Weekly Update: 082

by mohingamatters

Folks, this week we witnessed the military council’s internal witch hunt with its top generals being investigated due to corruption cases. Meanwhile, other generals who remain loyal to Min Aung Hlaing are traveling and trying to gain support from the People’s Militia groups. Th the UN General Assembly in New York, Myanmar’s Ambassador U Kyaw Moe Tun remains in his seat. Read all about it in this week’s update.

Internal Politics

  • Top general from the military arrested for corruption

Multiple local news outlets reported that Lt General Moe Myint Tun, Chief of Staff and sixth highest rank holder in the military, was detained and interrogated for corruption cases on September 19. BBC Burmese reported that Moe Myint Tun extorted business money in exchange for import permits citing its source close to the military. Myanmar Now’s report on September 20 said that he has now been removed from three economic positions and replaced with General Mya Tun Oo. One of the business persons who recently traveled to Naypyidaw to be investigated said that former Minister of Home Affairs Lt General Soe Htut and Deputy Minister of Commerce U Nyunt Aung have also taken action. The general manager of the military-owned Myawady Bank U Yu Lwin has also been interrogated, resulting in the hindering of the bank work process. 

  • KNU Brigade 6 banned gambling in its district

Pado Saw Liston, district secretary of KNU Brigade 6, said that online gambling and casino gambling will be banned from the district. The official directive on September 23 stated that the first 45 days would be set as an educational period, but later on, gamblers would be taken action with Kawthoolei Criminal Law with either six months of imprisonment and/or a fine. Pado Saw Liston added that this directive was implemented because some of the gambling places are backed by armed groups, and they also caused other criminal cases such as theft and fraud cases. He said that actions will be taken in places where the KNU administration is active, however, some cases are complex because such gambling places are located in areas where the regime’s Border Guard Forces and armed groups that signed a ceasefire agreement with the regime dominate. There have been active conflicts taking place in the KNU Brigade 6. But no similar directive is issued in other KNU brigades. 

  • Military generals campaigned the militia groups to support the regime

On September 21 alone, commanders of Yangon Command, Central Command, and East Central Command visited veterans and Pyu Saw Htee members in their respective areas to campaign to support them according to the news issued by the military. Even the coup leader Min Aung Hlaing himself traveled to Northen Shan State where active conflicts took place and mobilized the militia groups. Militia groups from those areas such as Nam Kham, Pan Say, and Man Pan, etc., fight along with the military’s forces against the PDFs. Regional commands from Yangon, Mandalay, Bago, Taninthayi, and Shan have been constantly meeting with Pyu Saw Htee members from their areas and providing weapons and food rations. Myanmar Now’s report suggested that the military council provides a monthly salary MMK 120,000 to Pyu Saw Htee members as a reserve force. 

International Affairs

  • U Kyaw Moe Tun to remain in Myanmar’s seat at the UN

On September 21, Monica Grayley, spokesperson of the United Nations General Assembly confirmed to Radio Free Asia that Ambassador U Kyaw Moe Tun remained at the UN representing Myanmar. She said that the new Credential Committee was formed on September 5th and no new decisions will be made in regard to the current representatives. Using his place at the UN, U Kyaw Moe Tun said that he continued to appeal to the UN Security Council to make resolutions that can hold the Myanmar military accountable. Both the civilian-elected National Unity Government (NUG) and the military council submitted applications to represent Myanmar at the next year’s general assembly.

  • Neighboring countries discussed Myanmar’s refugee spill-over at the UNGA

With the UN General Assembly taking place in New York last week, Myanmar is one of the topics of discussion on the international stage. Srettha Thavisin, the newly appointed prime minister of Thailand, said that his country has been supporting the refugees from Myanmar and providing humanitarian assistance. He said that Thailand respects human rights, supports peace dialogues, and is willing to support the displaced people, but it will not interfere with the neighboring country’s internal conflict. According to Amnesty International’s report in March, more than 20,000 Myanmar nationals have taken refuge in Thailand due to the atrocities and violence taking place after the coup. From the west side, Bangladesh also presented at the UNGA on September 22 to support the repatriation process of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that the long-term stay of the Rohingya refugees has severe impacts on Bangladesh’s economy, security, and social and internal stability, and thus, she urged the UN to facilitate the repatriation of Rohingya refugees. According to UNHCR’s report in March, about one million Rohingya people have been taking refuge in Bangladesh.

Business Matters

  • The regime’s reappointment of economic position held by Lt Gen Moe Myint Tun

The military council announced that on September 18, the Foreign Exchange Supervision Committee was reconstituted under the chairmanship of General Mya Tun Oo. The newly reconstituted foreign exchange supervision committee was chaired by General Mya Tun Oo and Finance Minister U Win Shein, Lt. Gen. Nyo Saw, Commerce Minister U Aung Naing Oo, Central Bank Chairman Daw Than Than Swe, and Dr. Kan Zaw, Union Minister of the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade. The announcement was made one day before the news about Lt Gen Moe Myint Tun’s corruption spread. The committee’s responsibilities encompass investment and manufacturing within the country. Furthermore, they are tasked with verifying the allocation of foreign currency needed for various purposes, including the importation of commercial vehicles, equipment, raw materials for manufacturing, fuel, medicine, edible oil, fertilizer, and construction materials essential for the pesticide industry, which cannot be sourced locally. 

  • Chinese nationals mined gold in Shwe Kyin, locals raised concerns

In Shwe Kyin, Bago Region, local residents have reported that Chinese nationals are engaging in gold mining operations using heavy machinery and making payments to the head of the Regional Military Command Headquarters (Pyay) for permission according to DVB New as it cited a resident from Shwe Kyin. The source said, “The presence of numerous Chinese individuals operating large machines for mining is a cause for concern. They are digging to depths of up to 200 to 300 feet, raising worries of potential disasters. Moreover, their proximity to the city is unsettling, and it is alleged that they are making payments to the head of the military headquarters for this operation”. According to a source within the local administration, an investigation into gold mining by Chinese nationals led to the reassignment of several officials, including Brigadier General Aung Naing Oo, the commander of the Regional Military Command, at the end of August. “Due to the issues surrounding this matter last month, Brigadier General Aung Naing Oo was transferred. The Chinese nationals are also involved in crude oil drilling near Padaung, and the military is providing security for their operations.”

  • Bagan’s Tourism Industry in Crisis

Bagan, once a thriving tourist destination, is now suffering from a severe decline in visitors, leaving locals without jobs. Many residents have had to seek employment elsewhere, including abroad, due to the lack of opportunities in Bagan. Local tourism has dwindled, making it challenging for tuk-tuk drivers to find passengers. Large shops from outside the region dominate the area, while small local businesses are disappearing. Critics have raised concerns about changes in Bagan’s landscape, including the use of heavy machinery in archaeological sites and the presence of animals in the historic area. Local tourism professionals and craft shop owners are diversifying their businesses. While a small number of tourists visit during the Father’s Day festival in September, Bagan’s overall tourism industry remains in crisis. Despite the military government reports of increased international tourist arrivals, the reality in Bagan paints a different picture, with locals struggling to adapt to the changing tourism landscape.

Attacks on the Junta’s Lackeys & Properties

  • Crony businessman’s office targeted in South Oakkalapa tsp, Yangon

On the evening of September 22, a building in South Oakkalapa Township, Yangon was attacked with a 40 mm grenade. The property belongs to U Aung Myo Myint, the owner of Dynasty Group of Companies and a close business associate of the regime, who imports military equipment and aviation fuel for them. Justice for Myanmar, a watch dog on the military’s sources of funds and arms, has included U Aung Moe Myint in the list of “Dirty Over 30” and he is also banned from doing business by Canada, EU, UK and the US. Urban Special Operation, a guerilla force based in Yangon, claimed responsibility for the attack and said they had documented the businesses and assets of the cronies of the regime for a year now.

  • Military-owned Innwa Bank attacked in Kyimyindaing tsp, Yangon

On the early morning of September 23, explosions took place at the regime’s assets in Kyimyindaing Township, Yangon. KMD18, a local guerilla force, conducted the operation, causing a blast near the Innwa Bank and the military’s MEC grocery shop with a remote control. Residents of Kyimyindaing said they heard the explosions from various locations. Those responsible for the mission managed to escape safely and warned the public to stay away from the military-related locations.  

  • The junta’s air-force base attacked in Myitkyina, Kachin State

Around 7.40 am on September 24, the regime’s airbase was attacked in Myitkyina City, Kachin State. The Kachin-based guerilla force fired four free-flight rockets toward the station. The impact of the blast remained unknown. The guerrilla force said they had been planning such mission over a year now. On the previous day, a similar rocket attack took place in the regime’s military equipment manufacturing factory in Aung Lan Township, Magway Region.

  • Security tightened in Naypyitaw airport and airbase

It’s reported that the military generals have ordered to increase security measures in Naypyitaw Airport and Aye Lar Air Base in Naypyitaw. Both facilities encountered drone attacks in the recent weeks. Now, new security measures have been imposed to prevent more aerial operations from PDF, doubling down both manpower and systems.

Arbitrary Arrests, Killings & Violence

  • Over 100 people arrested and interrogated in Gantgaw tsp, Magway Region

Since September 18, the regime’s army have stationed in Kant Thet Village, arresting and questioning various civilians. The village is located near the regime’s military equipment manufacturing factory and hence the villagers have been armed and assigned on security duty. However, the villagers chose not to intervene when the PDF conducted an ambush on the military convoy in the recent week and even handed over their weapons to the rangers. Regarding that, the soldiers arrested over 100 people in the village and started interrogation. The casualty and injury details from the incident remains unknown.

  • The regime’s captain sentenced to death for online criticism against the reign

Captain Ye Yint Swe, a medical doctor graduated from the Defence Services Medical Academy (DSMA) has been given capital punishment by the military tribunal in Mingalardone Township, Yangon. The 32-year-old captain was arrested and charged in May for posting on social media against the military. Sources inside said that he had been found out supporting PDF with evidence from his phone. It’s unknown which penal code he was charged with or how the trial was run. People only learnt of the verdict news when it’s made.

  • Private school headmaster detained & school seized in Sagaing Region

On September 21, the regime’s forces detained Daw Htar Htar Oo, the headmaster of Yinthway Yadanar Private High School in Sagaing Town, Sagaing Region. The 57-year-old woman was accused of teaching in the NUG’s federal school by the military supporters. Sources close to the family headmaster claimed that the accusations against her were false as she was known for focusing and caring on her staff and pupils. In addition to her arrest, the soldiers also sealed off the school. Initially, her children and in-laws were also taken along with her by the junta’s men, but they were released later. Daw Htar Htar Oo is still placed under detention as of now.

  • Father of political activist arrested and sent to Insein Prison

On September 10, the regime’s forces arrested U Kyaw Aye, the father of Ko Kyaw Ko Ko the former chair for All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU) in his house in Tamwe Township, Yangon. And the 68-year-old was charged with the sedition act 505A for having pictures of political activists including his son in his phone. He was placed in the detention cell of Tamwe Police Station for 12 days and on his very first trial on September 22, U Kyaw Aye was sent to Insein Prison. It’s said that he will face trial in the military court inside the prison.

  • A dozen people arrested following attack on retired major family in Kyaikhto, Mon State

More than ten people have been arrested in Kyaikhto Town, Mon State in relation to the assault on the family of the retired army major that saw the death of the wife in the previous week. The detainees are middle-aged men and women, taken into custody after CCTVs have been checked. A local PDF said that the case of the killing of the major’s wife could have different motives, other than a political one.

  • Twenty people arrested for online dissent against the regime

The regime announced that they had arrested 20 people between September 16 to 22 for criticizing the military on Facebook. Nine detainees are from Yangon, four from Mandalay, four from Mon and one each from Bago, Shan and Rakhine. They were all accused of lobbying against the national security. It is still unclear on what charges they would be facing.

Armed Resistance

  • Hundreds fled to Thai border due to clashes in Kawthoung tsp, Tanintharyi Region

Since September 20, the regime’s forces have been carrying out offensive in villages near Kawthoung Township, Tanintharyi Region, displacing hundreds of people. About 100 troops, both infantry and navy combined, are stationed in Chaungwa Village, near Khamaukkyi Town and clashing with the local resistance forces in Maliwan area. The soldiers also arrested 30 workers from an agrifarm and injured a 60-year-old worker with an artillery fire. As a result, about 300 people have fled to the Thai side of the border. More intense clashes are speculated to take place in Tanintharyi Region due to the regime’s increased military activities.

  • The regime’s offensive left tens of thousands displaced in Taze tsp, Sagaing Region

Around 1 am on September 22, the local resistance forces mounted an offensive and managed to take control of two regime stations in Taze Town, Sagaing Region. The stations were a former gas station and the immigration office. Following the incident, the junta’s forces conducted an aerial attack on Thelkone Village with Mi-35 helicopter in the evening for 20 minutes and four villagers including a 2-year-old child were injured. It was followed by the ground operation in the next morning, effectively forcing hundreds of thousands of villagers from 17 villages in the border of Taze and Ye-U townships.  

  • Dozens of PDF rangers died during ambush in Myinmu tsp, Sagaing Region

On September 22, the regime’s forces conducted a massacre, killing more than two dozens of people in Myinmu Township, Sagaing Region. The victims were mostly PDF rangers, who encountered an ambush while traveling on Myinmu-Myaung junction. Twenty were from Black Eagle PDF, five from Myaung Resistance Force (MRF) and three others including a 14-year-old were civilians. Some were killed on the spot while a few were arrested and brutally murdered.   

  • The regime’s forces conducted offensive on TNLA station in Kutkai tsp, Shan State

On September 22, the junta’s army reportedly carried out both aerial and ground attacks on the station of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) in Kutkai Township, Shan State. The station is located on a hill, three miles from Khomone Village between Muse 105 mile trading zone and Kutkai Town, which has witnessed many offensive from the regime’s and its allied militias since the beginning of this month. Around 11 am on that day, about 100 regime troops started ground offensive before carrying out two aerial attacks with a military chopper in the afternoon. TNLA claimed there was no casualty.  

  • The regime conducted airstrike on former KNU district office in Bilin tsp, Mon State

Around noon on September 22, the regime’s air-force carried out an aerial attack on the former location of the Karen National Union (KNU)’s brigade 1 district office in Payitkho Village, BIlin Township, Mon State. There is also military strategic office in the compound. Both buildings were damaged but there was no casualty, according to Thaton PDF.   

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

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