Weekly Update: 105

by mohingamatters

Hi folks, it is a challenging situation as the enforcement of the conscription law leads to tragic outcomes, including the loss of lives and despair among the youth and their families. A few youths reportedly attempted to take their own lives after discovering they were selected for mandatory military service. A grandma killed herself as her only grandson was listed. On the other hand, many regime’s lackeys who conducted enlistment were either killed or attacked. Some of them had been forced to participate in such activities without a choice. Many innocent lives are going to be sacrificed until drastic action is taken. We hope the NUG can eventually leverage this situation to strengthen its position and bring about positive change. For now, it’s hard for people to stay optimistic.

Internal Politics

  • Dead bodies of Muslim youths found by AA in Rathedaung

Mounting evidence has suggested that the regime, facing opposition on multiple fronts, has forcibly recruited young Muslims from refugee camps in Rakhine State, subjecting them to military training. According to reports from the Arakan Army (AA), regime’s battalions stationed in Rathedaung, northern Rakhine State, were overtaken on March 17, with the discovery of deceased Muslim individuals who had recently undergone compulsory military training, a violation of military service laws. Remaining military’s camps in Rati Taung Township, including No. 536, 537, and 538, were captured by the AA following approximately two weeks of offensive operations. Approximately 200 troops fled via warships, leaving behind weapons, ammunition, military equipment, and the bodies of both soldiers and Muslim trainees. This coerced deployment of recently trained Muslims to the frontlines has raised concerns among civilians who fear being forcibly conscripted into the army.

  • Failed auction of DASSK’s residence in Yangon

On March 20, officials from the Kamayut District Court in Yangon attempted to auction Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s residence on University Avenue Road. Despite their efforts, the auction failed to attract any buyers. Masked court officials and office staff gathered at the No. 54 and commenced the auction at 10am. However, no bids were made, prompting the court employee to announce that interested parties could register and purchase application forms, yet still, no buyers emerged. After three unsuccessful attempts to solicit bids, the court employee declared the auction unsuccessful and announced plans for another auction to be held at a later date. The presiding female judge reiterated the lack of success and confirmed that the property remains unsold since the initial attempt on March 3rd.

  • The regime announced procedures for selection of personnel for military service 

The military council issued a statement outlining the procedures for selecting individuals for military service across Myanmar. According to the statement, individuals chosen for service shall notify if they travel to various neighborhoods and villages, as they are required to undergo mandatory health check-ups. The regime’s military service regulations are currently under review for final approval, with preparations underway to collect valid lists. Residents within designated wards and villages will undergo screening and subsequently be called for health assessments. Wards and villages are being organized to align with the manpower requirements set by the central authority, with individuals who apply likely to be selected for military service. Additionally, funds are being collected to support the families of selected individuals through the ward and village program. The military council assures that these funds will be allocated within their means to alleviate concerns about the welfare of families left behind by those entering military service.

  • 7 NCA signatories formed a new alliance

On March 18, it was announced that seven ethnic armed groups, signatories of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), have united to establish the 7 EAO Alliance. The purpose of this alliance is to address the ongoing political crises through political means and work towards the formation of a federal union. This alliance emerged following a plenary meeting held on March 17 and 18 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. General Ywad Sit of the Reconstruction Council of Shan State (RCSS) was appointed as the leader of the alliance, with Nai Aung Min from the New Mon State Party (NMSP) serving as the second leader. The political stance of the seven ethnic armed groups emphasizes democracy and advocates for the establishment of a federal democratic union that upholds national equality and the right to self-determination, aiming to foster sustainable peace. The alliance includes the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), New Mon State Party (NMSP), Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), Pao National Liberation Organization (PNLO), Lahu Democratic Union (LDU), Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), and Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Army-Peace Council (KNU/KNLA-PC).

  • Travel restriction imposed on Rakhine state ID holders

Workers in Yangon’s highway passenger bus lines have disclosed that the regime has implemented restrictions on domestic travel for individuals holding Rakhine state registration cards i.e. national identification cards beginning with 11/. According to a highway bus line employee speaking to RFA, the regime issued a notification about the travel ban on March 18th. He stated, “We received the notification yesterday, and it applies to all bus lines, prohibiting travel to any city.” For those without Rakhine state registration, instructions were given to sell tickets only to individuals with work-related endorsements or authorizations from ward administration offices or police stations. Workers in the highway bus sector expressed uncertainty regarding the exact rationale behind the travel ban. A Rakhine state registration holder residing in Yangon told RFA that the restriction on travel curtails citizens’ freedom and could adversely impact job prospects. While the travel permit for Rakhine registration holders has been suspended for domestic road trips, there have been no restrictions on air travel as of now, as confirmed by a ticket sales representative.

International Affairs

  • Thai authorities repatriate 48 Myanmar regime’s soldiers 

According to a Thai military source, Thai authorities repatriated 48 members of the military council who had sought refuge in Thailand back to Myanmar on March 21. These individuals, originating from Karen State, had deserted from the military council camp situated near the border between Kyar Inn Seikkyi township and Kawkareik township, specifically from Mae Tharaw Khee. On March 19, they fled to Ohmphan town, Paiklan village in Thailand, where local villagers lodged complaints with the Thai army and police regarding the presence of the military council soldiers. Upon apprehension, the soldiers were instructed to lie on the ground, and their firearms were seized by the Thai army.

  • Mae Sot District boots border security as more Myanmar youths crossed the border

In response to the enforcement of the conscription law by the Myanmar regime, the Mae Sot District Authority has mandated heightened security measures along the Thai-Myanmar border. Concerned about a potential influx of young individuals fleeing from Myanmar to evade conscription, the district authority issued an order emphasizing the precarious political situation in Myanmar. This order, issued recently, underscores the necessity for preventive measures against illegal border crossings. Consequently, local authorities, including sub-district township and village officials, have intensified security patrols to deter unlawful entry. The district chief of Mae Sot issued directives to implement these measures promptly, with the Thai army now conducting patrols in collaboration with the air force. Continuous patrols along the Thai-Myanmar border by convoys have been reported in response to these security concerns.

  • Indonesian authorities halt search for missing Rohingya refugees

Indonesian authorities have ceased the search for Rohingya refugees who went missing after their boat capsized off the coast of West Aceh. Survivors recounted that dozens of refugees were swept away by the waves. Despite efforts to rescue 69 Rohingya who had been adrift at sea for weeks, with most clinging to the overturned boat, authorities announced the cessation of search operations the following day. Muhammad Fathur Rachman, an officer from the Aceh State Search and Rescue Team, stated that the search was terminated due to the lack of a passenger list and information regarding the missing individuals. Survivors estimated that there were approximately 150 people on the boat. Expressing shock over the tragic incident, the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) emphasized their readiness to support the survivors and have dispatched teams to the West Aceh region.

  • Myanmar special rapporteur urged international community to show action

Mr. Tom Andrews, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Myanmar, called on international actors to show solidarity by taking action including cutting ties with the regime. He also condemned the Myanmar military’s increasing assaults on civilians amidst its battlefield failures and widespread opposition from the populace. His statement, issued following his presentation at the Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva on March 19, highlighted the military’s aggression, particularly targeting Rohingya individuals, who lack migration rights in Myanmar. Andrews emphasized the urgent need to halt engagement with the Myanmar military leaders and urged immediate action instead of mere words or statements. He stressed that the situation in Myanmar is deteriorating daily and called upon the United Nations Security Council to utilize its authority to address the crisis and assume primary responsibility. Furthermore, Andrews proposed that if the Security Council fails to act, all UN member states should unite to impose sanctions on the military council.

  • Women activists raised concerns at the UN commission meeting

Following the military coup in Myanmar, women’s groups from the country presented the precarious conditions faced by women to the United Nations. These presentations took place during the 68th meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) held at the UN Headquarters in New York City. Spanning from March 11 to March 22, the UN meeting featured discussions led by women’s rights activists, focusing on issues such as women’s safety, poverty, and the implications of newly enacted military service laws following the coup, as highlighted by women’s rights activist Ma May Sabei Phyu. Emphasizing the importance of integrating the concerns voiced by women’s groups and civil society organizations regarding Myanmar into UN discussions, She stressed the need for concrete information directly from the ground. She also urged UN member states to take proactive measures by acknowledging the firsthand information gathered by Myanmar women’s organizations amidst the country’s ongoing political turmoil.

Business Matters

  • Labor exodus and economic strain impacted by the conscription law

The enactment of the conscription law has triggered a significant exodus of workers from industrial zones in the Yangon Region. According to businessmen from UMFCCI, this mass departure has led to labor shortages, severely impacting the local economy. Since the announcement of the conscription law on February 10, workers have been returning to their hometowns. The situation exacerbated with the arrest of workers under the guest list law, particularly after the recruitment of porters into the army. Workers are leaving their jobs abruptly, leaving businesses and factories grappling with labor shortages and operational disruptions due to the conscription laws and guest list regulations. Moreover,  workers who stay in dormitories have faced intimidation and extortion from ward administrative groups, with reports of ongoing arrests. Extortion and harassment under the guise of military service laws have also been reported in ward villages, with attempts of substitution and administrative abuse rampant. 

  • The regime’s Central Bank cracked down on forex sellers

On March 20, the Central Bank of Myanmar, controlled by the military council, initiated measures against 15 companies authorized to trade foreign currency. Notably, eight companies had their foreign exchange licenses revoked, while two faced a six-month suspension, and five were suspended for three months. A statement released by the Central Bank on March 19 outlined the revocation of licenses for Kaung Han Thar Company, Lite Finance Myanmar Company, and Wings & Wheels Travels & Tours Company due to non-compliance with regulatory directives. In a bid to stabilize foreign exchange rates and deter speculation, the regime’’s Central Bank announced on March 15 its intention to act against 15 Facebook pages displaying exchange rates. Additionally, on March 11t, reports surfaced indicating the central bank’s casual inspections of foreign currency exchange counters.

Humanitarian Affairs

  • UN report: over 2.8 million displaced by conflict across Myanmar

A report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) on March 20 revealed that the ongoing conflict in Myanmar has forced over 2.8 million people to flee their homes as of March 18. The strife has particularly impacted areas such as Kale, Kani, and Pinlaung townships, with approximately 25,000 and 10,000 individuals displaced respectively. Similarly, in Karen State and Tanintharyi, more than 10,000 people have been compelled to flee due to fighting and airstrikes, as highlighted in the statement. The report also noted that 15 out of 17 townships in Rakhine State are affected by the conflict. Despite humanitarian organizations’ efforts to aid war victims, funding constraints pose significant challenges. According to UNOCHA, the number of displaced people surged from over 2.7 million on March 4 to over 2.8 million by March 18.

  • More than 100,000 individuals displaced in Shan State

The Pao Youth Organization (PYO) said on March 19 that over 100,000 individuals have been displaced amid ongoing conflict in Sisaing, Ho Pone, and Pinlaung townships of Southern Shan State. The escalation of fighting between the regime and the Karenni People’s Defense Cooperation Group, particularly in Pinlaung Township, has exacerbated the IDP crisis, according to PYO spokesperson Nang speaking to RFA. Since January 21, clashes between regime troops, the Pao National Organization (PNO) vs the Pao National Liberation Army (PNLA) have persisted for nearly two months in Sisaing and Ho Pone townships. As the number of displaced persons continues to rise, providing aid has become increasingly challenging, with urgent needs including food provisions and assistance for those sheltering in forests. PYO reported 49 civilian fatalities, including children, and 60 injuries resulting from the conflict.

  • More than 8000 villagers fled in Sagaing Region due to the regime’s attack

An official from the Sagaing People’s Support Network informed Khit Thit Media that thousands of residents from over 10 villages in Yinmarbin Township were compelled to seek refuge as the regime’s forces conducted raids in the area. At approximately 10 am on March 22nd, five armored vehicles from the Northwestern Regional Military Headquarters traversed the Chindwin Bridge towards Yinmarbin Township and as the convoy advanced into villages on the eastern side of Yinmarbin Township, over 8,000 individuals from more than 10 villages were forcibly displaced. Reports indicate that the military column continues its operations, raiding villages in the eastern part of Yinmarbin Township.

Attacks on the Junta’s Lackeys & Assets

  • Yadanabon Hall targeted in Mandalay

On March 19, the Yadanabon Hall in Mahaaungmyay Township was reportedly targeted by a rocket attack, resulting in significant damage to the building. Situated within the military compound at the intersection of 78th Street and 38th Street in downtown Mandalay, the hall’s exterior glass doors were shattered, and tragically, a pet dog lost its life in the incident. The No More Dictatorship People Defense Force (NMD), operating as a guerrilla force in Mandalay, claimed responsibility for the attack. According to the NMD, the assault was aimed at disrupting a gathering of military leaders, thwarting celebratory events, and dismantling a critical military propaganda dissemination hub.

  • Two shot dead for recruiting for military in Yenangchaung tsp, Magway Region

It is reported that on March 20, village administrator Tin Win Naing and clerk San Naing from Oakshitkone Village traveled to the town of Yenanchaung, Magway Region to submit the list of military servicemen from the village. While returning on a motorcycle, they were shot by the PDF near the road, resulting in their immediate death. Despite not carrying any weapons, they were carrying summonses to recruit soldiers. The deceased administrator Tin Win Naing and San Naing were known to exploit the village community by coercing young people into military service.

  • Teacher and ward administrator killed in relation to conscription recruitment in Mandalay 

In Mandalay, two individuals involved in the collection of military service lists were targeted on March 20. The first victim, 40-year-old Daw Khin Phyo Yee from Mahaaungmyay Township, a school teacher, was shot and killed. While details of her involvement in the military service registration remain unclear, ground sources suggest she was compelled to participate despite not being a supporter of the military. On the same day, U Thaung Tun, a 46-year-old ward administrator, was also fatally shot at his home in Michaungtat Village, Amarapura Township. He was known for encouraging young men to serve in the military under the military council.

  • Regime’s intelligence member shot dead in Kyaikhto tsp, Mon State

In Kyaikhto Township, Mon State, a district intelligence member of the regime met his demise when he was shot and killed on March 22 at approximately 10:18 in the morning. Identified as Ne Min Kyi, the owner of a noodle shop residing on Train Station Street, he fell victim to gunfire unleashed by the PDF UG forces. Ne Min Kyi was recognized for his role in dispersing protesting children and providing intelligence to the regime’s forces. Notably, his car was the sole vehicle observed within the military compound beyond curfew hours.

  • Golf course inside regime military headquarters targeted in Yangon

On the afternoon of March 22, at the Yangon Regional Military Headquarters, the Yangon PDF (Special Forces) successfully detonated a high-intensity remote-controlled mine at the golf course where regime officials were playing. The explosion supposedly resulted in 20 casualties, including a lieutenant colonel, seven soldiers, and two municipal officials. However, the accuracy of these casualties has yet to be verified by credible sources.

Arbitrary Arrests, Killings & Violence

  • Mandalay’s Obo Prison overcrowded, inmates forced to bribe for space to sleep

Former political prisoners released from Mandalay’s Obo Prison in February revealed that the facility is severely overcrowded, with more than double the number of inmates it can accommodate. With a capacity for about 4,000 prisoners, Obo Prison currently holds over 9,000 inmates. In each room measuring 80 feet long and 30 feet wide, approximately 200 people are crammed, leaving only 12 square feet of living space per person. To secure a place to sleep, inmates are forced to bribe prison staff, with prices ranging from 100,000 to 300,000 Myanmar kyats. Those unable to pay are left to sleep in unoccupied areas like the central walkway.

  • Over 20 inmates including political prisoners beaten and locked up in Dawei Prison, Tanintharyi Region

According to sources within the prison, over 20 inmates in Tanintharyi’s Dawei Prison were subjected to beatings and confinement after a mobile phone was discovered in their possession. The incident occurred during routine inspections conducted by army police, municipal authorities, the prison warden, and staff on March 13 and March 15. Several victims sustained head injuries, while some suffered broken legs as a result of the beatings. Among those subjected to this treatment were political prisoners from Dawei, including Ko Tun Oo, Ko Tan Daing, Ko Kham Mwee, and Ko Maung Maung Paing, who faced drug-related charges. Additional individuals were also involved, although their identities remain unknown. Ko Tun Oo, sentenced to 46 years in prison under multiple sections, including Anti-Terrorism Article 50 (j), 52 (a), 505 (a), and 505 (c), sustained severe injuries to his head and body and was subsequently confined.

  • Young man committed suicide for being selected in the mandatory military service

A tragic incident occurred on March 17 in Yetwinchaung Village, Kangyihtaunt Township, Ayawaddy Region, where a young man who was chosen by lottery to serve in the military under the Conscription Law took his own life. The 20-year-old learned the previous day that he was one of three young men selected for military service. Despite being rushed to Pathein Hospital, he succumbed to his injuries there.

  • Disabilities listed to serve in the military in Nagaland, Sagaing Region

In three townships of the Naga Autonomous Region, township chiefs and ward village administrators aligned with the regime are compiling lists of individuals for military service, regardless of disabilities. In townships such as Nan Yoon, Lahe, and Leshi, individuals aged 28 to 35 are being enlisted door-to-door, with cooperation from township general administration chiefs and village leaders. This recruitment list includes individuals diagnosed with epilepsy, mental illness, those with disabilities such as blindness in one eye, and other impairments. Approximately 7,000 individuals from each township in the Naga region are slated to be recruited as new soldiers and militiamen.

  • Man killed by regime’s forces for objecting distortion in Kyangin tsp, Ayawaddy Region

On March 20, a man from Kyangin, Ayawaddy Region was arrested by the regime’s forces and his dead body was returned to his family the same day. The deceased individual, 55-year-old U Than Tun Aye, was a former police officer residing on Shwe Taungsu 7 Road. The incident took place as a group of regime’s General Administration Department personnel, tasked with fixing house numbers in the neighborhood, demanded money from residents. U Than Tun Aye objected to this extortion. The leader of Pyu Saw Htee from their neighborhood reported him to the regime’s forces, who subsequently took him to the Kyangin police station. He was subjected to physical assault and succumbed to his injuries. By 9 pm on March 20, his body was returned to his home. The regime is conducting military service enlistment lists in the village groups of Kyangin Township, and the tracking of house number plates is part of a pilot program implemented by the authorities.

  • Regime’s airstrike killed five, including four children in Mrauk-U tsp, Rakhine State

On the morning of March 21, the regime’s army conducted an airstrike on a village near Mrauk-U town in northern Rakhine state, resulting in the deaths of four children and a woman, with ten sustaining serious injuries. The attack occurred when three bombs were dropped on the village of Ahtet Laynhyintaung, located east of Mrauk-U, shortly after 8 am. Among the deceased were two three-year-old children, along with an eight-year-old and a ten-year-old, while the woman was reported to be in her 30s. The bombardment destroyed three houses, and the injured included children as young as two years old. 

Armed Resistance

  • KIA seized nearly 50 regime stations during the 15-day offensive

Allied forces, led by KIA, successfully launched an attack on March 21, capturing key military stations including the 438th Battalion, No. 616 Missile Battalion, and No. 370 Artillery Battalion located in Nwalmalan Village, Moemauk Township, Kachin State, all within a single day. Additionally, on the same day, the KIA seized control of the Naphos regime camp situated near their headquarters in Laiza, and continued their assault on several other camps along the Myitkyina-Bangmao road. The offensive against the Nafo camp and other nearby camps, approximately 10 miles northeast of Laiza, began on March 17. Over the course of the past few days, the KIA and allied forces have successfully captured four consecutive camps. Nearly 50 camps have been targeted and captured within the 15-day duration of the offensive.

  • Regime stations attacked with drones on Thai-Myanmar border, Karen State

Several regime stations along the Thailand-Myanmar border in Kyarinseikkyi township, Karen State, were targeted in an attack using drones. During the assault, which involved the occupation of regime camps, numerous 60-mm and 81-mm bombs were dropped by drones by the Cloud Wings drone force. On March 19, approximately 50 regime soldiers from the Maetharothta camp fled into Thailand as a result of the coordinated attacks carried out by the revolutionary joint forces led by the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA). Furthermore, since March 15th, the Cloud Wings drone unit has been conducting daily bombardments on the regime’s Yetayout base situated on the Thai-Myanmar border. The continuous drone attacks prompted a significant number of soldiers to flee to Thailand on March 21, before ground assault troops engaged. Ultimately, the joint forces led by the KNLA successfully seized control of the camps. Throughout these operations, numerous weapons and ammunition were seized; however, two Cloud Wings drones were destroyed and lost in the process.

  • Karenni forces seized seven towns during Operation 1111 

On March 23, the Karenni joint forces declared their successful control over seven towns during Operation 1111 along the border between Karenni State and the Shan-Karenni border. This operation, which commenced on November 11, 2023, has spanned over four months, reaching in the acquisition of key territories. The towns of Malse, Demoso, Ywarthit, Shartaw, Mawchi, Nanmaekone, and Mobye now fall under Karenni forces’ control. Additionally, the forces have secured 81 camps, including 16 abandoned and 65 captured through attacks, as reported in the statement.

  • Seven regime troops killed during ambush in Yesagyo tsp, Magway Region

Myingyan Black Tiger (MBT) reported that seven regime soldiers were killed during coordinated attacks by resistance forces on multiple stations in Yesagyo town, Magway Region. The resistance forces simultaneously targeted the General Administration Office, a monastery, the Nyein Zarni Army Camp (Veteran Service Office), and a hospital where soldiers were stationed, all around 5:30 am on March 23. The primary focus of the attack was on the regime soldiers at Kakkyaw Monastery, where two camps within the monastery compound were completely demolished. Efforts were made to retrieve weapons but three soldiers disguised as monks inside the monastery, wearing robes, retaliated and initiated an attack. This resulted in three PDF members sustaining serious injuries and retreat.

  • CDF-Hakha attacked police station in Hakha, Chin State

CDF-Hakha reported that a policeman was killed during an attack by the CDF-Hakha on regime troops stationed at a school near the police station in Hakha, Chin State, on March 23. Similarly, on March 20, CDF-Hakha launched an attack on soldiers stationed at a school in close proximity to the police station in Hakha, resulting in three policemen sustaining injuries. These incidents mark a continuation of CDF-Hakha’s efforts to target members of the regime’s army in Hakha. As a result of these attacks, soldiers have been injured, killed, and some have been captured alive.

  • PDF warned regime soldiers in surrender in Launglon tsp, Tanintharyi region

On the evening of March 22nd, members of the PDF in Longlong Township, Dawei District, Tanintharyi Region, distributed warning letters to regime soldiers in the area, ordering them to surrender. The warning letters urged the soldiers to vacate the regime’s stations without delay. Additionally, they emphasized the importance for the people to remain vigilant at all times, staying alert to avoid the dangers posed by the regime, the common enemy of all.

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

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