Weekly Update: 071

by mohingamatters

Folks, we hope you have been enjoying our magazine issue published on Saturday. We took one-day break, and now are now delivering you the usual weekly update covering key events from last week.

Internal Politics

  • More than 2600 buildings  were burned down in June

According to the National Unity Government (NUG)’s Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, more than 2669 buildings including civilians’ houses and religious building in June. Sagaing Region saw the highest number of loss with 2511 homes, one school and four religious buildings due to 79 arson attacks. These attacks killed nine civilians from Sagaing Region as well. Following as second place, Magway Region suffered three arson attacks which destroyed 77 houses and one school, and Mandalay Region saw two arson attacks, lost 10 houses, and six civilians. One of the civilians from Watlat Township told RFA Burmese that several people lost their entire houses without leaving anything for them. He said that their lives are no longer the same.

  • 19 prisoners from Myinchan Prison were transferred after getting tortured

On June 30, 19 prisoners from Myinchan Prison were transferred to Thayet and Magway prisons. According to sources close to the prison, these detainees were taken from their detention, interrogated and tortured since May 21. Among them 13 were political prisoners and six were criminals. The reason for trasnfer is yet to be known but source said that political prisoners from Myinchan Prison continue to get tourtured. Among the transferred detainees, 13 of them were taken outside of their cells for interrogation in May and returned to the prison before the trasnfer. However, one criminal Ko Toe Wai Aung never made a return to his prison cell, and concerns were raised if he was killed in interrogation. RFA Burmese reported that political prisoners from Myinchan, Daik-U and Tharyarwaddy prisons experienced interrogation and torture in May and June 2023, and some either died in interrogation or were severely injured according to sources close to prison or their family members. 

  • Three members of ALP including deputy chair was shot dead

On July 1, a car carrying Arakan Liberation Party (ALP)’s deputy chairperson Khaing Ni Yaung, Arakan Liberation Army (ALA) No. 101 Battalion Commander Khaing Kyaw Min, and a soldier Kyaw Kyaw Naing was attacked near Sittwe Univerity. According to Myanmar Now’s report, gunshots were fired from another car at a junction, and killed three of them. On July 2, ALP issued a statement that the deceased saw the attack when they were returning from a meeting to discuss relief and resettlement for post-Cyclone Mocha. The statement also alleged that Arakan Army (AA) was responsible for the attack. However, AA’s spokesperson Khaing Thuka responded that the AA had nothing to do with the attack. 

International Affairs

  • KIA denied the regime’s accusation of attacking a Chinese diplomat’s convoy

The military regime accaused Kachin Independence Army of attacking a convoy carrying a Chinese diplomat in Myitkyina on June 27. The regime alleged that the convoy was shot near Sadone area when it left Kambaitii to Myitkyina. Colonel Naw Bu, KIA/KIO’s spokesperson, responded on June 29 that the allegation was inaccurate, and it was not their for there is no reason for the KIA to attack the convoy. However, Colonel Naw Bu said that there were news spreading that it was a militia group attacking the convoy. Local media reported that the Chinese diplomat was in Kachin State to attend meetings in regards to Nanjing Special Economic Zone with respective representatives from the military council.

  • UN said that the regime’s restriction on aid may amount to war crime 

On June 30, United Nations released a statement in regards to the restriction of aid access imposed by the Myanmar military regime. The chief of UNOCHA in Myanmar James Rodehavor said that Myanmar juna is restricting humanitarian aid provision to civilians by using “all means”. He also explained that the regime used heavy artillery and airstrikes on civilians’ villages as a military tactic, including destroying “food stores, crops and seed stores” as a part of its four-cut strategy. OCHA’s Spokesperson Ravina Shamdesani also said in Geneva that the Myanmar regime sees aid provision to civilians as “helping those opposed to their rule”. She also said that the regime’s refusal to provide humanitarian aid may amount to serious violations of international law. UN also reported that about 1.5 million civilians have been displaced in Myanmar currently, and about 60,000 civilian buildings have been destroyed by the regime. As of April 2023, at least 3,452 people have been killed by the regime since the coup, and more than 21,807 people have been arbitrarily detained. 

Business Matters

  • Labor union leaders charged for demanding for pay increase

Five labor union leaders employed at a Chinese-owned clothing factory in Yangon, which supplies popular brands Zara and Pull & Bear, have been arrested and are now facing charges under the Sedition Law and Unlawful Association Act. They were charged for their participation in a protest demanding a wage increase of Myanmar Kyats 800 (equivalent to USD 38 cents) per day. Zara and Pull & Bear are both owned by Inditex, a Spanish conglomerate whose founder and largest shareholder, Amancio Ortega, has a net worth of $89.4 billion, according to Forbes magazine. The union leaders were arrested on June 14 during the protest and subsequently taken to a military interrogation center in Shwe Pyi Thar before being placed in detention.

  • Crony businessman Maung Waik released from prison

Businessman U Maung Waik, who had been detained since the start of the coup, announced his release on June 29. He was detained for two and a half years after testifying against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in a junta-controlled court. The regime accused State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of two counts of corruption and sentenced her to imprisonment based on allegations that U Maung Waik had made financial donations to the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation. Regarding this case, U Maung Wai appeared in court as a prosecution witness and testified that he bribed US dollars and gold bars to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

  • KBZ Pay users face account closures and financial losses

Users of KBZ Pay are facing financial losses as their accounts are being closed without explanation, preventing them from conducting online transactions. The closure of mobile money accounts, including KBZ Pay and Wave Pay, has been ongoing since the military coup, often resulting in arrests in accordance with the central bank’s instructions. Users have expressed frustration at the lack of responsibility and assistance from the bank in resolving the issue. Reports of account closures, particularly among KBZ Pay users engaged in online shopping, have become widespread. It is widely believed that the regime is targeting suspected KBZ Pay users to prevent funds from reaching the NUG and PDF. Internet connectivity issues and failed transactions further worsen the situation, with funds being deducted from accounts but not reaching the intended recipients. KBZ Pay has attributed the closure of accounts to instructions from the Central Bank and has advised users to directly contact the Central Bank to reactivate their accounts. In the previous year, KBZ Pay accounts allegedly supporting designated terrorist organizations were also closed, leading to raids and arrests.

  • Myanmar’s Economy Faces Further Slowdown, new World Bank report says

According to a recent World Bank report, Myanmar’s economy, which showed some stability earlier in 2023, is expected to face further deceleration in the coming years. The country is grappling with several obstacles such as power cuts, transportation issues, restrictive trade and fiscal policies, and a decline in household income, all of which are impeding economic recovery. The adverse impact of Myanmar’s uneven economic growth is disproportionately affecting the impoverished population, leading to a stagnation in efforts to address malnutrition, increased household debt, reduced investments in education and healthcare, and a reliance on asset sales for survival. Import restrictions and product shortages have resulted in high prices and challenges for businesses, while persistent power shortages and limited investments add to the difficulties. Uncertainty and policy changes in international trade and remittances further complicate business operations. The labor market has also been weakened, particularly in conflict-affected areas, leading to lower wages and decreased employment opportunities. Consequently, Myanmar’s economy lags behind its regional counterparts, with its GDP projected to grow by a mere 3 percent this year, significantly lower than pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019.

  • Gold merchants and dollar exchangers face arrest due to allegedly “monopolizing market” 

In June, the military regime pressed legal charges against a total of 51 individuals and three companies for allegedly monopolizing the gold and dollar exchange market. These arrests proliferated to mitigate the increasing gold price and dollar exchange rates after the US sanctions on the regime-controlled Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank (MFTB) and Myanmar Investment and Commercial Bank (MICB). One of the gold merchants from Yangon told Khit Thit media that gold prices increased due to market demand as a result of sanctions, but the regime accaused gold merchants of “monopolizing the market”. He said that the regime’s soldiers inspected the homes and offices of gold merchants and money exchangers, so some pretended to hide away from their homes. He also said that individuals who have been detained currently are arrested arbitrarily because there is no concreate proof. 


  • Continuing protests 

Protests across the country are still going strong, including in Laung Lone, Myaing, Yinmarbin, Dawei, Yay-sa-kyo, Kyan Khin, Kalay, and Wet-Let regions. 

Arbitrary Arrests, Killings & Violence

  • Detained Sayadaw U Thawbitha missing with his release overdued from Obo Prison

On June 29, the Anti-coup Forces Coordination Committee-Mandalay (AFCC) announced that Sayadaw U Thawbitha was supposed to be released from Obo Prison on June 20. However, he has not been seen since, and concerns about his health are growing after reports that regime soldiers took him away from the prison around his scheduled release date. Sayadaw U Thawbitha was arrested on the first day of the coup and was serving a 4-year prison term under the Electronic Act 66(D) and Sedition Act 505(A).

  • At least 140 people arrested by the regime in June

Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) released information that the regime arrested at least 140 people for resisting its power in the month of June, 46 of them were from Sagaing Region. The detainees included celebrities who posted birthday wish for the State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi. One of them was Poe Kyar Phyu Khin, who shared a video on Tiktok with a caption “Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (or) the real leader”. AAPP also said that a total of 1,284 people were killed by the regime under detention since the coup.

  • Village near Wanbao Project burned down by the regime’s forces in Sarlingyi tsp, Sagaign Region

Nyaungpingyi Village, located on the bank of Chindwin River, near the Chinese Wanbao Copper Mining Project is reportedly being destroyed by the regime’s forces on daily basis. On June 9 when the local resistance rangers carried out a counteroffensive at the village police station, the soldiers came to the village and camped there. And on June 26, the troops started setting the village on fire and as of reporting, 700 villages out of 1,000 have been burned down. The villagers who came back to take their properties have been shot and arrested as well.

  • The regime’s airstrike killed 10 villagers including a monk in Pale tsp, Sagaing Region

On June 27, the junta’s army conducted an airstrike in Pale Township, Sagaing Region, killing 10 villagers including a monk. The aerial bombings took place twice around 3.30 pm in Nyaungkone Village, three miles south of Pale. Nine villagers were killed on the spot, six were severely injured and taken to the hospital, one of them died on the way. The dead victims were Ma Honey Zaw (aged 18), Ma Nwe Nwe (aged 35), Daw Tin Nyunt (aged 50), Monk Kyaw Myint Tun (aged 47), U Soe Gyi (aged 65), U Kyaw Myint Win (aged 44), Ko Min Soe (aged 35), Ko Zaw Lin Naing (aged 35), U Than Saung (aged 65), U Win Aung (aged 50). Twelve houses and one monastery were also destroyed.

  • Man killed by the regime’s army after motorbike accident in Pathein, Ayeyarwaddy Region

On July 2, an accident occured involving a bike and a motorbike in Pathein Town, Ayeyarwaddy Region. The bike owner reported to the ward administrator about the motorbike owner U Nay Myo Htet. The ward administrator Han Win Aung apparently transferred the case to the regime’s military. The soldiers then arrested U Nay Myo Htet before beating him up to death. U Nay Myo Htet’s family was informed about his death but the body was not returned.  

Armed Resistance

  • NUG military station sezied by regime’s army, 15 rangers killed in Kindaw Village, Sagaing Region

On June 25, the regime’s commando unit raided the temporary camp of the PDF from Mandalay’s Nganzon Township in Kindaw Village, Sagaing Region. The junta’s troops were said to have sailed in the Ayeyarwaddy River without turning on the engine and carried out the surprise attack. At least 15 rangers and three civilians were killed in the battle while over 5,000 ammnuntions were also confiscated. The regime’s forces have reportedly switched defence/guerilla strategy in Sagaing Region. A special commando force is assigned to take on the weaker PDF stations in the region. Again on June 28, another ambush saw the death of 11 PDF rangers near Taline Village, Sagaing Township.

  • Four LDF rangers died in mine accident in Khin-U tsp, Sagaing Region

On June 28, an explosion took place inside the station of local defense forces on the border of Shwebo and Khin-U townships in Sagaing Region. The blast was caused by a fault in setting up a bomb as the rangers planned to ambush the regime’s convoy traveling from Kachin State. Four rangers named Bikekalay, Datbu, Nay Lin Khant, Gadoo died on the spot, they were all aged 20. Accidental explosions have been the major cause of PDF casualties in the Sagaing Region since the rangers do not have access to proper weaponry and have to rely on handmade improvisations. 

  • SAC’s army confisacated PDF’s weapon inventory in Sagaing tsp, Sagaing Region

On June 29, about 200 regime’s troops raided PDF stations on the western bank of Ayeyarwaddy River in Sagaing Township, Sagaing Region. The soldiers got a hold of an invenotry in Samon Village, 15 miles north of Sagaing Town, containing multiple rockets, sniper rifles, pistols, machine guns and grenades. The total value of the losses were up to USD 100,000. A spokesperson of the Pyin Oo Lwin PDF, the owner of the weapons, said that they received the information about the raid and moved the inventory one day prior but the soldiers managed to locate the new storage location.

  • KNPLF waged the war on the regime in Karenni State

On July 1, the Karenni National People’s Liberation Front (KNPLF) made an official announcement that its forces have started the resistance war against the regime’s army in Karenni State. KNPLF have five military units in the state and used to be the junta’s ally. However, starting on June 13, its units coordinated with the local resistance forces in attacking the regime’s military stations and police station in Malsae Township and now its official stance have been announced. Also on July 1, KNPLF claimed to have shot down a regime’s helicopter into Salween River in Bawlakhe Township.

  • Clash near KIA headquarters displaced hundreds in Laizar, Kachin State

On July 3, a clash between the regime’s forces and KIA was reported near the KIA headquarters in Laizar Town, Kachin State since 5 am in the morning. The battle began when the junta’s army suddenly entered into Namsanyan Village, five miles away from Laizar Town. Artillery were shelled from both sides and Myitkina-Banmaw highway road was blocked. Namsanyan Village has about 1,000 population and half of them have fled to safety. 

Sources: Khit Thit, Myanmar Now, Mizzima, DVB, RFA Burmese

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