THE DAILY BRIEFING — NOVEMBER 11, 2021

THE DAILY BRIEFING — NOVEMBER 11, 2021

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Junta sends wives and children of troops to bloody Chin frontlines —It is being reported that the military has sent the families of soldiers to the frontlines in Mindat, as a CDF leader said that 75 military vehicles had entered the town last night. Since November 1, the CDF has performed a series of intermittent attacks against the military, killing a reported 70 soldiers in ten days. A CDF official stated that his group had been unaware that military families had been victims of convoy bombings, and had been disturbed to hear women crying during recent fighting.

Meanwhile, the Chin Human Rights Organization has said that a further nine homes have been razed by the military in Thantlang over the past two days. The group posted a video that purports to show fires burning in the town tonight. Over 200 homes were recently burned down in the town in what has been credibly shown to be a planned attack by the junta.

New conflict in Rakhine runs into third day, already mirky —Clashes continued in Rakhine this morning near Nga Yan Chaung village to the north of Maungdaw township. The reports come after residents of Wela Taung village said that they had heard sustained gunfire last night, meaning that fighting has now been reported in the area for three consecutive days. Residents of a nearby village said that they have seen reinforcements rolling into the area, and that heavy artillery was being stationed at Tatmadaw bases.

A more straightforward press conference yesterday saw AA spokesman Khaing Thukha confirm (despite his original reticence) that clashes had broken out between the military and the Arakan Army on November 9. He also confessed that regional tensions were on the rise and that, as a result, both sides were, rather cryptically, “negotiating via intermediaries”. However, before the AA had made its comments, junta spokesperson Zaw Min Tun told Radio Free Asia that his troops were actually engaged in fighting with the Islamist Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (who would have bet that even this page from the old hymn sheet would make a return during the 2021 conflict?) and that, hence, there was nothing to see here. Despite the AA’s claims, a scan of social media comments suggest that the military’s version of events appears to have taken root not just amongst Tatmadaw fans, but also amongst many within Rakhine itself. There is always, of course, the possibility that all three forces are currently battling in the region.

Firmly suggesting that the skirmishes were never going to be providing the Tatmadaw with the anti-ARSA propaganda footage that it has historically craved, the junta reportedly cut telecom lines to around 100 villages in northern Maungdaw on Wednesday morning. DVB has been told that connectivity has now been restored. 

Junta pushes ahead with scheme to appropriate most of Burma’s homes —After reporting yesterday that the military had sealed off the homes of four of Magway’s NLD representatives, it has come to light that a large number of the region’s other cadres have now had properties commandeered by the junta. In addition to those listed yesterday, a house owned by NLD’s Saku township vice-chairman, Min Min Soe, plus a Magway shop and home belonging to NLD member Zaw Moe, and a Myothit onion warehouse and home owned by Zaw Lin have also been sealed off. Witnesses said items from a shop run by Min Min Soe were seen being lifted to the military’s 88th Division in army trucks. Nine properties were said to have been taken from NLD members on Tuesday alone. All men in question are currently in hiding.

Elsewhere, a home belonging to Ko Htwe Ngal was sealed off in Bago’s Thayawady township yesterday after troops had vandalised the premises the day before. Ten different properties; including homes, storefronts, clinics and private schools, were appropriated by the junta in Ayeyarwady’s Pathein and Maubin townships yesterday. Our reports suggest that over 50 buildings, including the home of the ousted Chief Minister Mahn Johnny, are said to have been sealed off in Ayeyarwady Region since early November.

Tanintharyi CM latest NLD head to be sentenced —The deposed chief minister of Tanintharyi Region has been sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison, sources close to the politician have confirmed. Myint Maung, who was also acting NLD secretary for Tanintharyi, had been placed under house arrest at the ministers’ residence in Myeik on the day of the coup. A military tribunal found him guilty on three charges; handing him two years imprisonment under Section 505(b) of the Penal Code, another two years under Section 25 of the Disaster Management Law and a further seven years under Section 409 of the Penal Code (the misallocation of development funds). The sentencing comes just two days after the deposed chief minister of Kayin State, 69-year-old Nang Khin Htwe Myint, was handed a 75 year sentence by a military court.

Security Council sticks to the script —The UN Security Council has released a guarded statement following its recent private session on Burma. The group reiterated its humanitarian concerns and encouraged cooperation between its new Special Envoy and ASEAN. It is worth noting, however, that no party was identified by the UN as an aggressor, and no specific mention was made of the current military buildup and escalating conflict in the northwest of Burma. The NUG this evening released a counter-statement saying that it “remains adamant that an open Plenary Meeting is required given the escalating scale and gravity of military atrocities in Myanmar and their implications to regional and international peace and security,” whilst acknowledging the start of the military’s Operation Anawrahta and quoting the Special Rapporteur when saying “we are very likely on the eve of yet another catastrophe”.

More monetary madness as CBM slaps controls on forex —The Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) yesterday announced that forex trades within the country must adhere to an exchange rate that is no larger or smaller than 0.5 percent of its reference rate. The CBM said that it would act on those ignoring its new ruling. Following the CBM’s setting of its reference rate at  K1775:US$1, kyat/dollar rates fell from ~K1925:US$1 to K1775:US$1 (buy) and from ~K1945:US$1 to K1783:US$1(sell). Critics of the move, including EU Ambassador, Ranieri Sabatucci, pointed out that such a policy inexorably lead to an increasing amount of forex being traded in the shadow banking system; which is, of course, the exact opposite of what the SAC desires.

Junta presence at ASEAN get-togethers continues to divide —The US-based IMA is the latest group to withdraw from ASEAN’s Federation of Accountants conference in protest of the participation of the junta’s auditor general, Accounting Today and Justice for Myanmar announced. Australia’s CPA and CA ANZ earlier declined invitations. 

In other ASEAN news, the junta’s Defence Minister, Gen. Mya Tun Oo, and head of its Dept. of Int. Affairs, Zaw Naing Win attended an informal ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Retreat yesterday, in which they participated in bilateral talks with reps from S. Korea and Australia. Although informal, the invitations provide further legitimacy (and propaganda material) to the junta, especially when placed in the presence of two countries outside of the bloc.

Thailand to reopen borders, vaccinate migrant workers —Thailand has announced that it will allocate 500,000 vaccines to migrant workers from Myanmar as it reopens to compensate for a national labor shortage, News 18 reported. A government minister said that workers from Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar will be allocated visas and COVID-19 jabs allowing them to work in Thailand’s rubber and food processing industries from the beginning of December. It is hoped that the move will decrease the number of people from neighboring countries currently being smuggled into Thailand, of which there were 11,000 cases last month alone. This compares to only 1,456 over the same period last year. After yesterday reporting that 1,807 Burmese had illegally crossed over the Thai border last week, a further 101 others were today detained in Sai Yok, Kanchanaburi, according to the Bangkok Post.

Junta prepares to flog more conflict gemstones —The SAC has announced that it is to hold a gem fair on December 10, the second since the coup began. The sale of the conflict stones—that reportedly boast a 40 percent sales tax at the event—are a significant income-generator for the junta and its cronies: the first gem fair— which, according to the junta, generated around US$18 million in revenue—was held between April 1-10. The US Treasury imposed sanctions on the military’s gem industries in April, whilst the NUG has made statements urging the public not to participate. Ten Naypyidaw hotels have reportedly been booked up by the junta for those ready to directly fund mass murder.

NEWS IN BRIEF

The Military Council is preparing to enact an “anti-foreign interference law”, according to notes published from a meeting between Min Aung Hlaing and the SAC in Naypyidaw on Tuesday. We currently have no further details on the proposed law’s content. A similarly titled bill that was recently passed in Singapore focuses on restricting internet access and providing authorities with user data.

NEWS BY REGION

AYEYARWADY —Thirty undocumented immigrants from northern Rakhine were arrested in Ayeyarwady’s Bogale township this morning. The detainees were said to have planned to migrate to Yangon’s Twantay township. In January, around 47 undocumented migrants, said to be from northern Rakhine, were later detainted in Ayeyarwady region. 

BAGO —An attack on a military checkpoint on the Yangon-Pyay Highway in Gyobingauk led to a deputy police chief being seriously injured this morning, according to a Gyobingauk  PDF leader.  The PDF said that it had also opened fire on troops deployed at the township’s football stadium last month, causing injuries to a number of soldiers.

MAGWAY —The Yaw Defense Force claims that it killed 12 soldiers in Gangaw township yesterday afternoon. Statements from the group suggest it has been responsible for over one hundred soldier deaths this week.

MAGWAY —Local resistance groups “No Chair” and Beikthano PDF attacked both Magway’s Regional Development Office and the city’s Regional Education Office with hand grenades this morning. The groups said they aimed to warn civil servants against collecting taxes and pressuring CDM teachers.

MANDALAY —A ward office in Chanmyatharzi that was being rebuilt after being gutted by fire on May 10 has been hit with two explosions. The blasts in Myay Nanda ward, between 114th and 115th Street, are said to have injured the local administrator. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the blasts.

MANDALAY —Four bombs exploded at Ye Oo Gyi High School in western Mogok this afternoon. Unconfirmed reports suggest that three soldiers were killed in the attack, and that the school was being attended by non-CDM teachers and a small number of students. No civilians were injured in the bombing.

NAYPYIDAW —An explosion occurred in a municipal office on the top floor of the city’s main Myoma market yesterday. There have been no immediate reports of injuries or casualties. Naypyidaw PDF claimed responsibility shortly after the blast. The group also said it had carried out a bombing at the Uttara Thiri electricity office in Chin village on November 6.

SAGAING —Sagaing PDF told residents of Sagaing Region that they will be punished for buying and selling military products, including: Myanmar Beer, Adman Gold, Dagon Beer, Red Ruby cigarettes, and goods from Denko and BOC petrol stations. The PDF said it will take action against those who fail to comply by November 31, including forcing the closure of businesses.

SAGAING —Soldiers are reported to have razed homes in Shaukkha, Ayadaw township, after four suspected military informants were killed in the village. This morning, a USDP member was also assassinated. The entire village has fled, and has thus far been unable to report the extent of the damage.

SAGAING —Three people were injured yesterday evening after troops fired at villages in Kani township from three helicopters. Airstrikes were also reported in Kawlin and Kyunhla townships. The military has cut communication lines to the areas. 

SAGAING —Six  soldiers were reported to have been killed in a landmine attack led by a group called the Hlawtat Force 126 on the Monywa-Naunggyi Lake Road in Ayadaw township yesterday morning. In the evening, 40 others were said to have been injured after the Galun Nyi Naung Force led an attack near Baung Kya village. DVB has not independently confirmed this information.

YANGON —An unidentified armed group opened fire on a checkpoint operated by the Tatmadaw’s 5010 Tank Battalion in Hmawbi township this morning, killing one soldier and wounding another, according to sources close to the military. No arrests have yet been made in relation to the attack.


YANGON —An urban guerrilla group has told DVB that it was responsible for the detonation of two remote-controlled bombs at a school in South Dagon that was being camped by the military. Soldiers were reportedly injured in the blast.