Weekly Update: 088

by mohingamatters

Folks, Operation 1027 has been going strong, and the NUG and its affiliated groups are taking control of different territories. With multiple warfronts opened, the arbitrary arrests and killings of civilians by the military become widespread. Read all about it in this week’s update.

Internal Politics

  • Three regional hluttaws passed a bill to prepare for the Interim Constitution

Committees representing Sagaing Hluttaw, Committees representing Magway Hluttaw, and Committees representing Tanintharyi Hluttaw respectively announced on November 17 that they passed a bill to commence preparation to draw up the Interim Constitution. These regional hluttaws (parliaments) are comprised of MPs who are majorly from the National League for Democracy (NLD), won the 2020 General Election and were rejected by the regime. On the same day, the NLD party issued a statement welcoming this announcement since it is a crucial move for the emergence of a federal union in line with the will of the people and to implement the rights to self-determination. The National Unity Government (NUG)’s Interim President Duwa Lashi La, Prime Minister Mahn Win Khaing Than, and Speaker of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw U Aung Kyi Nyunt also sent messages according to the Committees representing Sagaing Hluttaw.

  • NUG banned transporting aviation fuel in the country

The NUG prohibited transporting aviation fuel from Thilawa Port and other border gates to distribute to the regime’s forces. This announcement was made by the NUG’s Ministry of Electricity and Energy on November 19 as an attempt to reduce the regime’s aerial attacks on civilians. This directive has been distributed to respective resistance forces, EAOs and civilian administration teams across the country. They are required to check the oil tank trucks if they carry aviation fuel, and if found, they are required to store them, and take action. The announcement made by the NUG’s Ministry emphasized that this directive has been issued to prevent the military from conducting air raids that lead to mass killings such as Pazi Gyi, Anang Pa, Htigyaik incidents which killed civilians including children and women. 

  • The regime accused of EAOs for supplying arms and ammo to resistance groups in Karenni State

On November 17, the regime’s press team announced that China-made weapons and ammunition for resistance groups in Karenni (Kayah) State were seized in Pinlon Township of Southern Shan State. Spokesperson General Zaw Min Tun said that the seized weapons include rocket propelled launchers, more than 1000 grenades, more than 7000 assortment of bombs, other types of ammunition, and 100 Type-81 rifles. He accused that these weapons and ammunition were produced from a certain special region, and that ethnic armed groups are backing these resistance groups. The regime’s official statement said that these weapons were disbursed from 10 soldiers with SSPP/SSA uniform according to its interrogation with detainees. Recent clashes in Shan State began with the Three Brotherhood Alliance’s Operation 1027, and conflicts continued to accelerate in Northern Shan State, Kachin State, Sagaing Region, Chin State, Rakhine State, Karenni (Kayah) State and Karen State. Majority of top armed groups fight against the military regime in the post-coup Myanmar except for United Wa State Army (UWSA), Mongla and Shan based SSPP, RCSS and Pa-O armed groups.

  • About 50 civilians were arrested in three days in southern Rakhine State

From November 13 to 15, the military regime arrested more than 50 civilians in Ngapali, southern part of Rakhine State. Five people were arrested on November 13, nine more on November 14, and about 40 on November 15. The arrests mainly took place in Gaik Taw Ward, Ngapali Town. Detainees included one university student, and fishermens, and all of them are males. One local resident told Myanmar Now that the regime’s soldiers accused these detainees of supporting the AA. The detainees were taken to two infantry battalions 10 miles away from Thandwe Town, and no one has been released. Arrests of civilians became more frequent after the AA’s attack at the two outposts of the Border Guard Force in northern Rakhine State on November 13.

International Affairs

  • OHCHR spokesperson warned resistance forces to respect international laws

Jeremy Laurence, spokesperson of the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, urged armed resistance groups to prevent harming prisoners of war from recent clashes in northern Shan State. He said that every soldier is not responsible for human rights violations and war crimes committed by the military regime. Laurance said this in a statement released on November 17 as he alarmed the accelerated fighting of Operation 1027 that began in late October. He urged the commanders of armed groups to respect international human rights law and international humanitarian laws, and to protect civilians. The spokesperson also raised concern on the reignition of clashes in Rakhine State between Arakan Army and the military, stressing the already devastated Rakhine and Rohingya communities. 

  • ASEAN parliamentarians stressed the need of aid for refugees in Thai-Myanmar border 

ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) alarmed that Myanmar refugees in the Thai border are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. The group said it in a press conference held on November 17 in Bangkok, Thailand. The representatives of APHR traveled to Mae Haung Sar and Mae Sariang districts where Myanmar refugees are taking refuge due to the regime’s aerial attacks from November 13 to 16, and met with local organizations and displaced people. The chairperson of APHR and former Indonesian parliamentary Mercy Barends said that the current situation of Myanmar refugees are very worrying, and humanitarian assistance is needed immediately, especially the inaccessibility to healthcare for women and children. APHR member Malaysian parliamentarian Kelvin Yii also urged Thailand and the international community to help provide healthcare services, humanitarian assistance, and education for children. He also stressed that up to three million people have been displaced in the Thai-Myanmar border due to the regime’s air strikes, and  urged the international community to impose sanctions against the military council. 

  • More than 600 CSOs sent open letter to Swiss and Finland govts to stop engaging with the regime’s peace team

On November 10, Progressive Voice (PV), Justice for Myanmar (JFM) and 600 other civil society groups sent an open letter to Finland and Switzerland governments to cease their support to the regime’s sham peace efforts. The open letter stated that the Finland Government invited the regime’s Peace Committee to a secret meeting in Helsinki. The Switzerland Government, on the other hand, organized a workshop related to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) with officials from the military council in October. The civil society groups emphasized that these workshops and invitations could imply that Finland and Switzerland governments recognize the military government, violate the democratic principles, and went against the will of the Myanmar people. These gestures could also contradict with the international sanctions on the military council. 

  • Six countries asked to join the Myanmar’s genocide case at the ICJ

On November 16, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) announced that Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom and Canada sought to join the highest UN court for the Myanmar v Gambia case. They filed “a declaration of intervention in the case” to the ICJ. Similarly, Maldives also submitted a separate declaration. Gambia opened a case against Myanmar for failing to use its authority to prevent genocide against the Rohingya community in Rakhine State, and the ICJ already ruled that the court has jurisdiction for the case. Currently, International Criminal Court also opened an investigation on the similar case. 

Business Matters

  • Fuel shortage in Yangon despite the regime’s alternative plans

In Yangon, fuel shortages have prompted residents to queue from 4am, causing some shops to close. Octane 92 is selling for nearly MMK 15,000 per gallon on the black market. Both private and taxi drivers are affected, enduring long waits for fuel. A Yangon car owner highlighted fuel scarcity since November 11, citing reduced availability. Challenges include oil tanker docking issues, an 80% reduction in gas stations by the State Administration Council, and distribution limited to quotas. Octane 92 is resold in Yangon’s black market, surpassing the official MMK 10,000 per gallon price. Fuel shortages extend to other cities and concerns persist over high prices and frequent shortages since the coup. Skepticism remains despite the military council’s assurances such as direct oil imports from Russia. 

  • Seized funds from Sagaing Region stored at the NUG’s Interim Central Bank

The Central Bank of the NUG announced the recording and safekeeping of over 9,000 lakhs Myanmar Kyats from the Myanmar Economics Bank, seized by the People’s Defense Forces in Sagaing Region. The statement confirmed that the funds, originating from Kawlin District, were securely stored in accordance with the Financial Public Administration Work Plan. The Kawlin Region Coordinating Team, operating under SOPs, successfully received and managed a cash balance of 952.343 million Kyats from the Myanma Economic Bank. This amount was deposited at the Interim Central Bank of NUG, ensuring meticulous registration and documentation. The Central Bank of NUG assured the proper management of state-owned funds and public deposits to prevent any loss or damage.

  • NUG urged local banks in Kawlin, Sagaing to cooperate with local administrative team

Following an invitation from the District Coordinating Committee of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Sagaing Region’s Kawlin District urges officials from private banks operating in the town of Kawlin to promptly establish contact with the NUG. On November 6, the combined forces of Kachin Independence Army (KIA), PDFs and local defense forces took control of Kawlin. NUG’s Prime Minister Mann Win Khaing Than, through Decree No. (1/2023), assigned the task of formation of the district coordination group which will emphasize security for private banks in Kawlin. He further called on local banks for cooperation and prompt contact with the District Coordination Team in Kawlin, and stated that non-compliance may lead to actions outlined in the NUG’s Central Bank’s announcement No. (1/2023).

  • The regime’s Central Bank threatened to surveil bank transactions

The military regime threatened that civilians’ bank transactions will be monitored to check where and why the funds are being used. The regime’s Central Bank said it in a statement issued on November 18, urging the public to refrain from withdrawing cash from banks and keep using the core banking system. The statement said that keeping cash in hand can be dangerous and could also lead to inflation and rise of commodity prices. The regime’s Central Bank also ensured that mobile banking and card payments will be available.The statement also mentioned that in some smaller branches bank services were suspended due to unprecedented situations, and accused that certain people are spreading false information to incite among the public. 

Attacks on the Junta’s Lackeys & Properties

  • Ward administrative office targeted in Pyigyitagon tsp, Mandalay

During the afternoon of November 15, an administrative office in Pyigyitagon Township, Mandalay, was ambushed. Mandalay’s Urban Guerilla Force targeted the regime’s deployed soldiers at the site with a grenade, part of their operation called Shwe Pyi Soe. Details about casualties and damage are yet to be confirmed. This operation was announced by the Mandalay-based guerilla force on November 13, launching drone attacks on the regime’s electricity supply office and vehicle storage compound in Mandalay.

  • Police station and ward administrative office under attack in Pale, Sagaing Region

On the morning of November 15, local resistance forces launched an attack on the police station and ward administrative office in Pale Town, Sagaing Region. The clash lasted nearly six hours, resulting in the deaths of at least nine policemen. The regime’s soldiers were reinforced by about 80 troops, causing the resistance forces to retreat. While there were no casualties among the resistance, two villagers were reportedly killed by indiscriminate shooting from the regime’s soldiers.

Arbitrary Arrests, Killings & Violence

  • The regime’s airstrike killed 17 including 3 in Tigyaing tsp, Sagaing Region

On November 15, the National Union Government (NUG) released statement that the regime’s aerial attack had resulted in 17 deaths in Tigyaing Township, Sagaing Region. From November 12 to 14, the junta’s forces reportedly conducted airstrikes at Thakutchaung, Koete’, Alaetaw and Inndein villages, and killed 17 people including a 2-year-old, a 6-year-old, and a pregnant lady. Since November 7, the resistance forces have launched counteroffensive against the regime’s army, circling Tigyaint Township. Hence these aerial attacks were assumed as responses to that; however, ended up killing civilians instead.

  • Dozens of civilians died during clashes in Loikaw, Karenni State

Since November 11 when the Operation 1111 was launched in Karenni State, over 40 people have been killed by the regime’s brutality in Loikaw. Between November 11 and 13, more than 20 people from Moebye and Loikaw were killed by the junta’s artillery. And on November 14 and 15, 19 people including five children died due to airstrikes and indiscriminate shootings by the regime’s men. At least three entire families were wiped out by the blasts.

  • 13 people killed during another regime massacre in Mattaya tsp, Mandalay Region

The latest tragedy in Mandalay Region unfolded on November 16 in Aung Kan Tha Village, Mattaya Township. Allegedly, regime soldiers arrived at a teashop in military trucks and indiscriminately opened fire, resulting in the deaths of 13 individuals, including the shop owner, U Aye. This occurred amid ongoing resistance force activities in Mattaya Township, where the regime soldiers were purportedly engaged in defensive actions, but the motive behind this tragic incident remains unclear.

  • Three including pregnant woman killed by regime’s artillery in Taungoo, Bago Region

On the evening of November 17, local resistance forces initiated an attack on the regime’s Light Infantry Unit – 39, located four miles from Taungoo Town in the Bago Region. The confrontation escalated as the junta’s soldiers retaliated with artillery fire, resulting in a stray shell landing in Nyaungpinhla Village, claiming the lives of three individuals: a pregnant woman, a child, and another civilian. The conflict persisted until the following day, accompanied by the presence of two military helicopters observed hovering over the battle area. Consequently, over 10,000 residents from nearby villages sought refuge to ensure their safety.

Armed Resistance

  • Operation 1027 going strong, next to take on Laukkai

On November 14, the three northern alliances (MNDAA, TNLA, AA) declared that the entire unit of the regime’s Regional Operations Commands (ROC) in Laukkai Town, Shan-north, had surrendered to them. This unit, comprising 127 soldiers along with brigade general Kyaw Ye Aung and 134 family members, defected. Since the launch of Operation 1027, these alliances have captured over 140 military camps and six major towns. Their latest announcement highlights their encirclement of Laukkai, signifying intentions to seize the town, a crucial objective of the operation.

  • Urgent evacuation advisory in Loikaw amidst rising tensions

The heightened confrontations in Loikaw, Karenni State prompted the commander in-chief of the Karenni Nationality Defense Force (KNDF) to issue an urgent message advising residents to evacuate the area promptly. Recent successes by the resistance forces in seizing control of the University of Loikaw and the Court triggered heavy attacks from the regime, including multiple airstrikes. Concerned for the safety of those staying in the city, the commander urged them to seek temporary refuge elsewhere.

  • 21 PDF members killed during counteroffensive in Pauk tsp, Magway Region

On November 15, local resistance forces launched a counteroffensive at Zeepyarr Village, a Pyu Saw Htee stronghold situated 10 miles north of Pauk Town. The attack commenced at 5 am and continued until 2 pm. Initially gaining control, the PDF rangers struggled to maintain their hold due to limited manpower and subsequent airstrikes from the regime. The clash resulted in the death of at least 30 regime soldiers and 21 PDF members. Significant destruction occurred, with half of the village, especially Pyu Saw Htee bunkers, reported as damaged or destroyed.

  • KNU to accelerate armed resistance

On November 17, Padoh Saw Taw Nee, spokesperson for the Karen National Union (KNU), declared an escalated campaign against the regime’s dictatorship. The statement coincided with Operation 1027 gaining traction in Shan-north. He emphasized forthcoming battles on multiple fronts, including diplomatic, economic, and social arenas, alongside armed resistance. Furthermore, government and military personnel were encouraged to join the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM).

  • Kachin-Sagaing highway road blocked due to clash

It seems the Pyidaungsu main road, connecting Kachin State and Sagaing Region, has been temporarily blocked due to ongoing clashes, as reported by courier services. Part of the road, spanning from Pinwal to Mawlu through Nabar, is under the control of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and PDF. Additionally, the regime’s soldiers have blocked the area around Nant Si Aung Inspection Gate. Though there hasn’t been an official announcement about the road closure, vehicles have been halted and instructed to turn back since November 16. Presently, clashes are occurring around Inndaw and Katha as resistance forces push to take control of these towns.

 Reference: Khit Thit, Myanmar Now, Mizzima News, RFA Burmese, Irrawaddy

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