THE DAILY BRIEFING
Tuesday, September 15, 2021
In face of mounting rumours that junta authorities are about to stymie Telenor’s sale to Lebanon’s M1 Group, Norwegian CEO, Sigve Brekke, has reiterated that the company will not go back on its plans to exit Burma. Telenor today released a statement saying its “continued presence” was “not possible” after the military requested it activate sanctioned “interception software”. Brekke took to Twitter to add that operating within the country was now against the company’s “values, human rights, [and] legal obligations.” Telenor added that it has “worked actively to avoid activation of intercept equipment” and “will not do so voluntarily”. The telecom had recommended the sale to M1 Group to safeguard the provision of service to its 18 million subscribers. Critics of the sale highlighted M1’s history of working with regimes that violate human rights.
Myanmar National Airlines (MNA), a state-owned airline, is facing “huge losses” with the state seeking a loan to keep the ailing company afloat. According to an article in state media, MNA revenues are down 85 percent since the start of COVID-19. Crew and craft cuts are to follow.
Australian economist Sean Turnell, held hostage by the junta since February, will soon stand trial in Naypyidaw. Turnell, an adviser to State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, is being held in Insein Prison on charges of violating the State Secrets Act.
The 11-member International Labor Organization (ILO) has called on international governments to support the National Unity Government (NUG) and to oppose the junta at the UN General Assembly. There has recently been a vocal debate between labor groups as to what course of action to take with regards to boycotting production during the coup (a DVB report on the issue follows soon).
Three boys, including two 10-year-old children, were shot dead yesterday in Myaing Township, Magway region. Local sources told DVB that soldiers shot one child dead whilst he was swimming, describing how another was tortured and set on fire inside his home. A 19-year-old was also killed.
A railway bridge was damaged this morning following an IED attack by an unidentified group. A resident of Thayaung Kaung, Sagaing Region, told DVB that they had heard troops were preparing to transport weapons along the line. Last week, a PDF group had expressed in an interview with DVB that bridges would soon be targeted as part of an expansion of operations in Sagaing.
Security forces today laid mines by a Mytel tower in Mogok, Mandalay Region, according to local residents who had been ordered by the military troops involved to evacuate their homes. PDF groups have destroyed approximately 100 military-owned towers across Burma in just over one week. Last week, DVB published a report which anticipated a strategic reply to the attacks from the Tatmadaw; mining telecoms towers appears to be the junta’s first stage plan to protect its company.
Yesterday, DVB reported how Mytel’s network had been almost entirely cut across Chin State. Following this, PDF Zoland and the Civic Defense Militia group claim to have destroyed a Mytel mobile transmission tower near Thuk Lai village, Tedim; to date, the groups claim to have destroyed five Mytel transmission towers in Tedim, one area of Chin State still partially receiving the Mytel network. Locals confirmed that mobile provision has now been cut.
A bomb detonated at Ocean in 9 Mile, Yangon, today. No group has taken responsibility for the blast—just off Yangon’s main arterial road, Pyay Road— in which nobody was injured. Early this morning, a clerk was reportedly injured after another device exploded at a ward administration office in Lower Kyeemyindaing Road.
10,000 counterfeit bank notes plus a stash of drugs were discovered by police in Meiktila following a raid. According to a local source, a laptop, printer, the counterfeit notes, and a quantity of stimulants were removed from the house by police. On September 5, a wealth of counterfeit K10,000 banknotes were found to have entered into circulation in a village near Ye, Mon State.
Approximately 1,171 armed clashes occurred across Burma from June 1 to August 31, leading to the deaths of 1,710 military personnel and 431 civilians, according to estimations provided by the NUG based on the analysis of 30 local media outlets.
Naypyidaw PDF claimed responsibility for an attack in Burma’s capital on the afternoon of September 14, after a police lieutenant colonel was shot dead. The PDF claimed it was in response to excessive inspections carried out by security forces at a checkpoint in Leway township. On September 4, PDF fighters claimed to have killed over a dozen soldiers in an ambush in Pyinma, on the edge of the capital. Aside from this, there have been only sporadic cases of violence against junta forces in the military town.
The LGBT Union of Mandalay was formed yesterday with the intention of using the momentum from LGBT protest groups to forward the cause of LGBT and human rights during the Spring Revolution, a spokesperson of the group told DVB. The group will first focus on providing support for those in the LGBT community in detention or partaking in Burma’s CDM campaign. According to figures released by the NUG, as of June 30 there were 12 recorded LGBTIQ deaths; 73 people had been arrested and/or charged under 505 (A) (65 are still detained); and 28 either in hiding or having fled to liberated areas. There have been numerous reports of LGBT people being singled out for torture and explicit sexual harassment by security forces following their detention.
The Tatmadaw has occupied large areas of the capital of Kayin State, Hpa-An, according to local reports. Residents said that the military yesterday deployed soldiers and militias of former servicemen to most wards within the town. Kayin State has suffered disproportionately in violence, internal displacements, and bombings since the February coup.
The KIA and an estimated 200 junta troops have been engaged in battle along the Tanai-Shin Bway Yang Road in the far north of the country since 6 a.m. this morning, according to reports. As yet we have no information on casualty numbers.
10 soldiers were killed yesterday after skirmishes between Kanpetlet, Chin State, and Saw, Magway Region, the Chinland Defence Force (CDF) said. This morning, heavy fighting once again broke out between the CDF and junta troops. Saw PDF, who later reinforced the CDF, said that casualty numbers could not be confirmed.
An NLD executive from Magway’s Salin township was shot dead after security forces raided his home yesterday. The military have yet to comment on the death. Since NLD executives in Salin were added to the junta’s Section 505 list, five other members have been arrested, according to locals.
At least two soldiers were killed yesterday in a landmine attack in Myaung, Sagaing, Myaung PDF said.
Around 10 youths from Kachin’s Hopin township were yesterday detained by security forces, according to local sources. The reasons for the abduction and the whereabouts of the youths remains unclear.
A woman from Pauk township, Magway, was assassinated yesterday after being abducted by an unidentified group. The circumstances surrounding the killing remain unclear.
A suspected military informant was shot dead in Magway’s Htee Lin township last night, according to local sources. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the assassination.