Folks, this week, the NUG announced that it had arrested four people who provided information to the military which led to the Pazigyi Massacre, which uplifted our spirit a little bit. The visit of former UN Chief Ban Ki-moon’s visit to Naypyidaw was the talk of the town, raising eyebrows among the civilians but it did not come as a surprise. Intelligence Online group keeps revealing the military’s classified information, and this week, it revealed the appointment of Russia’s new trade representative. Across the country, the people continued to reject the military with small-scale rallies where they still called on international companies to cut their business ties with the regime. Read all about it in this week’s update.
- The NUG arrests military informants in connection with Pazigyi Massacre
The Ministry of Home Affairs of the NUG has announced the arrest of four military informants who allegedly participated in the Pazigyi massacre. The names of the informants are U Thein Shwe, U Cho, U Zaw Min, and Daw Yin Yin Win. Meanwhile, two other informants, Daw Yin Nwe and Monk U War Thawa, are still at large. The four informants were arrested in Kantbalu Township, and the People’s Police Station has opened a case under Section 54 of the Anti-Terrorism Law. The Ministry has also initiated legal proceedings against Uwasthawa, the leader of the terrorist Pyu, and former informant Daw Nuyin (2) under the same law at Kantablu Township People’s Police Station (Pa) 3/2023. The police are currently gathering evidence to build a strong case against the accused.
- The regime provides military training to basic education students
The regime-controlled newspaper reported that basic education students in Myanmar have been receiving military training from the Air Force and Navy since April 24. The training includes basic and advanced courses for young marines as well as aviation courses for both senior and junior levels. The Navy conducts naval training on Koko Island in Yangon Region, while more than 890 trainees are being taught at 11 other maritime youth camps, including those in Kyauk Phyu and Sittwe in Rakhine State. The Air Force, on the other hand, runs aviation courses in Taunggyi, Kyaington, Pathein, and Meikhtilar, with 840 trainees being taught in 17 aviation training camps and other aviation training camps. The military council claims that this training is being offered to produce a new generation of experts in maritime and aviation for the country. CDM Captain Lin Htet Aung said that the regime seems to be aiming to train young people to become their reserve army.
- Soldiers joined CDM after the Thingyan holidays
According to the Irrawaddy News, more soldiers from the military regime have defected and joined the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) after the Thingyan holiday. U Maung Maung Swe, Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Defense of the National Unity Government (NUG), stated that around 50 soldiers defected while on leave during the holiday and have since arrived in different states and regions, including Chin State, Karenni State, Mae Sot, and the Karen National Union’s (KNU) brigades in Karen State. Some soldiers have yet to reach liberated areas, according to U Maung Maung Swe. May May Yin Khwin, a group supporting CDM soldiers, reported that approximately 12 soldiers joined their group during Thingyan.
- Former President U Thein Sein received international guests
This week, U Thein Sein, who served as a president from 2011-2016 representing the military proxy party, received the former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Chinese official Peng Xiubin. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon said that he met with the former president as well as the current regime leaders to discuss the current political turmoil in Myanmar although China did not publicize Peng’s trip to Myanmar. Many analysts see the former president’s meetings with international visitors as their attempt to find an alternative solution through him who was once seen as a reformist leader.
- The Elders’ Ban Ki-Moon met the junta chief in Naypyidaw
From April 23-24, the former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon visited Myanmar and met the junta chief. Representing the Elders, a group of global leaders working together for peace, justice, and human rights, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon urged the coup leader Min Aung Hlaing to stop the violence in the country immediately and adopt the ASEAN’s five-point consensus. The Myanmar public and the NUG overwhelmingly expressed their disappointment towards the former UN chief for shaking hands with the junta chief on social media. On April 27, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon held a virtual meeting with the NUG’s deputy foreign minister U Moe Zaw Oo and discussed his recent travel to Myanmar. While the Elders’ leader pointed out the importance of all-inclusive dialogues to find the solution, U Moe Zaw Oo raised the concern of the junta using his visit for military propaganda.
- 23 undocumented Myanmar workers arrested in Thailand
Bangkok Post reported that 23 undocumented Myanmar workers were arrested on April 28 at a construction site in Ban Phli, Samut Prakan District, Thailand. The arrest took place after the Thai police had received a complaint from a whistleblower that illegal foreigners were being employed in the construction site near the bridge. Many workers fled and escaped during the inspection but 23 Burmese workers were arrested. The immigration police colonel who led the investigation said that it was found that the arrested Burmese workers and the Chinese labor leader did not have work permits. The arrested Burmese workers and the Chinese national will be prosecuted and taken to the Banffli police station, and later all will be returned to their respective countries, the report said.
- Russian government appoints trade representative to Myanmar, raising concerns
According to the Intelligence Online group, which has been revealing classified information about the regime, the Russian government has appointed a special commercial representative to facilitate communication between Russian companies and the regime. On April 11, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin appointed Vladimir Kazadeav as Myanmar’s trade representative. Previously, Kazadeav worked for Rostec Company, which has been selling weapons to the Myanmar military. During the junta chief’s visit to Russia in July 2022, he visited the Tatarstan Region, where Rostec’s military equipment and military aircraft factories are located. Since the coup, various delegations from Russia have been traveling to Naypyidaw several times. Intelligence Online obtained documents that showed on January 23, a team of five Russian engineers inspected projects in Myanmar, including Dlaver Temirkajaev of the Tatarstan state-based engineering service giant KR Group, who is also the company’s head. KR Group is involved in constructing Myanmar’s steel plant.
- AFRY ends involvement in hydropower projects in Myanmar
AFRY, a Swedish engineering company, has decided to terminate its involvement in hydropower initiatives in Myanmar due to the worsening human rights situation and “negative development” in the country. The announcement was made on April 21, following the release of a UN report that documented human rights abuses in the country. AFRY has been operating in Myanmar for more than 20 years and was involved in a single hydroelectric project there. Justice for Myanmar revealed that AFRY received $4.68 million USD in service fees for hydro projects in Shan State between February 2021 and September 2022.
- International hotels and businesses selling out due to the political instability
International hotel businesses and popular hotels are now divesting their business due to the political instability in the country and the bleak prospects for the growth of tourism businesses. Kempinski, a Switzerland-based company, and Paris-based Accord Group have relinquished their hotel operations in Naypyitaw and Mandalay. In addition, Keppel Land from Singapore and AMATA, a local company listed on the Yangon Stock Exchange, have also sold their businesses. Kempinski previously ran a five-star hotel in Naypyidaw, but ceased operations in October 2021. The hotel’s name has since been changed to Jasmine and is now under the management of a businessman associated with the KBZ Group. Hotel Shwepyitaw, which is rumored to be owned by former President U Thein Sein, has also been sold. Furthermore, Thurizza Hotel has reportedly been sold to new owners according to sources in the hotel industry.
- Myanmar eases import licensing for over 3000 trade items
The Trade Department will now approve over 3,000 import licenses using an automatic system for items that previously did not require a license. Beginning on June 1, 2023, all imported items that were previously exempt from licensing will require a license obtained through the Myanmar Tradenet 2.0 system. While the automatic licensing system does not require authorization from the trade department, the non-automatic system will require an initial license application. The Ministry of Commerce under the State Administration Council has identified 8,774 trade items with a 10-digit HS Code that require a non-automatic licensing system.
- Junta chief’s son selling electric vehicles and solar products
Aung Pyae Sone, son of military junta leader Min Aung Hlaing, is taking advantage of his father’s tax exemption policy on electric vehicles (EVs) and solar products by importing and selling them in Myanmar. Aung Pyae Sone is reportedly the sole dealer in Myanmar for Chinese EV manufacturer BYD, and has set up other EV car companies as well. Despite the country’s irregular electricity supply, he is promoting the use of EVs with the help of pro-military supporters.
Protests & Fundraising
- Continuing protests
Protests across the country are still going strong, including in Yinmarbin, Myaing, Laung Lone, Latpadaung, Taze, Kyan Khin, Monywa, and Pyin Oo Lwin townships.
- Rallies for Myanmar across the globe
This week, Myanmar diaspora communities across the globe staged protests in their respective countries. Protests were seen in San Francisco, Maryland, and New York in the US, Jakarta in Indonesia, and Busan in South Korea.
- Maryland event raises funds for the Spring Revolution
In Maryland, US, a fundraising event was organized for the ongoing spring revolution in Myanmar, along with a revolutionary Thingyan performance. The performance featured four veteran comedians who have worked together for years across the DMV region (DC, Maryland, and Virginia) and female dancers in Thingyan attire. Raffle tickets were sold at the event, and the proceeds will be sent directly to the resistance groups in need.
- Kantablu Debt Campaign raises funds for airstrike victims
Within two weeks, the Kantablu Debt Campaign, aimed to provide for those affected by the regime’s air strikes in Myanmar, has received about MMK 5333 Lakhs. Donors from Singapore contributed the most followed by those from the United States, Myanmar, and Japan. Actor Min Maw Koon announced on April 19 via his Facebook that the Kantablu Debt Campaign had been successfully completed with support from Myanmar people worldwide.
Attacks on the Junta’s Lackeys & Properties
- UEC held frequent security meetings following deputy-director general’s death
The recent shooting death of U Sai Kyaw Thu, Deputy Director-General of the Union Election Committee (UEC), has caused concern among staff in Naypyitaw. Reports indicate that the staff are holding frequent security meetings and feeling anxious after the incident. U Sai Kyaw Thu was a key witness for the military in the election fraud case against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and was shot and killed in Yangon by the “For the Yangon” Urban Guerilla Force. Over a dozen others from the Ministry were also called to testify in the case. In light of this, the remaining staff have been advised to take security precautions, including informing the Ministry of their travel plans and keeping their family members close to Naypyitaw.
- Son of ward administrator shot and killed in Patheingyi tsp, Mandalay Region
On the evening of April 27, a man named San Yu Maung was shot and injured in Latkaung Village, Patheingyi Township, Mandalay Region. He was rushed to the hospital but died upon arrival. San Yu Maung, who was 39 years old, was identified as the son of U Mg Gyi, the ward administrator of the village. According to military lobbyists, the People’s Defense Force (PDF) members are responsible for the killing since they were unable to locate U Mg Gyi. However, the AST-MDY, an urban guerrilla force, claimed responsibility for the attack and stated that San Yu Maung had been collaborating with the military soldiers to oppress the people. They claim that the hit was triggered as a result of his actions.
- Retired major shot and killed in Bahan tsp, Yangon
Retired military major Ye Min Than was shot and killed near his home in Bahan Township, Yangon Region, on the morning of April 29. The Bahan People’s Defense Force (B-PDF) claimed responsibility for the attack and alleged that Ye Min Than had been assigned as a special agent to investigate resistance movements in Naypyitaw and Yangon. They also claimed that Ye Min Than had connections to the military regime through his family and friends. The B-PDF stated that they carried out the operation only after receiving solid information that Ye Min Than was involved in the regime’s anti-resistance activities.
Arbitrary Arrests, Killings & Violence
- Regime troops burned down over 500 households in a week in Sagaing Region
From April 24 to April 26, 150-strong regime troops marched into the villages in Shwebo and Khin-U In a span of just one week, from April 24 to April 26, 150 regime troops entered villages in Shwebo and Khin-U townships in Sagaing Region and burned down over 500 households. The troops set fire to 55 houses in Kyarywar Village and 30 houses in Nyaungkan Village on April 24, followed by 21 houses and buildings in Tapinkaung Village and 450 houses in Myothit Village in Khin-U Township over the next few days. This aggressive action was taken because the resistance in Sagaing Region is particularly strong, and the regime’s soldiers are using excessive means to suppress the region’s villages.
- Aerial bomb killed one and injured 12 in Theinni tsp, Shan State
On April 26, at approximately 11 pm, the regime’s army dropped two aerial bombs on Hwaypone Village in Theinni Township, Shan State. The village is known to be the territory of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA). As a result of the attack, 13 villagers were injured, three of whom were in critical condition, and one person died on the way to the hospital. According to local sources, earlier in the week, the MNDAA had gathered villagers to discuss village development activities, including new road construction. The regime’s forces suspected that the gathering was a military activity and subsequently shelled the bombs.
- Two died during regime’s airstrike in Thantlang tsp, Chin State
On April 27 at around 3 pm, the regime’s forces conducted an airstrike on Talanlo Village in Thantlang Township, Chin State. According to initial reports, a teacher named Daw Nedimso who was participating in the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) and a middle-aged man were killed on the spot, while two children aged 5 and 11 were severely injured. The attack also resulted in the destruction of around thirty buildings in the village. The aerial bomb was dropped in the middle of the village, which is located six miles away from the Chin National Force (CNF) headquarters. A spokesperson for the CNF stated that the attack was a retaliation by the regime for their constant defeats on the battleground.
- Dead bodies of five hostages found in Indaw tsp, Sagaing Region
On April 27, the Indaw Revolution (IR), a local resistance force, discovered five dead bodies in a jungle near Mawlu Town, located north of Indaw Town in the Sagaing Region. The bodies were identified as Ko Nyi Nyi (aged 25), Ko Law Shote (aged 25), Ko Aung Min Thike (aged 38), Ko Nay Lin Tun (aged 38), and Ko Phoe Shan (aged 48), who had been arrested and taken as hostages by the regime’s soldiers from Mhanhe Village on March 22. The bodies had been chopped into pieces and burned, making it difficult to identify them initially. The regime did not release any news on the incident.
- Regime conducted airstrike on IDP camps in Demoso tsp, Karenni State
On April 29, the regime’s fighter jets conducted an airstrike on the camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in the west of Demoso Township, Karenni State. Three jets dropped at least six aerial bombs on the camps, injuring at least two people. In addition, the soldiers reportedly shelled artillery fires towards the same location from the stations based in Demoso Town. About 10 houses and 40 vehicles were destroyed by the attack. Local sources said that the regime is targeting IDP camps since its forces could not conduct an offensive on the ground due to the strong resistance.
- Twenty detained after attack on police station in Waw tsp, Bago Region
The regime’s forces have detained at least 20 individuals in Nyaung Khar Shay Sanpya Village, Waw Township, Bago Region following a PDF attack on a police station. The raid was carried out by a local defense force and Bago Region PDF on the evening of April 27, resulting in the death of one policeman. In response, the regime’s soldiers stormed into the village and arrested seven people overnight. The following day, they arrested 20 individuals in total, including some known political activists and others who were just farmers. The families of the detainees have not been able to contact them.
- Nine PDF members including battalion commander died in Kawline battle in Sagaing Region
Nine PDF members were reportedly killed during encounters with the regime’s army this week in two separate incidents in Kawlin Township, Sagaing Region. On April 26, Ko Zaw Saing, the battalion commander of the PDF unit who recently transferred from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), and his assistant went on a scouting mission and ran into the junta’s troops near Paypinchaung Village. Outmatched, both were killed and the commander’s body was burned. On the following day, seven PDF members were ambushed by the regime soldiers two miles away from the first incident. All of them were killed in combat. A spokesperson of another local resistance force said that both incidents took place due to a lack of area knowledge and a weak scouting process.
- Drone operations killed over 30 regime soldiers on Shan-Karenni border
From April 20 to April 26, the resistance forces conducted drone operations on the regime’s soldiers over 35 times on the border of the Shan and Karenni states. A coalition of local resistance forces coordinated the counteroffensive on Myautsalone Village in the Pekhon-Pinlaung area where the regime’s army was stationed. About 30 soldiers were killed and many were injured according to the Karenni Nationality Defense Force (KNDF-UAV). Many weaponry including rockets and ammunitions were also seized.
- PDF ambush killed 8 regime soldiers in Myingyan tsp, Mandalay Region
On April 29, the local PDF launched a counteroffensive against the regime’s soldiers stationed in Shwenyaungpin Monastery, located in Layeaintan Village, Myingyan Township of Mandalay Region. The battle lasted for about 45 minutes and resulted in the deaths of at least eight soldiers, including an officer from the junta’s side. The station, which had been suppressing nearby civilians through taxation and beatings, was manned by approximately 25 soldiers. Following the clash, the rangers successfully retreated without any casualties.
- Clashes continued in KNU territory in Karen State
Fighting has continued in the territory of Brigade 6 belonging to the Karen National Union in Myawaddy Township, Karen State, as reported by Cobra Column. The regime’s forces launched an attack on April 29, firing over 90 artillery shells, which led to a confrontation with Cobra Column. In the clash, at least five junta soldiers, including a major, were killed, and weapons were seized. While the regime conducted airstrikes with YAK 130 jet fighters, there were no reported casualties on the side of the Cobra Column. Video footage revealed that the shells from the regime’s aerial bombs had Thai letters on them.
- Myanmar filmmaker Lynn Lynn wins awards at Cannes for films supporting the revolution
Lynn Lynn, a former musician turned filmmaker, has won awards at the Cannes Film Festival for her two movies titled “The Beginning” and “The Way.” These films were made with the intention of raising funds for Myanmar’s revolution and were created using limited equipment available in liberated areas, with the iPhone 13 being the primary device used for filming. “The Way” is a musical feature film that incorporates roughly 20 songs written by Lynn Lynn.
- Japanese journalist Kenji Nagai’s camera returned to his family
If you are familiar with Myanmar’s history, you would know Kenji Nagai, a Japanese journalist who was killed by Myanmar soldiers during the crackdown on the 2007 Saffron Revolution. Nagai’s camera was obtained by the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), a Myanmar news outlet, and on April 26, DVB returned his camera and its content to Nagai’s family. The last images that Nagai shot contained photos of protesters in Yangon, and the arrival of a truck full of soldiers. Noriko Ogawa, Nagai’s sister, said that she hoped these last images would help raise awareness of what’s happening in Myanmar now.
Sources: Myanmar Now, Khit Thit Media, The Irrawaddy, Mizzima News, The DVB, RFA Burmese, Ayeyarwaddy Times.