Folks, another week of daily updates from our team coming to you.
- USDP to elect a new leadership in its third convention in October
A USDP insider source told Myanmar Now that the military proxy party the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) plans to hold a three-day convention on October 4 in Naypyidaw. The source said that six members of the central executive committee, including current chairperson U Than Htay will retire from their positions. U Than Htay was publicly criticized by another CEC member Mingin Maung Myint for adjusting the party rules single-handedly without consulting with the leadership. Currently, former general U Khin Yee has been serving as an interim chairperson, but according to Bullet Hla Swe, the position will only be formalized after the convention. U Khin Yee had taken a ministerial position under the State Administration Council (SAC) after the coup, but in the third week of August 2022, he had retired from the position, and taken the party duties and tasks.
- NUG’s minister urged the international community to find a new way to resolve Myanmar problem
The National Unity Government (NUG)’s Minister for Human Rights U Aung Myo Min said that it is time for the UN and international community to find new approaches to resolve Myanmar instead of solely depending on the ASEAN. DVB News reported on September 25 that the minister said that Myanmar civilians, who have been harrassed by the military for more than 18 months, are largely ignored by the international community. The regional 10-member bloc was tasked to help resolve the problem, but the five-point consensus had been ineffective, and the military council continued to kill civilians. U Aung Myo Min said that the NUG and Myanmar activists have actively called on the international community to protect the people of Myanmar but they only received empty statements which only voiced the concerns with no action followed.
- The military began the planning process for the upcoming election
The SAC held a coordination meeting in Pobba Thiri Township, Naypyidaw on September 21 to discuss the voter list, and polling stations for the upcoming election. The public is largely not interested in the process that the junta-administered election commission has been conducting for the new election, for the people struggle to survive in the worsening domestic economy. The military council announced that the first-past-the-post voting system and proportional representation system will be adopted in the 2023 election, yet the coup leader had said in his Russia trip that he could not guarantee to hold the election successfully.
- Sittwe faced curfew after military engagements
The regime imposed a curfew in Sittwe Township of Rakhine State starting September 24. The curfew prohibited civilians from going out between 10pm to 5am, where all shops, restaurants and vendors cannot operate in these hours. The directive came after the resuming military engagement between the Arakan Army (AA) and the regime’s forces in July 2022. Since the fighting, the regime forces had imposed restrictions such as checking overnight guests, arresting civilians arbitrarily, blocking both land and water transports. On September 23, the NUG’s president office spokesperson U Kyaw Zaw said that the civilian government stands with the Rakhien people who have been affected by the fighting and the regime’s harassment.
- Protest held in Kyoto against Japan’s invitation of the junta to state funeral
In Kyoto September 25, around 30 Burmese diaspora and Japanese activists joined together to stage a standing demonstration against Abe’s funeral invitation to the military representative, Burmese Ambassador to Japan. The invitation angered Myanmar people as it means Japan government’s attempt to legitimize the murderous regime.The demonstration was held in front of a historic Yasaka shrine for a brief 30 minutes where the demonstrators also distributed pamphlets to bring awareness on the current situation of Myanmar, and collected donations to support Myanmar cause. In fact, more than 50 percent of Japan’s population is against holding a public-funded state funeral, and Japan’s decision to invite the murderous military representative has only angered Burmese diaspora as many parts of Japan are scheduled to hold a protest before the funeral is to be held on September 27.
- Thai authority arrested Min Aung Hlaing’s armed broker Tun Min Latt and seized $5 millions
Reuters reported that Thai authorities have arrested four people, including Tun Min Latt who is an armed broker of the junta Min Aung Hlaing, and has taken control of $5 millions in possessions under the charge of money laundering and drugs. Thai police spokesperson Kissana Phathanacharoen said that Tun Min Latt and three Thai nationals were arrested last week in Bangkok, and are charged with money laundering and drug cases. Tun Min Latt was primarily involved with Min Aung Hlaing, and did business with the junta leader for minerals, hotel, and energy businesses, and they both had attended the Arms Fair in Bangkok in 2019. According to the Thai Police Force, the Drug Enforcement Authority (DEA) has requested the arrest warrant from the court to collect the required evidence, and continue investigating, and the Thai Police Force has seized a total of 200 million Baht (5.4 million USD).
- Many KBZ Pay and Wave Money accounts have been frozen
The military regime began freezing multiple KBZ Pay and Wave Money mobile wallet accounts starting on September 19. Some victims have over 10 million Myanmar Kyats (MMK) in their accounts, and get their account shut down although they follow the standard procedures set by Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM). According to one KBZ Pay user whose account was frozen, he lost about 10 million MMK left in his bank account although he upgraded his account to Level 2, and his sim card is registered with his own national identity card. Local businessmen in Yangon also said that multiple KBZ Pay and Wave Money mobile accounts have been continuously shut down since September 17 after CBM’s announcement. One local businessman was quoted as saying that many people stopped using Wave Money after it required users to bring national identity cards to transfer money, and to have photos taken for the people transferring money. After many KBZ Pay accounts have been closed, retail stores started posting signs that they no longer accept KBZ Pay payments. The people attempted to appeal to retrieve their money, but it was uncertain with a high risk of money being lost.
- The regime held discussion with Russia to use MIR bank card in Myanmar
After Myanmar Kyats value kept depreciating at a staggering rate and the SAC had faced sanctions from Western countries, the junta planned to use the Russia Mir Bank Card system in Myanmar. The regime’s spokesperson General Zaw Min Tun spoke during the press conference in Naypyitaw that CBM held discussion to make payment in Russia Rubel and Myanmar Kyats, and to implement such a payment system as soon as possible with Russian-made Mir card system. The Russian Financial Regulatory Organization has also agreed to support CBM, and they are now holding talks. The Russian Mir bank card was only used in countries such as Cuba, South Korea, Turkey, Vietnam, and former Soviet Union countries. After the junta has illegitimately staged the coup in 2021, SAC has faced major sanctions from western countries and thus, Min Aung Hlaing discussed with Russian authorities in his journey to Russia to use Russian Ruble as a substitute to United States Dollars (USD), and to rely less on USD.
- Junta attacks on Sagaing Region’s Khin-U villages displaced thousands of civilians
Recent junta attacks in Sagaing Region’s Khin-U villages have reportedly displaced thousands of villagers, the local sources told Myanmar Now. Members of the local resistance said that a 70-soldiers strong column raided Khin-U Township from the west and a 200-strong column raided from the east side. Junta forces arrived at Thagara Myo Thit village on September 21, and clashes broke out at the village’s entrance. The clashes caused villagers to flee and also caused the neighboring villages’ residents to flee as well.
Attacks on the Junta’s Lackeys & Properties
- Ward administrator given premature retirement by UG in Thaketa tsp, Yangon
On the evening of September 20 around 7.30 pm, ward.4 administrator U Win Bo from Thaketa Township, Yangon was shot dead in a teashop. Soul Takers- Yangon Underground Force that was responsible for the attack said its rangers fired nine times at the 56-year-old. U Win Bo was said to have coordinated with the military soldiers in the abductions of youths and even involved with interrogations. A police stick, walkie talkie, and related documents were found in his possession at the scene.
- UG force took revenge on police who killed social volunteer in Ye tsp, Mon State
Ye Balu Urban Guerilla Force based in Ye Township, Mon State carried out an attack on a surveillance police officer who had unlawfully killed a social welfare volunteer in the previous month. Aung Kyaw Min, assigned at Lamine Myoma Police Station was shot 16 times to death in a car garage on September 21. He had allegedly been involved with the extrajudicial killing of Ko Min Lin Aung, a Mon ethnic and a community volunteer on August 3. Ye Balu Force said it was a justice served on behalf of Ko Min Lin Aung.
- Ward administrator gunned down in Mayangone tsp, Yangon
Two young men were reportedly attacked in Mayangone Township, Yangon on the afternoon of September 22. They were later identified as 22-year-olds Ko Zwe Thu Aung, a hundred household administrator, and Ko Hla Myint. Ko Zwe Thu Aung who had been notorious for being a dalan/military informer and drug trader in the community was shot in the back of the head and killed instantly while Ko Hla Myint suffered a wound in his leg. The attack was carried out by the coalition of Myanmar Independence Unit (MIU), Marauder Front Five (MFF), and Black Shadow Squad (BSS).
- Retired major attacked and killed in Hlaing tsp, Yangon
On the afternoon of September 24, breaking news came out of Yangon that a retired major/former ambassador named U Ohm Thwin who represented the military junta was shot and killed in his home in Hlaing Township. The man and his son-in-law who was also a military captain were attacked in front of their house by gunmen from Inya Urban Force-IUF and both men died on the spot. The 72-year-old U Ohm Thwin was looked up to and respected by many high-ranking junta officers, including the vice commander in chief Soe Win. As such, he was said to have advised his junior military chiefs to take control of the country by force. And he was witnessed celebrating on social media and in real life for the military coup and often advocated the brutal crackdown on peaceful demonstrations of the youths even though he held ambassador positions after he retired from the military. Moreover, he publicly defamed the state counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi by calling her degrading names for her efforts in international relations.
Arbitrary Arrests, Killings & Violence
- Underage teen detained at Insein Prison passed away days before release
On September 17, the 17-year-old Ko Khant Thurein who had been detained at Insein Prison for murder charges reportedly passed away just a few days before his due release. The regime sent the dead body to his family and said Ko Khant Thurein died of TB. They also warned the family to hold the funeral quiet. Ko Khant Thurein was arrested in September 2021 along with four other underage teens, after being accused of being involved in a killing of a ward administrator. He was given one-year imprisonment and although he should have been sent to a youth detention center for his age, he was ordered to serve the term at Insein Prison.
- Local killed by regime soldiers in Myitkyina, Kachin State
On September 18, regime soldiers shot and killed a 35-year-old man named Ko Lar Mardee in the village, 10 miles north of Myitkyina. The victim ran into the military convoy in that morning around 9 am as he left for work. His body was burned and destroyed before the soldiers marched into the village for more investigation. Ko Lar Mardee was not involved in any political activities and he made living on farming and fishing and he was killed for no apparent reason according to local sources. Also on the previous day, two of the junta’s soldiers ran down a local woman with a motorbike in Ingwan Village. The culprits were arrested by a nearby crowd and sent to Kachin Independence Army (KIA).
- SAC planned to arrest Myanmar model in Thailand
Han Lay, a popular Myanmar model who gained the spotlight for speaking out against the regime during an international beauty tournament last year faced brief detention in Bangkok airport on September 22. It turned out that the State Administration Council (SAC) had charged her with penal code 124 which criminalizes “any attempt to bring into hatred or contempt, or excite disaffection towards the government”. Han Lay was told by Thai authorities that her passport has been canceled and she is wanted by International Police (Interpol) hence she was instructed to take the flight back to Vietnam where she spent a few days for visa issues. Fortunately, Han Lay was able to contact UNHCR which has provided protection, saving her from deportation to Myanmar.
- Another detained NLD’s MP killed in interrogation in Kachin State
U Myo Myo Kyaw, the Member of Parliament (MP) representing the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Mohnyin Township, Kachin State was detained by the junta’s forces at the 21-mile inspection gate of Myitkyina on August 24 along with another prominent political activist Ko Sai Maung from Hpakant. Both were said to be taken for interrogation and since then, no news was heard. On September 22, news came out that U Myo Myo Kyaw had been killed by the regime’s soldiers during interrogation. His family was not informed about the news and the dead body was not returned either. It is still unknown the whereabouts and well-being of Ko Sai Maung.
- Regime’s artillery killed child in Shweku, Kachin State
On September 22, a 9-year-old child was reportedly killed by the heavy artillery of the regime in Shweku Town, Bhamo District in Kachin State. It began when the rangers of the People’s Defense Force (PDF) opened fire on the junta’s convoy that was traveling in the Ayeyarwaddy River. The convoy consisted of about 100 troops sailing on the river with boats as the Kyun Hla PDF soldiers attacked them. The regime soldiers who remained at the station on the river banks responded by shelling artillery on the village near Shwe Ku Town. The fire fell on Moe Sit Village and killed 9-year-old student Mg Zwe Naing Moe and injured four civilians including a volunteer teacher.
- KNLA took control of SAC’s station in Kawkareik tsp, Karen State
Karen National Union (KNU) released news on September 21 that its military wing Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) had mounted an offensive on the junta’s Kyait Station on September 20 along with Dawna Column- the coordination force. The attack began at 2.02 pm and lasted 17 minutes before they managed to take control of the station. Seven soldiers of the junta’s were killed and two were found alive with wounds. Many weapons were also captured. KNU added that it had surrounded Kyait Station and cut off food rations since August 8 and eventually managed to seize it on September 21.
- Clashes resumed on Chin-Magway border
On September 20, a battle broke out between the regime’s army and Chin Defense Force (CDF-Kanpetlet) on the western bank of Monechaung, Say Tutara Township on the border of Chin State and Magway Region. The clash lasted over one hour and resulted in the death of at least five soldiers. About 200 bullets and grenades were also seized. It has been almost two months since the last battle broke out in that area. And since September 11, the regime’s forces have been witnessed marching in the region again.
- SAC’s forces conducted offensive and burned villages in Pakokku tsp, Magway Region
On September 21, about 90 regime troops reportedly marched into Gaon Laydine Village, Pakokku Township, Magway region and terrorized the households. At least 15 houses were burned down on that day, according to a spokesperson from Pakokku PDF (PPDF). Again on September 23, the soldiers ransacked Myitfyar Village, two miles away from Gaon Laydine Village, setting houses on fire. At least 45 houses were turned into ashes.
- Skirmishes intensified in Moebye tsp, Shan State
Following their heavy defeat on September 12, the regime’s forces reportedly returned to Moebye Town, Shan-Kareeni (Kayah) border with more reinforcements including tanks and 150 troops on September 19. Since then, the resistance forces have been attempting to attack them and defend their territory. However, since the junta’s soldiers have stationed inside Pagodas and civilian wards, it has been challenging to open a war front for the resistance forces. Still, clashes took place on September 20 and 21 where the regime’s forces launched heavy artillery on Moebye Town.
- Junta’s forces reinforced in Maungdaw tsp, Rakhine State
After losing three stations to the Arakan Army (AA) in a month, SAC has reinforced its troops in Maungdaw Township, Rakhine State. Thousands of soldiers were reportedly sent to the direction of Maungdaw Township. About 500 regime troops from Battalion Unit 77 have been witnessed in Aung Mingalar Village since September 16. The soldiers reportedly abducted civilians and forced them to do hard labor so they can station there.
- Fourteen deaths from COVID in the past three weeks
As the rate of COVID infection began to increase again day by day in Myanmar, a total of 14 people are reported to have died due to COVID in more than three weeks between September 1 and 22. According to a daily report from the Ministry of Health, at least one death was reported on September 1, 4, 5, 6, 13, 14, 21 and 22, and two deaths reported on September 18, 19 and 20. On September 22 alone, at least 409 new cases of COVID-19 were detected in Myanmar, and back in August, there were only about 100 cases on average daily.
Source: Khit Thit Media, Myanmar Now, DVB, Mizzima News, RFA Burmese, Burma VJ, KNU, VOA Burmese