Weekly Update: 060

Hi folks, the news of injured PDF members who were handed over to the military side by Thai authorities took over our social media. Rumour has it they were all shot and killed upon their return to the hands of the military. The regime also continues to find ways to keep any freedom lover detained such as the sentencing of Dr Hkalam Samson and additional charges against protest leader Wai Moe Naing. Meanwhile, the spirit of Thingyan is spreading around the people of Myanmar. The regime tries its best to organize the Thingyan festival to portray the image of normalcy in the country while the resistance forces request the public to not comply with the regime’s agenda. Read all about this week’s update below.

Internal Politics

  • About 4400 homes were destroyed in 102 times of arson attacks in March, the NUG said

The NUG’s Ministry of Home Affairs & Immigration announced that the military torched 102 times nationwide in March 2023, and close to 4400 homes were destroyed in these arson attacks. In the report that the NUG announced on April 1, it was also stated that up to 35 civilians were killed in the aforementioned arson attacks. About half of the torches took place in Sagaing Region, about 3100 homes in the region were destroyed, and 26 civilians were killed. Mandalay Region followed with 17 arson attacks, and Magway Region ranked third with 11 times of torches. The NUG’s representative told RFA news that the data was collected from news media and verified by local administration groups from the areas. Since the beginning of 2023, the military regime has been launching aerial attacks in Sagaing, Magway regions, Chin, Kayah (Karenni), and Karen states to accelerate the offensive attacks. 

  • Dr Hkalam Samson received 6 years of imprisonment at the regime court

On April 7, the regime’s court in Myitkyina Prison sentenced six years of jail time to Dr Hkalam Samson, the former chairperson of the Kachin Baptist Convention. He was detained on December 5, 2022, at the airport before he traveled to Bangkok, Thailand for a medical check-up. Since then, he has been charged with Unlawful Association Act for having met with KIO/KIA leaders General N Ban La and General Gum Maw, the NUG’s president Dawa Lashi La, minister Dr Tu Hkawng and deputy minister Ja Htoi Pan. An additional sedition charge was also imposed based on one of his lectures for young people. The legal team representing Dr Hkalam Samson told Mizzima News that an appeal has been planned for the junta’s court. 

  • Deputy junta chief accuses organizations and media of undermining the military

Deputy junta chief Lieutenant General Soe Win accused local and international organizations, and the media have been attempting to weaken the military. He said this at the Cadet Graduation Ceremony held on April 7 at Ba Htoo Cadet Academy in Yak Sawk Township, Southern Shan State. While the anti-regime and pro-democracy opposition groups have highlighted the weakening state of the military, the military leadership attempts to mobilize the soldiers and their families in the army bases by spreading disinformation and propaganda.

  • Junta orders civil servants to participate in Thingyan Festival 

The junta is once again coercing civil servants to participate in the country’s traditional New Year Thingyan water festival to create the illusion that post-coup Myanmar is returning to a state of normalcy under military rule. Thingyan celebrations, typically held in the second week of April, were canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19 and boycotted by the public in 2021 following the military coup. Last year, the regime attempted to hold the water festival by bringing in followers and pro-regime entertainers in Yangon and pressuring local residents to attend. However, the majority of people avoided the regime-organized Thingyan. This year, civil servants from the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC), the city’s municipal body, report that they are being compelled to participate in Thingyan events. Despite the junta’s ongoing violence, arson attacks, and airstrikes across the country, the regime has declared that Thingyan will be celebrated joyfully by large crowds across the country.

International Affairs

  • India’s Mizoram State built up a fence after the death of Indian citizens in late March

On March 22, three Indian citizens were killed at the border area between Myanmar’s Chin State and India’s Mizoram State, and the bodies were found in Myanmar’s side after four days. Following the incident, India installed fences at the border it shares with Chin State’s Matupi Township, starting April 6. Starting from March 29, Mizoram State stopped allowing Myanmar citizens from entering its side. A source told Mizzima News that the newly built fences are very firm and locked, and will only allow refugees to enter after having solved the recent death cases. The source said that since arson attacks have been taking place on the Myanmar side, it has been difficult for civilians to flee from their homes to the Indian side due to the newly built fences.

  • The military allegedly purchases weapons from North Korea, a UN report says 

South Korean’s NK News reported on April 3 that Myanmar may have purchased weapons from North Korea, citing a UN report it has seen. According to an upcoming UN Panel of Experts report, a member state suggested that Royal Shune Lei Company Ltd acted as a broker for the Myanmar military to purchase weapons from the Korea Mining and Development Trading Corporation (KOMID), North Korea’s primary arms dealer which has been sanctioned by the UN. Although the report does not specify which kind of weapons the Myanmar military acquired from North Korea, it allegedly stated that the KOMID sent weapons to Myanmar in mid-2022. The NK News reported that there was no online presence for the Royal Shune Lei Co. Ltd, and it has previously procured parts for a Mi-8 helicopter from AeroTechnikService, a Russian-based company, in 2019.

  • The NUG requests democratic countries in the region to reject the upcoming election

The NUG has requested democratic countries in the region, including Japan and Taiwan, to reject the military council’s upcoming election. The request came after the military’s dissolution of the National League for Democracy and 39 other political parties in late March. Dr Sasa, the NUG’s Minister for International Cooperation, requested Japan, Taiwan, South Koren, and other democratic states in the region to recognize the regime’s sham election as it is and request not to give any sort of legitimacy to the military council. According to Nikkei Asia’s report, Western countries such as the US, Germany, etc, have vocally condemned the sham election while Asian countries, except for Japan, have been silent. Marcus Brand, head of the program for Myanmar at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, echoed the need for support from democratic countries in the region since the sham election planned by the military will further “engineer a veneer of legitimacy for the Burmese generals”. 

Business Matters

  • The regime’s National Project aims for 4.1% GDP growth

The National Project law for the 2023-24 fiscal year by the regime estimates that the country’s GDP will increase by 4.1% to reach 94,350 billion Myanmar Kyats (MMK). The law also outlines sector-specific contributions to the GDP, with the agricultural sector expected to contribute 21,533.360.3 million MMK, industry (including energy, mineral and mining, industrial, electricity, and construction) expected to contribute 30,746,187.9 million MMK, and the service sector (including transportation, communication, finance, social welfare and administration, other services, and trade) expected to contribute 38,564,187.3 million MMK. The total GDP is expected to be 90,843 billion MMK, an improvement of 3.4%. Additionally, the National Project law predicts that the agricultural sector will contribute 22,040,334.1 million MMK, the industry sector will contribute 31,802,532.4 million MMK, and the service sector will contribute 40,687,680 million MMK. SAC expects the total GDP to reach 94,530 billion MMK, a 4.1% increase in percentage terms.

  • The regime to impose up to 80% tax on imported liquor and cigarettes

The military council has issued a new tax law that will impose taxes of 60-80% on foreign imported alcohol, beer, and cigarettes. The law was not approved by the parliamentary approval but came directly from the junta leader. The tax will apply to all alcohol and beer imported from abroad, with an additional 60% tax on alcohol costing more than 19851 MMK per liter. Tax and finance experts suggest that the military’s goal in raising the tax on foreign imported liquor is to reduce the outflow of foreign currency and increase market share for local liquor products. They also note that the higher costs may result in reduced liquor consumption. However, there is a risk of counterfeit products entering the market, ultimately harming customers.

  • Sales of Thingyan-related products decline 

Sales of Thingyan-related products such as water guns and water-splashing materials have been almost inactive for the past three years, according to the Thingyan product market. The decline in sales has been ongoing since the military coup, and while the SAC organized a Thingyan festival last year, participation was low, resulting in fewer sales of Thingyan products. A Thingyan product wholesale reseller from Theingyi market stated that although some Thingyan products are imported to the local market, there are few customers, and most of the products in the store are remaining stock from last year. Only a few new products are on display. Most Thingyan products are imported from China and Thailand, and with the depreciation of the Myanmar Kyat and the instability of the Thai baht value, resellers must charge at least twice the product value for profit.

  • The regime demands money from businesses for the Thingyan festival in Myanmar

The regime is demanding restaurants to pay K300,000 ($143 USD) and factories to pay K200,000-K500,000 ($95-238 USD) for the upcoming Thingyan festival. Administrative officials have been collecting the money, but some businesses are refusing to pay. A restaurant owner in North Okkalapa Township stated that they had closed their restaurant a week ago because they couldn’t afford to pay the fee. Local officials claim that they are collecting funds for this year’s Thingyan festival.


  • Continuing Protests

Protests across the country are still going strong, including in Yangon, Myaing, Yinmarbin, Kalay, Laung Lone, Shwe Yae Kyi, and Kyan Khin regions. 

Humanitarian Affairs 

  • Nearly 1.8 million displaced in Myanmar, 1.4 million since the 2021 coup

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has reported that the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Myanmar has almost reached 1.8 million. Since the military coup in 2021, over 1.4 million people have been displaced.

Attacks on the Junta’s Lackeys & Properties

  • Regime’s Mingalardon airbase targeted in Yangon

Around 9 pm on April 6, residents of Yangon near the Mingalardon Airbase reportedly heard loud explosions followed by blasts of machine guns in the township. It was speculated that the resistance forces conducted an attack on the regime’s airbase with free-flight electric rockets. At least five rockets were fired and more than 50 gunshots were allegedly exchanged between the regime’s soldiers and the rangers. Following the incidents, people from at least four townships near the base claim to have heard the ambulance sirens heading the incident area. Casualties and damages are not verified yet. Resistance rangers said they managed to carry out the mission to target the fuel tanks inside the airbase and not harm any civilians. The junta has increased the security forces near the airbase starting April 7.

  • Regime’s major water festival pandals blasted in Yangon

On the evening of April 8, two water festival pandals (Thingyan Mandat) set up by the regime’s forces in Yangon were reportedly targeted with remote bombs. San Chaung Township’s police station pandal and Dagon Township’s regional government pandal were simultaneously attacked by Dark Shadow Urban Guerilla Force. The casualty remains unknown but the rangers managed to retreat without any trouble. People have rejected the water festival organized by the regime on the ground that those events are designed to paint the country as peaceful under its control. Dark Shadow said they would attack regime-sponsored festival celebrations.   

  • Another regime water festival pandal given a warning bomb in Paungde, Bago Region

On the morning of April 9, the resistance forces blasted a sound bomb, targeting a festival pandal under construction in Paungde Town, Pyay District, Bago Region. The Thingyan Mandat was being organized and built by the junta’s soldiers on Phayargyi Road, Zay Ward 2, before this blast. Nway Oo Force under PDF Battalion Unit 3601 was responsible for the attack. The regime has been accelerating its efforts to plan water festivals across the country. Its ward administrators are forcing local bookies and illicit traders, and non-CDM staff to finance these events.

Arbitrary Arrests, Killings & Violence

  • Fifteen teachers from Mandalay abducted by regime for providing online education

Starting March 22, the regime’s forces have arrested at least 15 teachers from Mandalay for allegedly providing education to children online under the name of the National Unity Government (NUG). All of them are aged between 20 to 40 and are said to have been working for the Federal School of Aung Myay Thar Zan since early 2022. The school is run anonymously but somehow the regime’s spies disguised themselves as parents of the students to get ahold of the teachers’ information.

The confirmed detainees are Daw Ei Shwe Sin Myint, Daw Tin Tin Latt, Daw San San Win, Daw Aye Myat Mon, Ko Kyaw San Htwe, Daw Yin Yin Min, Daw Khin Myat Noe, Daw Khine Mar Than, Daw Nay Chi Win, Ko Zaw Myo Tun, Daw Khin New Oo, Daw Ei Ei Aung, Daw Chaw Su Than, Daw Khine Mar Phyo and Daw Khin Kyi Mar Wai. Since the coup, many online schools have emerged either under the control of the NUG or private entities to give alternative solutions to the students who reject the regime’s education.

  • Elected NLD member arrested in Gyobingauk tsp, Bago Region

On April 2, the regime’s forces reportedly abducted an elected member of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Gyobingauk Township, Bago Region. U Htay Min Oo, the detainee, was in his home when the soldiers in plain clothes arrested him. Local sources reported that U Htay Min Oo had gone into hiding for a period of time, but had recently returned to his home prior to being arrested. Until the end of reporting, his family has been kept in the dark about his whereabouts and wellbeing. U Htay Min Oo won a seat in the Pyithu Hluttaw through the election in 2020.

  • Detained activist Wai Moe Naing given additional 20 years in Prison in Monywa, Sagaing Region

On April 5, the regime’s tribunal sentenced Young activist Wai Moe Naing to 20 additional years imprisonment in Monywa, Sagaing Region. The 28-year-old has been sentenced to 34 years in prison in total now after being charged and found guilty of four charges. Sources close to him said the maximum prison time he would have to serve is 20 years as his sentences would be combined. Ko Wai Moe Naing, has had to defend himself in the trials since one of his lawyers has been locked up and the other has been put on a warrant list by the regime. The prominent anti-regime activist was detained by the regime’s forces when they rammed into his rally with a car in Monywa in April 2021.

  • Two children killed by regime’s artillery fire amid increased violence in Naungcho tsp, Shan State (North)

Since April 5, clashes intensified between the regime’s forces and the resistance rangers near Hokho and Thanbo villages in Naungcho Township, Shan State (north). On the evening of April 5, at least ten rounds of artillery were fired by the regime in the battle near Hoko village. As a result, two children were killed and five other villagers were injured by the explosion. The young victims were one-year-old and 14-year-old respectively. About one thousand residents from the nearby villages have been displaced by the violence.

  • Man killed by regime’s artillery fire in Kawkareik tsp, Karen State

On the evening of April 6 around 8.30 pm, the regime’s artillery fire fell on a civilian’s ward and killed a 57-year-old man in Kawkareik Town, Karen State. The incident took place as the junta’s Infantry Unit 97 shelled heavy weaponry toward Khaneinmu Ward in Kawkareik Town. The fire exploded on the tent of the victim U Tun Maung, killing him on the spot. On the same evening, the regime’s forces fired more artillery toward Kyondoe Town without any active clashes reported in the area.

  • Junta’s airstrike injured three including child in Lashio tsp, Shan State

On April 7, the regime’s forces conducted an airstrike with three fighter jets on Narrmakhaw Village, Lashio Township, Shan State (north). Three people including a child were injured and two houses were destroyed by the aerial attack that lasted about 10 minutes. The area in question is under the territory of Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA)’s Brigade 4. On February 20, TNLA and the regime’s forces clashed in Kyautme Township, Shan – north, and another skirmish was reported in Naungcho Township, Shan (north) but the battle area is far from the village that was attacked.

Armed Resistance

  • Injured PDF members detained by Thai police and transferred to regime

On April 3, three resistance rangers named Ko Thiha (aged 38), Ko Htet Nay Win (aged 31) and Ko Saw Phyo Lay (aged 26) were detained by Thai police in Maesot, Thai-Myanmar border town. Ko Thiha had been injured in a battle against the regime’s forces in Kawkareik Township’s Kyonedoe Village on March 25 and he was arrested alongside two rangers who were accompanying him on his way to a hospital on the Thai border. They reportedly took a wrong turn and were stopped on the road to Bangkok. On the same day, the NUG authorities and armed ethnic forces made an attempt for their release but Thai authorities returned the detainees to the regime’s ally Border Guard Force (BGF) the next morning. The rangers were reportedly shot upon their arrival across the river on the Myanmar border and rumors said all three of them were killed. The NUG has officially made a plea to the international community to look into the case as Thai officials went through the whole process without following international protocols.

  • Police station ambushed by PDF, seven killed in Yesagyo tsp, Magway Region

On the morning of April 3 around 5 am, a coalition of local resistance forces reportedly conducted a raid on Ma-U Police Station on the Chaung U-Yesago highway road. In the operation, at least seven regime men including the station chief and soldiers were killed while a drone shooter, grenades, and a rocket launcher were seized. Two resistance rangers were injured but not severely. By 8 am, the police station fell under the control of PDF. Shortly afterward, the regime sent air reinforcements and conducted aerial strikes.

  • Two-day battle saw a dozen deaths from the regime in Demoso tsp, Karenni State

On April 4 and 5, the regime’s army clashed with a coalition of resistance forces on the eastern hillside of Tanelarle Village, east of Demoso Town, Karenni State. Karenni National Defense Force (KNDF), who led the coordination attack, said that over ten soldiers from the regime were killed in the clash while several pieces of weaponry were also seized. The junta’s artillery unit from Loikaw Town shelled multiple fires while a series of airstrikes were also witnessed on April 4.

  • Regime’s offensive from sky killed 7 PDF members in Sagaing Region

On April 5 around 9 am, the regime conducted an offensive on the M7 PDF station between Pale and Myaing townships in Sagaing Region using an aerial attack. One Mi35 helicopter fired from the sky on the station before two Mi17 choppers dropped 80 troops for a ground operation. A source close to M7 said that at least seven rangers were killed while two tents were destroyed and military equipment were seized during the offensive. The station was ambushed during lunch break, many speculated that the station’s location was compromised because of spy work from the regime. 

Source: Myanmar Now, Khit Thit Media, Mizzima News, DVB news, Irrawaddy, RFA Burmese, Nikkei Asia

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