Weekly Update: 090

by mohingamatters

Hi folks, here’s the summary of another weekly highlight. The armed resistance has reached unprecedented levels. Unfortunately, it is paralleled by a distressing increase in the civilian casualties on the battlefront. With the dictatorship’s end drawing closer, it’s crucial for us to unite and sustain support for both the armed resistance and the escalating humanitarian crisis. Read our highlights below:

Internal Politics

  • Regime threatened to target civilians buildings

General Zaw Min Tun, the military’s spokesperson, threatened that if attacks come from civilian buildings, the military will target these buildings regardless. He said this on November 30, implying that civilian buildings will be targeted and the regime’s offensives will be accelerated. The military council has been attacking civilians’ properties including places of worship as it cracks down on the growing armed resistance. General Zaw Min Tun accused that resistance forces have been taking cover at public buildings, education and healthcare buildings. In reality, several human rights groups have pointed out that the military has been taking base in several public locations. In a report published by the International Commission of Jurists in June 2023, the regime’s forces were based in up to 110 religious sites in 12 states and regions. 

  • Despite uncertain fate, USDP prepares for the upcoming election

Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), proxy party of the Myanmar military, prepares for an upcoming election that junta chief Min Aung Hlaing promised despite the ongoing clashes across the country. On December 1, USDP’s women representatives held a meeting with women party members and supporters, and first time voters in Pobba Thiri and Zeyar Thiri townships in Naypyitaw. According to a press statement, the USDP explained that the party formed a new committee for women to help the development of women’s lives. While the military proxy party prepared for the election, the party is facing the fate to be dissolved due to its parliamentarians who are not Myanmar citizens. The USDP’s member of parliament for Kokang, Ming Xuechang, received an arrest warrant for his involvement in online gambling fraud. It was then found out his nationality, which is a Chinese citizen. According to the 2010 Registration of Political Party Act, if a political party fails to dismiss a party member who is not a Myanmar citizen, it will be dissolved. As the regime’s spokesperson General Zaw Min Tun admitted in a press conference on November 16, the fate of the USDP party is in question. 

  • Seven police detention stations surrendered, DG blamed on staff 

U Myo Swe, newly appointed director-general of the Prisons Department under the regime’s Ministry of Home Affairs, put the blame on officers as some staff members from police detention centers surrendered to the resistance forces. Police detention centers house prisoners who receive jail-time with hard labor, and as of this month, up to 7 police detention centers across the country have been seized by the resistance forces. The former brigadier general blamed officers at prison detention centers for surrendering easily without attempting to retaliate or defend. A source told Myanmar Now that U Myo Swe ordered staff members to return to the police detention centers where clashes broke out although his employees were not provided with sufficient ordnance to defend themselves. The seven detention centers that have surrendered to the resistance forces are: Tha Nan in Tamu Township; Yar Za Gyo 1 and 2 in Kalay Township; Lwin Gyi, Kyu Inn, Kho Ho and Kone San in Naung Cho Township. 

International Affairs

  • The NUG clarified that the parallel government is not having dialogue with the regime

Daw Zin Mar Aung, Foreign Minister of the National Unity Government (NUG), visited Japan in the past week, meeting with representatives from the National Diet (the Japanese national legislature), the US Ambassador in Japan, and the Myanmar community. Her interview with Tokyo based Nikkei Asia Review was published on November 29 where it initially reported that the NUG “is preparing for face-to-face dialogue with the military regime” and she was quoted saying “we have already set our ground rules for dialogue to the junta”. On November 30, she published a personal statement on her Facebook, clarifying that she was misquoted. Dialogue with the military regime has been a hot topic since Indonesia’s statement last week about a “positive” with the regime’s interlocutors. This is the second time the NUG (or its representative) has to clarify and reassure the public that the parallel government is committed to the revolution and building of a federal state. 

  • Thai government plans to shelter Myanmar refugees 

The Thai government said that it plans to build shelters for Myanmar refugees when the fighting intensifies. Thailand’s foreign minister was quoted in the Bangkok Post on December 1 that his government is closely following the ongoing clashes in Myanmar. He also urged respective stakeholders to cease fire and start a political dialogue. The foreign minister also warned that when conflicts accelerate, Myanmar civilians will flee to safe places, and it means not just Thailand but to other countries as well. Currently, authorities from Thailand have been closely monitoring the border area, and the military regime has said to ensure that the Thai border is not affected by the current fighting. 

  • Rohingya refugees arrived in Aceh Province, Indonesia

On December 2, a boat that carried about 170 Rohingyas arrived at Sabang Port in Aceh Province, Indonesia according to Reuters News. Majority of the Rohingyas from the boat are women and children, and they are weak as they traveled for weeks according to the village head of Sabang port. Reuters news reported that up to 1000 Rohingya people have arrived in Aceh Province in the past few weeks. Every year, the weather in the sea is somewhat stable between November and April, and therefore, Rohingya people use wooden boats to travel to neighboring Thailand, Bangladesh, as well as Malaysia and Indonesia. According to the UN data, about 2000 Rohingya traveled in seas to seek refuge and about 200 died during the journey. On November 23, UN Special Rapporteur to Myanmar Tom Andrew urged the receiving countries to provide humanitarian assistance to Rohingya refugees and not to push them back into the sea.

Business Matters 

  • NUG confiscated over 44 billion MMK from five private banks in Kawlin

On November 30, the National Unity Government (NUG) reported that its forces had seized over 44 billion Myanmar Kyats from five private banks in Kawlin, Myanmar, with KBZ Bank 2 contributing 32.6 billion, Myanmar Apex Bank 9.2 billion, Ayerwaddy Bank over 1 billion, and Global Treasure Bank more than 3100 lakhs, while Tun Commercial Bank held over 2800 lakhs. In the report, NUG mentioned that there were attempts to steal money from safe boxes in these banks, but its forces were able to prevent that in time. The NUG assured proper recording and management of the funds as part of a union treasury, with plans to utilize the saved money for the ongoing revolution in Kawlin.

  • Spring Bank share sale surpasses expectations, reaching a remarkable USD 10 million 

The National Unity Government’s Finance and Investment Ministry revealed the successful sale of Spring Bank shares, reaching USD 10 million by November 26. The sale, running from November 17 to November 27 with a minimum investment of USD 10, surpassed the 10 million goal. Minister U Tin Tun Naing announced the achievement on social media, emphasizing the historic support for the Spring Revolution. Although expectations were met on November 26, Spring Bank shares continued to be available for purchase until November 27, accommodating those still eager to join as shareholders.

  • Dollar trader robbed of more than 1000 lakhs in the center of Yangon

U Khin Maung Win, a dollar trader from Botahtaung Township, fell victim to a robbery on December 1. Around 2:48, eight individuals in two cars, armed with guns and knives, abducted him from his residence located on 41st Street and Maha Bandula Road, downtown Yangon. They took over 1000 lakhs worth of Myanmar Kyats and US dollars. Despite being beaten and dumped off of the car in South Dagon, U Khin Maung Win emerged without critical injuries. Witnesses noted heightened security in the area during the incident. Some speculate the involvement of the military and police, even if not directly.

Attacks on the Junta’s Lackeys & Assets

  • Six regime-appointed ward administrators killed in Magway Region

On November 26, targeted attacks occurred against village ward administrators in Minhla and Mintone townships within Magway Region’s southern part. The appointed administrators from Taungyan Village in Mintone and Linkal, Meelaungkone, Petawkone, Kadaungsouth, and Kan (a lal) in Minhla were killed in their residences. Subsequently, the regime’s forces arrived, collecting the bodies using four trucks. Following this incident, the remaining village administrators reportedly vacated their areas for safety. Since June, local defense forces in Minhla Township had warned these administrators to leave their positions or face consequences. As of now, there hasn’t been any official statement released by either the regime or the PDF regarding this incident.

  • NNDP chair/military loyalist shot dead in Yangon

On December 1, another significant targeting of military loyalists occurred in Thingangyun Township, Yangon. U Than Tun, the chair of the New National Democratic Party (NNDP) and a staunch ally of the military and State Administration Council (SAC), was fatally shot in his residence in Ngamoeyeik Ward. U Than Tun was known for various aspects, including his political party affiliation and personal beliefs. The NNDP was among the 34 political parties that held discussions with Min Aung Hlaing prior to the 2020 General Election, urging intervention if there were suspicions of electoral fraud. Additionally, he expressed contentious opinions on social media, endorsing the regime’s airstrikes and advocating for the death penalty for individuals like Ko Jimmy and Ko Phyo Zeya Thaw. Ngamoeyeik Mission Network, a Yangon-based urban guerilla force claimed responsibility for the mission.

  • Yankin police station targeted in Yangon

On the evening of December 1, the Yankin Myoma Police Station was blasted by explosions in Yangon. The PDF, the west district of Yangon, and the Yangon Army (YA) coordinated the attack and announced their intention to continue targeting the regime’s bases. No casualty has been reported although the regime’s soldiers were seen conducting a thorough inspection near the scene. They cautioned the public, advising them to steer clear of military-affiliated locations. On the same night, explosions were reported in other townships such as Bahan, Sanchaung, and Kyimyindaing. Since November 12, the YA has declared its intent to intensify attacks on the military informants, ward administrators, and military sites.

Arbitrary Arrests, Killings & Violence

  • U Ye Htut, former Minister for Information sentenced to 10 years

On November 29, the regime’s special tribunal within Insein Prison sentenced U Ye Htut, the former Minister for Information during President Thein Sein’s tenure from 2011 to 2015, to 10 years of imprisonment. U Ye Htut was arrested in his house in Alone Township on October 28 after the military lobbyists called for his detention following a series of mild criticisms of the regime on social media. U Ye Htut was charged and found guilty of violating the sedition laws, Section 505A and 124A of the Penal Code. U Ye Htut’s arrest does not trigger the usual sentiment among Myanmar netizens as he had been a controversial figure during his Minister years, often seen as a supporter of the military-centric government and frequently deriding the opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD). 

  • Chit Su Tun, Pathein-based activist sentenced to 22 years 

Ma Chit Su Tun, a 24-year-old activist arrested by the regime’s police and soldiers in June, has received a harsh sentence of 22 years in prison following a five-month trial in Pathein City, Ayeyarwaddy Region. She was charged and found guilty under counterterrorism laws, specifically Sections 52, 54, and 505B, with accusations of supporting the People’s Defense Force (PDF) and participating in the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM). Known as a prominent figure in Pathein’s activism scene, Ma Chit Su Tun actively engaged in protests. According to local sources, she was allegedly framed and handed such a severe sentence due to her popularity among the people. Pathein Prison currently confines 600 political prisoners, including 100 women who have been detained for their involvement in political activities.

  • 13 civilians detained following attack on village administrator in Lewe tsp, Naypyitaw

On November 29, soldiers from the regime reportedly detained 13 villagers—comprising 9 men and 4 women—in Pinthaung Village, Lewe Township, Naypyitaw Region. These individuals were suspected of involvement in the shooting of the village tract administrator, U Thet Tun Aung, which occurred on November 17. U Thet Tun Aung sustained a bullet wound on his left buttock during the incident. Initially, a few villagers were taken for questioning on the same day but were released the following day. However, on November 29, these 13 villagers were re-arrested and held at the Lewe Police Station after an order came from Naypyitaw. Among the detainees were Ko Kyi Han, Ko Hlaing Oo, Ko Myo Lwin, and Ma Mai Jujue Hlaing.

  • 18 dead bodies found after Pyu Saw Htee raid in Monywa tsp, Sagaing Region

On December 2, approximately 70 individuals, consisting of regime soldiers and Pyu Saw Htee members, conducted a coordinated raid on Kyapaing Village in Monywa Township, Sagaing Region. The following day, local resistance forces initiated a ground clearance operation after the departure of the soldiers. During this operation, they discovered 18 charred bodies in the village. The victims, aged between 20 and 50, included at least ten individuals who were killed and then burned in the same house situated at the village’s center, suspected to have been a refuge for them. The remaining victims were found scattered throughout the village. Due to the severe burns, the victims are not identified yet and it remains uncertain whether the individuals were killed and then burned or perished in the flames. Kyapaing Village, which comprises over 1,000 households with a population of 3,000, has suffered significant damage, with at least 200 households reduced to ashes.

  • Pyu Saw Htee set village on fire and killed four civilians in Tamu tsp, Sagaing Region

The military-backed Pyu Saw Htee group initiated a destructive attack on Htantapin Village on December 3 and 4. Situated on the India-Myanmar Border in Tamu Township, Sagagaing Region, this assault resulted in the burning of houses and a Christian church, reducing them to ruins. Tragically, four villagers were shot dead while attempting to flee the flames. Additionally, the thugs apprehended over 100 villagers, briefly detaining them before their release the following day. This brutal attack forced the entire population of the village to abandon their homes, seeking refuge and safety in Tamu Town. The blaze and smoke from the village could be observed from a considerable distance. Htantapin Village is positioned four miles from Tamu and merely one mile from the Indian border.

Armed Resistance 

  • MNDAA launched offensive in Laukkai

On December 1, the Myanmar National Democratic Army (MNDAA) officially commenced operations aimed at seizing control of Laukkai, Shan-north. Under Operation 1027, the Three Brotherhood Alliance (MNDAA, TNLA, AA) has effectively captured all regime stations in the Kokang area situated in Shan-north, except for Laukkai, which houses the last remaining military base. The recent attack on December 1 marks an acceleration in the alliances’ efforts to achieve a key objective of Operation 1027: taking control of Laukkai. Successful completion of this mission would grant the MNDAA authority over the entire Kokang area, positioned along the banks of the Salween River in northeast Myanmar.

  • Clashes intensified in Muse, resulting in multiple civilian deaths

Since November 26, the Three Brotherhood Alliance has launched an offensive against the regime’s forces in Muse Township, to gain control over the Muse 105 trading zone. This offensive has led to ongoing violent clashes occurring daily within the trading zone and the area surrounding Muse (separated by six miles). The regime has responded with numerous aerial strikes and artillery fire. Local sources report that dozens of civilians have tragically lost their lives during these confrontations. Shockingly, 27 bodies were discovered unattended at an express gate within the trading zone, while an attack on the Asia World Inspection Gate on December 2 resulted in the death of a four-month-old baby. Additionally, this conflict has forced over 1,000 individuals to flee their homes, leading to displacement in the region.

  • Resistance forces on verge of capturing Mone Town, Bago Region

Since the evening of December 2, a coalition consisting of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and the People’s Defense Force (PDF) has been coordinating an offensive to seize control of Mone Town in Kyautkyi Township, located in the Bago Region’s eastern part. The fighting has persisted up to the time of this report, with the local resistance successfully capturing two military bases—Infantry Battalion Unit 599 and 590—and one police station. In response, the regime’s forces have reportedly carried out at least 32 airstrikes. Mone Town, with a population of over 10,000 people, falls within the jurisdiction of the Karen National Union (KNU)’s Brigade 3 in the Nyaunglaypin District.

  • KNU attempts to cut the regime’s control on Thai-Myanmar trade

On December 1, the KNU forces and the People’s Defense Force (PDF) launched an offensive against the regime’s bases situated along the Myawaddy-Kawrareik highway and within Kawkareik Town. Their objective extends beyond merely removing the regime’s control over the vital Thai-Myanmar border trading route; it also aims to demonstrate to neighboring countries that the State Administration Council (SAC) no longer holds sway over such pivotal functions. The initial conflict along the Asia Highway concluded swiftly, lasting only 30 minutes, as the soldiers stationed there deserted their posts. However, the clashes in Kawkareik Town proved more intense. The resistance forces managed to partially gain control of the town, prompting retaliatory airstrikes and artillery fire from the regime’s forces.

Sources: Myanmar Now, RFA Burmese, Mizzima News, Khit Thit Media, The Irrawaddy, Ayeyarwaddy TImes

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