Hi folks, another week full of tragedies. Violent clashes have persisted in multiple regions across the country, resulting in numerous people being stranded and displaced amid the rainy weather. Tragically, the brother of the human rights advisor to the NUG was brutally stabbed to death in downtown Yangon. Additionally, the mother and cousin of an urban guerilla member, who was accused of killing a military supporter/singer named Li Li Naing Kyaw, were subjected to beatings and fatal shootings. These killings occurred following calls from military supporters for retaliation against those involved in the resistance movement and their families. This series of events potentially hints at total destruction and chaos in the country. Urgent action is needed to eliminate the regime before the majority of the population suffers further harm. Highlights of the week below:
- The military council revoked aid distributions to Cyclone Mocha-affected areas
UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs announced on June 9 that the military regime suspended travel authorization for humanitarian workers from the UN and other international organizations in Rakhine State after a centralized meeting in Naypyidaw. OCHA announcement also stated that the initial plans for the distribution of aid items, including transportation for aid workers, have also been revoked by the regime. The directive came from the military council to the Rakhine State Government on June 7. Earlier this month, UNDP’s country representative Titon Mitra warned in an announcement that distribution of aid items should take place soon as the spared food items have run out and the monsoon has 9approached. He warned that if the authorities fail to do so, the cyclone-affected communities will continue to suffer.
- Young comrades form an alliance with the KNU to fight against the regime
Karen National Union (KNU)’s spokesperson Pado Saw Taw Nee told RFA that several young comrades who fled to Brigade 6 territory are fighting against the military regime under the command of the KNU. He said that young people came to the KNU’s territories after the coup to fight against the military junta, and the KNU has a policy for an alliance with the new generation of young comrades. Pado Saw Taw Nee said that the KNU does not allow youths who came from the city and took refuge in KNU’s areas to form new armed forces. He said that Cobra Column is mainly comprised of youths who came from cities and are following the command of KNU and wearing the Karen National Liberation Army (KNAL) uniforms. Galon Column, which has been clashing with the military’s forces in Kyone Doe Township, also said that they have been operating under the leadership of the KNU and the National Unity Government (NUG). The Lion Battalion also said that they operated together with the KNU’s Brigade 6 in the clashes. According to Pado Saw Taw Nee, the NUG’s People Defense Force has formed a total of 28 battalions in the Brigade 6 area. With the command of the KNU, young comrades from new battalions have been fighting against the combination of the regime’s forces and Border Guard Forces in Karen State for more than two months now according to the RFA’s report.
- The regime announced an increasing matriculation exam passing rate
On June 8, the regime-controlled basic education department announced the results of the matriculation examination which took place in March. At the beginning of the coup, parents and students alike boycotted the regime’s education system and did not attend schools. However, as the anti-regime struggles dragged on, some students resumed their education. This week’s announcement of the results showed that the passing rate increased this year by 20 percent, compared to last year, while the number of students decreased by half. In 2022, about 280,000 students took the exam while about 160,000 took it this year. According to the regime’s announcement, about 65% of the students passed the exam in Sagaing Region which has been terrorized by the regime on a daily basis. Before the military coup, under the civilian government, the passing rate was only 32 percent for the matriculation exam. After the coup, despite the students’ boycott, the military council made it mandatory to conduct class exams, and it has been announced for two years in a row that the pass rate was high during their time.
- The regime restricted private schools from teaching political topics
On June 9, RFA reported that the coup leader Min Aung Hlaing promulgated a law to ban teaching party politics in private schools. The law was a part of the Private Education Law which was enacted on May 12, 2023, where private schools must be free from “the influence of religion and politics”. A founder of a private school who remains anonymous told RFA Burmese that this is the regime’s attempt to contain the anti-regime spirit among the students and teachers. The regime has already prohibited all public schools to not teach politics to students, and this private education law extends the restriction to private schools.
An attorney also echoed the same remarks as he saw this as the military’s attempt to stop young people to support the increasing anti-regime movements. If the political topic that is against the state’s policy is being taught in private schools, the maximum one-year jail time in prison or MMK 5,000,000 will be fined according to the new law. The NUG’s Minister for Education Dr Zaw Wai Soe said that this new law will only serve the military dictatorship.
- Indonesia’s defense minister calls for the Myanmar military to withdraw from politics
Prabowo Subianto, Indonesia’s Minister of Defense, urged the Myanmar military to cease its attacks against civilians and remove itself from the country’s politics. He said this at the Shangri-La Dialogues held by International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore on June 3. Subianto said that Indonesia’s military set an example by stepping down from its position in politics and encouraged the Myanmar military should also exit from politics. In January, former General Luhut Pdjaitan, Indonesia’s former minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, also expressed a similar sentiment to step back from politics and allow competent people to rule the country.
- JFM exposes Israeli arms manufacturer’s sale of small arms upgrade equipment to the regime
Justice for Myanmar (JFM) exposed that Israel-based arms manufacturer CAA Industries sold equipment to upgrade the Myanmar military’s small arms capability. Citing leaked documents, industry sources, and open sources, the rights group JFM published on June 8 that CAA Industries sent injection molds and tooling worth nearly USD 5 million for upgrading small arms. This order was addressed to Star Sapphire Trading, a company controlled by Tun Min Latt, a Myanmar arms broker who has been charged with money laundering and drug trafficking in Thailand. CAA Industries said that they did not sell weapons to countries that the Israeli government does not allow to export weapons to. It also responded that the information in JFM’s statement is incorrect and that the plastic molds produced by the company are not defense exports.
- Myanmar military and China strengthen ties with a commemorative signing ceremony
On June 8, Myanmar and China held a commemorative signing ceremony for the 73rd Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the two countries. The event was held in Naypyidaw with the junta-appointed cabinet members were in attendance. Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar Chen Hai said that China’s policy on Myanmar is beneficial for the Myanmar public, and China’s support for Myanmar is for the Myanmar public as a whole. With such a speech, he announced that the first batch of China’s humanitarian aid for Myanmar will arrive on June 12. The regime-appointed minister of foreign affairs U Than Swe said in a speech that China’s generous donations show that the two countries are working together to overcome the difficulties they are facing. He also showed support for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s global security and development proposals on behalf of the military council. U Than Soe Naing, a politician analyst criticized, “The Chinese government has always cooperated with those in power in Myanmar and has always dealt with them for their interests. It has never respected the opinions and interests of the people”.
- Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh demand a swift return to Myanmar
According to a news report by Reuters, a large number of Rohingya refugees residing in camps in Bangladesh staged a protest on June 8, demanding their prompt return to Myanmar. The protesters expressed their desire to no longer live as refugees and called for an end to the extensive checking and questioning processes. They urged authorities to expedite their return using the identification cards issued by the Office of the UNHCR. The protesters held signs and emphasized the need for their repatriation to Myanmar without any further delays or obstacles. Ko Khin Maung, the director of the Rohingya Youth Association, stated that the protests took place in six refugee camps, involving nearly 100,000 Rohingya refugees. The demonstrations occurred simultaneously in various locations, with some camps witnessing around 20,000 to 30,000 protestors and others exceeding 50,000. Due to the overcrowded conditions, it was challenging to gather everyone in one central location, and the protests spanned multiple camps according to Ko Khin Maung.
- Foreign investment in Myanmar plummeted 60% in Q1 2023, signals economic challenges
Foreign investment in Myanmar decreased 60% in the first quarter of this year compared to the same quarter in 2022, according to estimates from the junta’s Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations’ Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA). The regime approved US$178 million in foreign investment in the first quarter, down from $402 million in the same period last year, which was itself down 50% year on year from $908 million in Q1 2021. Total foreign investment was $3.7 billion in fiscal year 2020-21, a 20% decrease from $4.9 billion in FY2019-20. According to the World Bank’s Myanmar Economic Monitor for this year, while Myanmar showed signs of a pick-up in domestic investment in the second half of 2022, foreign investment remains weak, and GDP for this year would be 13 percent lower than it was in 2019.
- UK jewelry giant halted sales of Burmese rubies amid controversy
TJC, one of the UK’s largest TV shopping channels and online jewelry sellers, is discontinuing the selling of Burmese rubies. TJC’s decision came after the rights group Burma Campaign UK challenged 40 of the UK’s leading jewelry companies to demonstrate that the stones they sell are not produced from Myanmar in ways that benefit the military junta. According to the rights group, the military has gained control of a gems business worth an estimated US$ 2 billion per year since the February 2021 coup. The junta derives cash from industry in a variety of methods, including through its own private companies, ownership of state-owned enterprises and government ministries, control of trade routes, and legal and illicit trade and economic interests of military family members.
- NUG to establish its own central bank
The National Unity Government (NUG) has issued an ordinance to empower the Ministry of Planning, Finance, and Investment with the responsibility of regulating and reforming Myanmar’s banking sector. The interim Central Bank, overseen by a Board of Directors and chaired by the Governor, will carry out international and domestic operations typical of a central banking authority. Its role also includes overseeing and granting licenses to companies and institutions seeking to operate as banks and financial entities. The NUG said it aims to prevent the military from misusing foreign exchange reserves for acquiring weapons, including jet fuel, and using them in acts of violence and terrorism against the population.
- Burmese-Americans Stage Anti-China Protests in U.S.
On June 2, Burmese-Americans and pro-democracy activists held anti-China protests in New York City and Washington, D.C. This was the fourth demonstration outside the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C.
- Continuing Protests
Protests across the country are still going strong, including in Yangon, Yinmarbin, Monywa, Myaing, Lat Pa Daung, and Kyan Khin regions.
Attacks on the Junta’s Lackeys & Properties
- The Regime’s internal revenue office blasted in Kyauktada tsp, Yangon
On June 5, the regime’s tax office under the internal revenue department was targeted by a Yangon-based urban guerilla force. The incident took place around noon as the third floor of the office building on Pansodan Street, Kyauktada Township was bombed, injuring five people, three of them office staff, and the rest were civilians. One was reportedly in critical condition while the others just bore minor injuries. The regime’s newspaper on June 11 described that those responsible for the bombing had been arrested.
- Village administrator and major shot dead in Kyauktaga tsp, Bago Region
On the afternoon of June 7, the regime’s major and a village administrator were reportedly killed in Kyauktaga Township, Bago Region. Major Nay Lin Oo, a member of the State Administration Council (SAC) and Thura, the village administrator of Bawdikwin Village were attacked as their motorbike ran into the direction of a resistance force in Kyauktaga Township. Both of them died on the way to the hospital. The regime’s forces arrived at the scene afterward and opened fire on the nearby villages.
- SAC’s administrative locations met with drone attacks in Kyarinseikkyi tsp, Karen State
A coalition of resistance forces under the control of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) conducted at least two drone attacks on the SAC’s assets in Kyarinseikkyi Township, Karen State. The first one was at the immigration office on June 7 and the second one was at the township hall. The latter attack saw at least two casualties and multiple injuries. The regime no longer has military control in Kyarinseikkyi Township and only its administrative offices remain in the area. With these attacks, the administrative mechanism has been halted as well.
- Two regime locations targeted in Mandalay
On June 10, two attacks on the regime’s properties were reported in Mandalay. Myanma Insurance Enterprise Office under the control of the regime, located on 63rd road between 34th and 35th streets in Chanayetharsan Township, was attacked with a grenade around 3:00 pm. And the staff housing of traffic police, located on 18th road between 82nd and 83rd streets, was also blasted with a bomb in the evening around 8:00 pm. Damages were witnessed in both incidents but there was no casualty.
Arbitrary Arrests, Killing & Violence
- The regime’s soldiers killed hostages in Kawlin tsp, Sagaing Region
Seven out of 16 hostages taken by the regime’s soldiers from Kawlin Township, Sagaing Region from May 28 to June 4 were reportedly found dead on June 5. The bodies had torture wounds, throat cuts, and hands tied. The victims were all civilians from Motewa Village identified as U Win Bo, U San Oo, U Win Naing, U Zaw Min, U Zaw Oo, and U Myo Min Tun, aged between 32 to 60 except for Ko San Lin, aged 48 who was a PDF leader from Phatkhakone Village.
- Seven villagers injured during regime’s airstrike and artillery attack in Kalay tsp, Sagaing Region
On the morning of June 5, the regime conducted an airstrike and heavy artillery shelling on two villages in Kalay Township, Sagaing Region. Around 10:30 am, the junta’s military chopper fired at a school in Shukhintha Village, injuring four people. About half an hour later, its forces shelled artillery at Latpanchaung Village, wounding three more villagers, one of whom had his leg severed. It is believed that the regime’s deliberate assaults on schools were intended to block the education initiatives of the NUG in the areas beyond its control.
- Family members of accused PDF member shot dead in Htantapin tsp, Yangon
On the evening of June 6, two women were found dead with multiple gun wounds in their home in Htantapin Township, Yangon. The victims were 42-year-old Daw Thae Marlar Win and 24-year-old Ma Saung Thazin Oo who were identified as the mother and the cousin of Kaung Zarni Hein, who has been detained and charged by the regime for allegedly killing the military supporter/singer Li Li Naing Kyaw last week. The women were running a private kindergarten in Rakhine Yoegyi Village and four unknown gunmen stormed into the house and shot them to death on that evening. Daw Thae Marlar Win is survived by a 14-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son in addition to Kaung Zarni Hein. Many recognized this incident as a revenge act by the military supporters for the deaths of two fellow regime lobbyist last week.
- Brother of NUG’s Human Rights advisor stabbed to death in Yangon
On the evening of June 7, U Than Myint, the elder brother of U Aung Kyaw Moe, the human rights advisor of the NUG was reportedly attacked with knives by an unknown group of men and died of multiple wounds. The incident took place near the New Aye Mosque in Botahtaung Township, Yangon. U Than Myint and U Aung Kyaw Moe were from a Rohingya family and suffered the impact of the Rohingya genocide in 2012 and 2017. The cold-blooded murder of U Than Myint came after the military supporters had called for the heads of pro-resistance people and their families.
- Actress May Panchi given 3-year-sentence for changing black profile picture on Facebook
The regime’s military tribunal in North Dagon Township sentenced actress May Panchi to three years in jail this week. May Panchi was arrested in April for changing her Facebook profile to black color, in solidarity with the victims of the regime’s airstrike on Pazigyi Village which saw over 160 civilian casualties. She was charged and found guilty of Sedition Act 505A. Besides May Panchi, reporter U Kyaw Min Swe and singer Shwe Yi Thein Tan were also detained for changing their profile pictures. Civilians are also targeted every day for their reactions to pro-resistance posts on social media, especially on Facebook.
- 16 civilians killed by regime’s soldiers during offensive in Moebye tsp, Karenni-Shan border
Since May 27, the regime’s army has been conducting an offensive in Moebye Township, on the border of Karenni and Shan states, utilizing aerial strikes and artillery shelling. At least 16 civilians died of the impact. The victims were made up of eight men, five women, and three children. Among them, two women were said to have been raped and killed. Their bodies were found along with their father’s in Sikarr Ward 2, Moebye Township. In addition to casualties, housings and shops were also destroyed by the artillery fires.
- KNLA conducted attacks on SAC’s five stations, killed dozens in Muu and Laldo townships, Karen State
On June 6, KNLA launched counteroffensive on the regime’s five stations in Muu Township and Laldo Township under the territory of KNU’s Brigade 3 in Karen State. The targets were security checkpoints, a township police station and bridges on the route of regime’s reinforcement to the region. KNLA said that the junta suffered at least 40 casualties and 12 wounded soldiers while KNLA also had four casualties and 13 injured rangers. In the clashes, the regime reportedly conducted nine aerial attacks.
- The regime’s army raided PDF station and killed six including civilians in Monywa tsp, Sagaing Region
On May 7, the junta’s forces mounted an assault on the PDF station located near Yaykansu Village nine miles northeast of Monywa City, the capital of the Sagaing Region. About 80 troops fired artillery toward the station, before storming into it. Four rangers, two male and two female were captured with wounds and shot to death. They were identified as 17-year-old Athaylay, 18-year-old Ma Zin Zin Oo, 20-year-old Ma Khin Yadanar Oo, and 24-year-old BE. In addition, two villagers; a 50-year-old and a 20-year-old were also killed as they happened to run in the direction of the troops.
- PDF took over and destroyed regime’s police station in Sarlingyi tsp, Sagaing Region
On the evening of June 9, Buffalo People Defense Force (BPDF) and the Union of Liberation Forces (ULF) coordinated a counteroffensive and successfully took over the police station of Nyaungpingyi Village in Sarlingyi Township, Sagaing Region. BPDF said its rangers had planned for two months to conduct the attack which saw at least ten casualties from the regime’s army. Allied resistance forces also confiscated multiple weapons before burning down the station due to the regime’s airstrikes. One ranger named Wai Yan Lin was killed by the aerial attacks and three more were injured during the retreat. The regime’s forces continued to attack the villages from the sky, displacing at least 5,000 people from Nyaungpingyi and Htantawgyi villages.
- Clash displaced thousands of people in Thayetchaung tsp, Tanintharyi Region
An intense battle have broken out between the regime’s forces and the resistance forces in Thayetchaung Township, Tanintharyi Region, displacing thousands of people from the nearby villages. The clash began on June 8 in Kanatthiri Village when the regime’s soldiers burned down a CDM teacher’s house. As the resistance forces arrived and surrounded them, the soldiers captured and used 30 villagers as human shields. In addition, the regime also sent a navy ship as reinforcement. Thayetchaung PDF has warned the people not to use Myeik-Dawei Pyidaungsu road as the battle looks set to intensify. Meanwhile, at least five thousand people from Kanatthiri Village have fled their homes without much clothes and food in the rains.
Sources: Myanmar Now, Khit Thit Media, Mizzima News, RFA Burmese, Justice for Myanmar, Reuters, Thanlwin Times