 tical gold coin at Naypyidaw Jewelry Hall. Although Yangon Gold Entrepreneur Association (YGEA) set the local gold price of 1 tical – approx. MMK 20 million, the gold coin is sold at MMK 29.5 million. Although SAC announced that gold coins will also be sold in Yangon and Mandalay, they are still not available in these cities yet. Local gold market experts pointed out that the regime’s plan will not work unless there is enough supply for the market demand.

Humanitarian Affairs

  • Around 10,000 Myaing residents on the run after junta forces advanced

Myaing Township-Village Revolutionary Front (MVRF) reported that around 10,000 local residents have been forced to flee due to junta forces’ raids in the western part of Myaing Township in Magway Region. A column of around 100 junta soldiers started raiding the villages on the western part of Myaing Township since the last week of August, burning down villages, arresting and torturing people, looting the residents’ valuables as well as livestock. MVRF Chairman U Aung Zeya said these acts have forced the residents to flee their villages, and the local PDFs and villagers in nearby communities have been supporting the displaced residents.

  • Villages from northern Maungdaw blocked by junta forces, food rations running out

Residents from Rakhine State’s Maungdaw Township said that 11 villages in the northern part of Maungdaw Township are facing difficulties because junta forces have blocked the roads and aid. Villagers are unable to travel around to source food and other necessities as the junta forces blocked roads starting from Kha Maung Seik Strategy Hill. On August 31, the Arakan Army announced that they managed to seize Junta’s 40th Milepost Camp in northern Maungdaw Township. Since then the junta forces have been terrorizing the surrounding area in between 40th Milepost Camp and Kha Maung Seik Strategy Hill with helicopters and jets. Internet and phone lines have reportedly been cut off since August 26, Sayadaw Aung Thapyay told Western News, and added that right now, he had to climb up to the top of the mountain to contact the news outlet.

Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM)

  • “Pyithu Tharkaung (People’s Beloved Sons)” announced rewards for CDM soldiers and police

A project called “Pyithu Tharkaung (People’s Beloved Sons)” led by previously defected soldiers and police together with pro-democracy groups will reward anyone defecting the military with sums of MMK 3 Lakh to 20 Lakh (100-700 USD). The defectors can either make direct contact with the project’s telegram account or can defect to nearby ethnic armed groups or people defense forces (PDF). Either way, they will be rewarded for the action.

  • Two soldiers from Kutaw police station join CDM in Sagaing’s Butalin Town

On September 5, two soldiers from Kutaw police station joined the Donepyan Local People Defense Forces (LPDF) with two guns and other weapons such as 400 bullets, five hand grenades, and a landmine. They were each rewarded MMK 50 Lakh (around 1700 USD) and transferred to the liberated area. 

  • Three infantry soldiers from Division-66 join CDM in Karenni (Kayah) State

Three soldiers from Infantry Battalion11 based in Pathein town, Ayeyarwady region, have defected to Karenni Army with weapons. They have been sent to the frontline in a division-66 that has been launching offensive attacks on the people’s defense forces and Kareeni Army in the Karenni State. They confessed they defected because they had been forcibly recruited to the army and saw the underage soldiers sent to the frontline. They brought three guns, 1000 bullets, and three hand grenades with them.

Attacks on the Junta’s Lackeys & Properties

  • Six attacks on the junta reported in Mandalay within a week

So far in September, at least six attacks on the junta’s lackeys and properties have been recorded in Mandalay, in which two were killed and three were injured. On the evening of September 8, two policemen were targeted on their way to a booze hunt, one of them was allegedly shot three times and killed. On the day prior, a sewing center in Amarapura Township was attacked with a bomb where one person was killed and three were wounded. MN PDF claimed responsibility for the attack. Also on September 6, two traffic policemen were targeted with a grenade on the corner of 78th and 37th streets in Mahaaungmyay Township. More attacks took place earlier in the month; the ward administrative office from Sinswalput Ward, Amarapura Township was attacked with a bomb on September 4, carried out by Truth Keeping Force-Amarapura. On September 2, a teacher’s housing was also targeted at the corner of 125th and 56th streets and a ward administrative office on 133rd and 56th streets.

  • Pyu Saw Htee leader killed in Moekaung, Kachin State

On early morning of September 8 around 4.30 am, Pyu Saw Htee leader Maung Soe was shot and killed in Moekaung, Kachin State. He was also an owner of a motel and a liquor shop. UG black k force carried out the attack as Maung Soe was opening his businesses for the day. Although he tried to reach for his gun, UG black k managed to put six bullets in his body and killed him. Maung Soe was a prominent military informer who abducted youths in the region just on suspicion base of being member of People’s Defense Forces (PDF).

  • SAC’s surveillance officer killed in Sittwe, Rakhine State

On September 8, a surveillance police officer of the State Administration Council (SAC) was shot and killed in Sittwe City, Rakhine State. The incident took place in the evening around 6.30 pm when the police Theikpa was attacked on his motorbike with a gun from close range at a traffic light. His wife and child were also said to be on another motorbike not far from the scene. It’s unknown who carried out the attack yet.

  • Monywa prison’s authority detained by PDF in Monywa tsp, Sagaing Region

On September 9, the Monya-based resistance force named Fight for People F.F.P said it had arrested an officer from the Monywa Prison in Thasi Village, Monywa Township, Sagaing Region. The detainee was identified as U Myo Nyunt Aung, a vice supervisor in the engineering department of the Monywa Prison. He had been overseeing the new construction projects inside the prisons in Sagaing Region when he was compromised. The 56-year-old is said to be in deteriorating health, and he has been given medical treatment by F.F.P.  

Arbitrary Arrest, Killings & Violence

  • Over 220 died in military interrogation

The number of people who were arrested and died in interrogation after the military coup has reached almost 220, according to surveys conducted by the Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN). Between February 2021 and August 2022, there were up to 217 people who died in interrogation, including members of the People’s Defense Forces and National League for Democracy party, Executive Director of BHRN U Kyaw Win said. According to the list compiled by the National Unity Government, the number of people who died after being severely tortured during interrogation is over 200, NUG’s Human Rights Minister U Aung Myo Min said. The Minister added that most of the victims were young people under the age of 35, and they had to go through psychological, physical and sexual abuses after arrests.

  • Political prisoner passed away with torture wounds in Taung Lay Lone Prison, Shan State

Ko Aung Zaw Oo, patron of SSPDF/UG reportedly passed away in Taunggyi’s Taung Lay Lone Prison, Shan State on September 5. Ko Aung Zaw Oo was put through an intense interrogation in which two of his ribs were broken by the junta’s soldiers and his health never recovered from it. He died of wounds obtained from those investigations.Ko Aung Zaw Oo was also a former political prisoner, who was detained once again in August, 20221 for his activities in the resistance movement against the coup. He only had a walkie-talkie in his possession when he was detained and he was given a seven-year prison term.

  • Doctor abducted in Taunggoke tsp, Rakhine State

Dr. Kyaw Thura Tun, a private clinic owner, and a general practitioner was abducted by unknown masked men in Taunggoke Township, Rakhine State on September 6. Four men were seen getting inside his car on his way back from dropping off his wife at the hospital where she works as a nurse. And then the car was circled by three motorbikes and witnessed heading in a direction towards the military infantry unit 544. It’s unknown whether it was the regime or other armed forces who took him. Dr. Kyaw Thura Tun retired from the public services five years ago and has reportedly opened and worked in his own private clinic at home.   

  • Five civilians including a 15-year-old girl detained by SAC’s forces in Kantbalu tsp, Sagaing Region

On September 7, three helicopters of the junta carrying about 100 troops made a surprise landing in the villagers located in the north of Kantbalu Township, Sagaing Region. Among civilians who could not make the run, about 100 people were detained and kept at the monastery of Zeekanar Village. On the next day, the troops released everyone except five civilians before leaving the village on foot. Five detainees included a 15-year-old student called Ma Thazin Moe who happened to keep the pictures of welcoming PDF soldiers on her phone. The rest were male, and their identities cannot be verified yet. All of them are reportedly kept at Koetaungboh Police Station.

  • Three dead bodies found with Thway Thout lanyards in Amarapura tsp, Mandalay Region

On the morning of September 11, three male dead bodies were found near Yayhtein Bridge on Mandalay-Sagaing Road in Amarapura Township, Mandalay Region. Throat cuts were found on the bodies and “Thway Thout” lanyards were reportedly hung on their necks, a sign that they were murdered by the military-sponsored death squad that goes by the same name. All the victims were estimated to be in their 30s although they have not been identified yet.

  • SAC’s soldiers raped seven women including the disabled in Kani tsp, Sagaing Region

In August, SAC’s soldiers committed sexual assaults against at least seven women in Kani Township, Sagaing Region. Such crimes were committed in two villages in Kani Township. The first case took place on August 17, when a social welfare worker, aged 30 was raped by killed by the junta’s soldiers. More crimes were committed following the soldiers’ raid on August 28, six more women were assaulted, and one of them was said to be disabled. All victims have not been given proper medical treatment except contraception due to the lack of access. The rapists have not been identified yet but they were heard to be from Magway, Pyin Oo Lwin, and Sagaing-based military units.

Armed Resistance

  • Over 1,500 PDF soldiers have died in the resistance war, NUG said

In his speech marking the one-year anniversary of the declaration of the resistance war, the interim president heading the National Unity Government (NUG) Duwa Lashi La said that over 1,500 rangers have died fighting for freedom against the junta’s forces. Meanwhile, about 20,150 soldiers from the junta’s side were also killed in this revolution, as mentioned in his speech. The president called them martyrs and paid tribute to the fallen 1,500 rangers.

  • Clash broke out in Moebye, the border of Shan and Kareeni (Kayah) states

A battle broke out between the regime’s forces and Karenni Nationality Defense Force (KNDF) in Moebye Town on September 8 and it lasted over ten hours on the day and continued to the next day. The town is located in Shan State and connects with Kareeni (Kayah) State on the border. The two-day battle saw the junta open fire from helicopters in addition to heavy artilleries. A child was reportedly killed by artillery fired by SAC’s soldiers and KNDF picked up the body when the clash slowed down. About 30 soldiers were estimated to be killed and no casualties have been reported from KNDF yet. It is the regime’s Pyay-based Battalion 66 from Bago Region that has been active in the area.  

  • Two PDF rangers died in attack on SAC’s security gate in Pakokku, Magway Region

On September 8, a local resistance force named Royal Defence Force (PKU) carried out an operation on the junta’s security gate in front of the military’s textile and garment factory in Pakokku, Magway Region. The main goal of the mission was to collect weapons from the fallen soldiers. As one soldier dropped after the shot, two PDF rangers rushed to pick up the gun and they were targeted by more troops from inside the factory and shot to death. It was impossible to bring back the bodies due to the constant firing from the soldiers. It was sad to lose two rangers and it was even sadder to learn about the goal of the mission as there was limited weapon supply to local PDF.

  • Junta’s ambush mission on the resistance forces backfired in Mattaya tsp, Mandalay Region

On the early morning of September 9, the regime’s forces mounted an assault on the resistance forces based in Yaylalkyun Village, located on the Ayeyarwaddy River, Mattaya Township of Mandalay Region. SAC’s troops arrived in boats and camouflaged in the village before starting to shell heavy artillery towards where they thought the resistance forces would be located. The rangers responded with bombs-carrying drones and the back-and-forth firing lasted over nine hours until 2 pm. At least 14 personnel including officers from the junta were said to be killed in the clash. No casualty was reported from the people’s side although two civilians reportedly drowned and passed away while fleeing the clash.

  • Battle intensified in Maungdaw tsp, Rakhine State

A clash between the regime’s forces and Arakan Army (AA) was reported in Maungdaw Township, Rakhine State on September 9. Counterparts exchanged shootings from 3 pm until 10 pm near Meetike Village on Kyaing Chaung- Taungpyo Road. SAC’s forces reportedly conducted airstrikes in the battle. Since it lost control of a military station on the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh, the regime has been retaliating in the areas in the north of Rakhine. On September 10, AA carried out guerilla attacks on the junta’s stations located two miles east of Kyaing Chaung Village and the regime’s forces responded by firing heavy artillery.

Reference: Khit Thit Media, Myanmar Now, Mizzima, Irrawaddy, DVB, VOA, Burma Associated Press, Burma VJ, Western News

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