Weekly Update: 118

by mohingamatters

Folks, 7th July reminds us of our struggle against the successive military regimes since 1962 under General Ne Win’s control, and the revolution against Min Aung Hlaing’s regime continues to this day. This week, more and more civilians from northern Shan State have fled from their homes to safer places due to the intensified clashes. The regime’s crackdown on businesses continued with a new policy imposed on taxation. A diarrheal outbreak took place in Yangon’s Thaketa Township which the military attempted to cover up. Read all about it in this week’s update: 

Internal Politics

  • The regime rejected ANP’s party registration 

The Election Commission under the regime announced on July 1 its rejection of the Arakan National Party’s (ANP) request to continue operating as a political party. The ANP, which secured the majority of Rakhine state constituencies in the 2015 and 2020 elections, was denied registration on the grounds of non-compliance with Section 7 of the Political Parties Registration Law. Section 7 of this law prohibits the registration of organizations deemed illegal, declared as terrorist organizations, or those with direct or indirect connections to armed groups opposing the state. However, the commission did not specify which organization the ANP was allegedly associated with. U Khaing Pyi Soe, General Secretary of the Arakan National Party (ANP), stated that the ANP has no connections with armed resistance organizations and that its 25 registration applicants comply fully with Section 7. Despite this, a pro-military Telegram channel, Min Chit Oo, claimed that the ANP is linked to the Arakan Army (AA). The ANP clarified that former Mrauk-U Hluttaw MP U Oo Hla Saw and others, who had served as political chiefs of the AA, have already resigned from the party.

  • Veterans and militias used for security in Nay Pyi Taw

Local sources report that veterans and militia groups are increasingly being deployed to secure Nay Pyi Taw, where the military headquarters is located. Due to significant losses of military bases, high casualty rates, and numerous surrenders, the military council has dispatched many active-duty soldiers to the front lines. Veterans and militia members began arriving in Nay Pyi Taw in early June, according to a police official. According to a former soldier, veterans and militia members are being given relatively easy tasks. Veterans and militias are stationed at various departmental buildings and intersections. At Thapyay Kone roundabout, a notable protest site against the military coup, there are no fewer than three security tents and seven police cars, but only about seven armed personnel, some of whom are over 60 years old.

  • 13 political prisoners freed in Chin State

The Chin State Defense Force-Matupi (Brigade-1) announced on July 4 that 13 political prisoners detained by the military council during the battle for the town of Matupi in Chin State have been released. The group included 12 men and one woman, with two individuals sentenced to life imprisonment and two employees arrested for participating in non-violent civil disobedience (CDM). The statement noted that, starting June 6, the military council had moved the political prisoners from the Matupi city police station headquarters to the Matupi military strategy base and Khlara (140). When RFA contacted for comment, General Zaw Min Tun, spokesman for the military council, did not respond. The Arakan Army (AA) and Chin Nyi Naung forces, along with the Yaw Army and the Yaw Defense Force (YDF), engaged in battles to capture Matupi. An offensive was launched on June 9, and by June 29, it was reported that Chin Nyinaung and allied groups had taken control of the town.

  • Monks’ boycott against the military council gained momentum 

In the campaign to boycott the military council, monks from six more townships in Sagaing, Magway, and Mandalay regions joined the movement on July 2 and 3, bringing the total number of participating townships to 20. Monks from Myingyan, Taung Thar, and Na Hto Gyi in Mandalay Region, Kani and Yay Oo in Sagaing Region, and Seik Phyu in Magway Region have joined the protest. A resident of Yay Oo reported that monks from various villages gathered at a local monastery for a silent strike. This movement began on June 23 when monks in Chaung U Township, Sagaing Region, initiated the Good Karma strike following the killing of Bhaddanta Munindabhivamsa, a monk from Win Nimmattang Monastery, by military council troops. The military council has not responded to this movement. The leading monks have called on local, national, and international authorities to take action against the military council’s crimes and have urged foreign monks to join the boycott.

International Affairs

  • Japanese ambassador was allowed to meet with the detained Japanese man 

Kyodo News reported on July 3 that the Japanese ambassador in Yangon met with Hiroshi Kasamatsu, a Japanese national arrested in connection with a rice pricing issue. The Japanese government has requested Kasamatsu’s immediate release, resulting in the meeting being granted. Ambassador Ichiro Maruyama confirmed that Kasamatsu is in good health and is currently being investigated at an unspecified police station. The Japanese embassy stated that Kasamatsu has received necessary supplies through his Myanmar lawyer and has been kept informed about his situation. It remains unclear if other detained Myanmar traders are allowed to hire lawyers or visit their families. On June 30, the military council arrested 11 rice traders, including Kasamatsu and representatives from City Mart and One Stop Mart, accusing them of selling rice at inflated prices. The military council announced that the traders would be prosecuted under a law that carries a maximum prison sentence of three years.

  • Myanmar and Thailand signed agreement to extradite serious criminals

Thailand’s police chief told RFA that a recent agreement was signed between Thai and Myanmar police forces to exchange individuals suspected of committing serious crimes. Deputy General Ni Lin Aung, Minister of the Home Affairs of the Military Council and Chief of Police, met with Thai Police Chief Lieutenant General Itthipol Achariyapradit during his visit to the Thai police headquarters in the last week of June to finalize the agreement. This agreement covers serious crimes such as murder, drug smuggling, and human trafficking. It stipulates that when citizens of Myanmar or Thailand commit these crimes and flee across the border, the police forces of both countries will cooperate to apprehend and extradite them. When asked by RFA if Myanmar nationals fleeing to Thailand to avoid military conscription under the Military Council’s law would be arrested and sent back under this agreement, the Thai police chief stated that Myanmar authorities have not addressed this issue yet.

  • ICJ allowed seven countries to join the Gambia v Myanmar case

The International Criminal Court (ICJ)  announced on July 3 that Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, and the Maldives have been permitted to participate in the proceedings of the case brought by the Gambia to the ICJ accusing Myanmar of committing genocide against the Rohingya. These seven countries have been granted the right to submit written observations addressing their concerns, with further decisions on oral testimony to be announced later. In 2017, the Gambia, a West African nation, initiated legal action against Myanmar over the Rohingya crisis in Rakhine State. A United Nations fact-finding mission concluded that Myanmar’s military had committed genocide against the Rohingya. Myanmar, however, disputes these allegations, with State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi denying any wrongdoing during hearings at the ICJ in the Netherlands in December 2019. The ICJ rejected Myanmar’s defense in 2022, and the case remains ongoing.

  • Singapore to restrict arms flow to the Myanmar regime

On June 28, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly condemned the Myanmar military’s use of lethal force against civilians and reiterated its stance to restrict the flow of military weapons to Myanmar. Responding to a report by Mr. Tom Andrews, the UN Special Representative for Human Rights in Myanmar, Singapore’s Ministry of Political Affairs underscored its policy to prohibit the transfer of dual-use military equipment while maintaining official trade relations with Myanmar. Mr. Andrews’ report highlighted Singapore’s efforts, noting that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has collaborated with local financial sectors since February 2021 to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing related to Myanmar. Singaporean financial institutions are committed to avoiding transactions involving arms transfers to Myanmar. The report also noted that Singaporean businesses have been restricted, prompting Thai businesses to fill the gap left in the arms trade.

Business Matters

  • The regime’s tax crackdown 

As the country’s economy deteriorates and fiscal deficits grow, the military council plans to increase taxes and prosecute tax evaders as a police priority. On June 13, the regime’s Ministry of Planning and Finance announced that knowingly evading taxes or claiming illegitimate tax refunds will be treated as criminal offenses under the Tax Administration Law. Previously, only the Internal Revenue Department could initiate court proceedings against tax evaders. However, under the new regulation, those identified as tax evaders will likely face prosecution at police stations, according to a legal expert. Section 77 of the Tax Administration Law stipulates that tax evaders may be punished with up to seven years of imprisonment, a fine of 200,000 Kyats, the amount of tax evaded, or a combination of these penalties. A tax specialist noted that the expanded powers of the tax department and the new provision allowing the military council to target dissenting business people could lead to increased arrests at police stations. The expert further suggested that the decision to raise taxes is a response to rampant inflation caused by the issuance of new banknotes, exacerbated by the financial strain of the military coup d’état.

  • The regime targets banks for housing loan violations

The Ministry of Information announced on July 1 that it will take action against seven private banks and officials of the Central Bank for allegedly issuing housing loans in violation of Central Bank regulations. The banks under scrutiny are Yoma Bank, Myanmar National Bank, AYA Bank, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Bank, UAB Bank Myanmar, Myanmar Metro Bank, and the Construction, Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank. These banks have reportedly provided housing loans ranging from 0.39 percent to 16.34 percent above the Central Bank’s requirements. The military council stated that the banks involved will face significant fines under Section 154 of the Financial Institutions Law.

  • The military-owned enterprises thrive as private businesses face repression

Businessmen allege that military-owned enterprises enjoy preferential treatment while private entrepreneurs are targeted with arrests and repression under accusations of market destabilization and economic harm. The military council exerts control by investigating and detaining businessmen, particularly regarding the rising prices of cooking oil and other essential commodities. The Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) and Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL), pillars of the military’s economic dominance, continue to operate with special privileges across sectors including jade and mineral resources, manufacturing, insurance, banking, and ports. Despite economic collapse and soaring prices following the military coup, private entrepreneurs are blamed while military-affiliated businesses remain unscathed. Critics liken the situation to a fascist economic system where military power and influence override fair market practices. A businessman from Nay Pyi Taw, speaking anonymously, criticized the military council’s approach, stating, “They search for faults in others and exploit wherever they can, using their weapons and authority to control economic sectors.”

Humanitarian Affairs

  • Diarrheal outbreak in Yangon’s Thaketa Township covered up by the military

An outbreak of diarrheal disease in Thaketa Township, Yangon, has resulted in fatalities, but the military council has not issued any public statements and has attempted to cover up the news. Local residents reported that military and district administrative authorities used loudspeakers to announce the closure of roadside food stalls in the affected areas until July 12. “They said people died in Thaketa Ward 10. Last night, all street food stalls were ordered to close. Also, hospitals are full of diarrhea patients. The Ministry of Health and the army are conducting field inspections, but there are no official reports of deaths from diarrhea. The dead are dead,” said a local resident of Thaketa Township. The military announced that any shops and vendors selling food that do not comply with the closure order will face arrest and punishment.

  • Over 3 million people have been displaced: UNOCHA reports

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) reported on June 30 that over three million people have been internally displaced amid ongoing political conflicts across Myanmar. The displaced refugees are enduring harsh conditions during the rainy season and facing considerable challenges. As conflict intensifies, landmines pose additional dangers, forcing locals to flee due to heavy artillery and aerial bombardments. Moreover, the recent destruction of the World Food Program (WFP) food storage facility in Maungdaw Township, Rakhine State, in June adds to concerns about protecting aid workers and refugees. Since late May 2024, the WFP team has been restricted from entering or leaving Maungdaw, exacerbating already critical humanitarian needs in the region.

  • Thousands flee Lashio amid intense fighting in Northern Shan State

Since the morning of July 5, intense fighting near Lashio has prompted thousands of residents to evacuate the city, causing significant traffic delays on the route to Hsipaw. According to a resident speaking to Myanmar Now, fleeing vehicles are marked with white flags, with departures continuing past 1 pm. The conflict escalated with attacks on military council camps near Man Ai No. 5 Ward and Man Na No. 12 Ward by northern forces, accompanied by heavy weapon explosions in residential areas. The resident estimated that over 30 percent of Lashio’s population has fled, while those remaining are monitoring the military situation, preparing to evacuate. Evacuees from Lashio are heading towards Mai Kai in Southern Shan State via Lashio-Sint Inn pier-Thipaw route, encountering no fighting along the way. However, delays are reported at Sint Inn pier, the sole remaining river crossing, with more than 500 rescue vehicles awaiting passage. Reports of the Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP/SSA) charging 20,000 Kyats per car at Sint Inn pier and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) collecting fees from fleeing vehicles remain unconfirmed by Myanmar Now. Efforts to contact the MNDAA and TNLA regarding the situation near Lashio are ongoing.

  • Flooding crisis grips Myitkyina as the Ayeyarwaddy River swells

Thousands of villagers have been evacuated from the Myitkyina area in Kachin State due to rising water levels in the Ayeyarwaddy River. Reports indicate a shortage of rescuers as residents began fleeing their homes on the night of June 30, with water entering most neighborhoods along the riverbanks. By July 1, nearly the entire town of Myitkyina was submerged, according to a 30-year-old resident. “Almost all neighborhoods in Myitkyina City are experiencing flooding. Some evacuated on the same day, but now all areas in the city are affected,” the resident stated. While the Myitkyina Myoma market remains dry, the wet market in the city quarter is reportedly inundated. Residents of Kyat Paung Chan noted extensive flooding in Rampur and Sitapur town wards. Local schools and markets have been forced to close, while those seeking refuge have found shelter in dry areas such as monasteries and Christian churches. Despite the widespread flood disaster affecting nearly the entire city, residents lamented the shortage of rescue personnel available to assist.

Attacks on the Junta’s Lackeys & Assets

  • Military-owned cigarette factory targeted in Mingaladon tsp, Yangon

Around 9:45 pm on June 30, a Yangon-based urban guerilla force named Slayers of Tyrants (SOT) conducted a mission, targeting the Red Ruby Cigarette Factory with a remote control bomb in Mingaladon Township, Yangon. The factory, which belongs to the regime, serves as one of the key revenue streams for the army. A fire broke out as a result of the explosion. The rangers managed to escape without any casualties.

  • Armed Pyu Saw Htee member shot dead in Kyaikhto tsp, Mon State

Around 11 am on July 1, Kyaikhto-based PDF carried out an operation, killing a militia/Pyu Saw Htee member in Kyaikpi Village, Mon State. The rangers fired at Hla Htay, the armed military informer, at an inspection gate near the village. Hla Htay served as the regime lackey in the region, investigating the PDF locations and activities.

  • PDF raided Pyu Saw Htee house in Singu tsp, Mandalay Region

On July 4, the resistance forces raided the house of a Pyu Saw Htee leader in Shwepyi Village, Singu Township, Mandalay Region. The house, which is guarded by soldiers with bunkers, belongs to Nyunt Wai, who escaped with his followers. The rangers confiscated multiple weapons and ammunition before burning down the house.

  • Ward administrator shot dead in Sanchaung tsp, Yangon

Around noon on July 6, the regime’s ward administrator Khin Soe from Sanchaung Township, Yangon was shot dead. The incident took place at a teashop on Pyapon Street in Sanchaung where he was having tea on his own. Khin Soe was a member of the military’s proxy party USDP and a ward administrator who actively implemented the conscription act and followed PDF news. FreeFreeland Attack Force (FLA) claimed responsibility for the attack.

Arbitrary Arrests, Killings & Violence

  • Junta bombed religious building during Matupi clash, Chin State

On July 2, the Chin Defense Force (CDF-Matupi) released a statement that three religious buildings and several houses were destroyed by the junta’s bombings during the Matupi clash the previous week. On June 9, the resistance forces launched an offensive against the regime’s stations in Matupi Town, successfully seizing all the regime outposts by June 29. In response, the regime conducted excessive air bombings, which resulted in the destruction of the religious buildings.

  • Regime’s airstrike injured two students in Tanintharyi tsp, Tanintharyi Region

On the afternoon of July 2, the regime conducted an airstrike near a school in Tharapon Village, Tanintharyi Township, Tanintharyi Region. Six cluster bombs exploded about 100 yards from the school, injuring children. A boy broke his hand while fleeing the scene, and a Grade-9 student suffered a wound to his arm from the bomb.

  • Political prisoners being oppressed in Magway Prison

On July 4, the Political Prisoners Network Myanmar (PPNM) released a statement indicating that political prisoners in Magway Prison, recently transferred from Mandalay’s Obo Prison, are facing oppression from prison authorities. Over 40 political prisoners were moved to Magway Prison on June 15. Some were beaten for looking at the authorities when they were giving a speech inside the facility. About ten people have also been placed in solitary confinement.

  • About 100 people detained during regime’s offensive in Myingyan tsp, Mandalay Region

On July 4, about 60 regime troops raided two villages in Myingyan Township, Mandalay Region, detaining 100 people. The junta soldiers first entered Tuyinbo Village, forcing villagers to flee to nearby Kyaungphyukan Village. When the troops arrived there, about 100 people were trapped in a monastery and all of them were locked in from outside. Additionally, about 2,000 people have fled to safety.

  • 14 civilians killed by artillery fires in Lashio tsp, Shan State

At least 14 civilians died from artillery fire within two days in Lashio Township, Shan State. Clashes have erupted between the northern alliances and the regime in the region since the start of July. Due to heavy artillery fire, six people from Ward 1 and three from Panoak Monastery in Ward 5 died on July 3, including a 13-year-old. The following day, a mother and her son from Ward 9 and three men near the education college in Ward 11 were killed by explosions. At least four others have been injured.

  • Four hostages killed by regime soldiers near Dawei Port Project, Tanintharyi Region

On July 5, four dead bodies were found near the Dawei Deep Sea Port Project in Tanintharyi Region. They were identified as Ko Naing Naing, Ko Thar Thar, Ko Aung Zaw Win, and Ko Kyaw Sein from Zarti Village, Ye Phyu Township, who were taken by the regime’s soldiers as human shields on June 1. A total of eight villagers were taken, and the whereabouts of the others remain unknown. Local reports indicated that ten people, comprising both men and women, were taken hostage. The regime’s troops have been conducting an offensive in the west of Ye Pyu Township since June 30.

Armed Resistance

  • TNLA & PDF controlled Mogok (west)

The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the People’s Defense Force (PDF) have reportedly taken control of the western part of Mogok Town in Mandalay Region. In less than 10 days, the allied forces seized regime stations in at least eight areas, including a police station, leaving no regime troops or police in the west. The junta’s administrative offices are located in the east, seven miles away. If the resistance forces capture eastern Mogok, they could cut off the route to Mongmit, controlling the path from Sagaing Region to TNLA-controlled areas in Shan-north.

  • Regime raided PDF station, killed four rangers in Yesagyo tsp, Magway Region

On the morning of July 2, junta troops raided a local resistance station in Kyu Village, 20 miles south of Yesagyo Town, Magway Region. A brief firefight ensued, but the resistance forces, armed only with handmade guns, could not defend their position. One ranger was killed on the spot, while three others were arrested, tortured, and shot in the head. The victims were all around 20 years old. Two rangers escaped with injuries. The regime confiscated seven guns and communication devices.

  • Northern alliances conducted offensive on regime stations in Lashio, Shan State

On the night of July 2, northern alliances launched simultaneous attacks on four regime stations near Lashio Town, Shan State (north). The assault began around 11 pm, and the regime responded with heavy artillery fire until the following afternoon, resulting in civilian casualties. The junta has suspended entry to Lashio and air travel in response. The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) are leading the offensive.

  • Regime utilized drone, airstrike and heavy artillery in clashes in Karen State

Reports indicate that the regime is avoiding direct confrontation with resistance forces in Karen State, particularly in battles south of Kawkareik Town. Instead, they are using drones, airstrikes, and heavy artillery. On July 4, junta forces conducted drone attacks on villages three miles from the town, injuring a man in Ywarthit Village.

  • PDF seized regime stations in Singu and Mattya townships, Mandalay Region

On July 4, local resistance forces launched an offensive and captured regime stations in Mattaya and Singu townships, Mandalay Region. The operation is part of the second wave of Operation 1027, initiated on June 25. The stations in Yenanttha Village, six miles north of Mattaya Town, were seized without ground combat despite regime artillery fire. In neighboring Singu Township, PDF forces also captured police and military stations in Latpanhla and Shwepyi villages.

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

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