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Arakan Army Chief calls on military to surrender; NUG plans to attack Mandalay and Naypyidaw

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Arakan Army Chief calls on military to surrender

The Arakan Army (AA) Commander-in-Chief Twan Mrat Naing called for the surrender of all remaining military troops in Paletwa on Jan. 15, the day after the township came under AA control with the last remaining military outpost, Namada, seized on Jan. 14. 

“This is the result of the sacrifices and the bravery of our Arakan warriors,” the AA said in an online statement. It claimed that it now controls all outposts in Paletwa along with the township’s border checkpoints with India and Bangladesh. 

More than 40,000 residents have been displaced from their homes since the attacks started Nov. 13, 2023. “People are still afraid to return home and there are no people in the town,” said a Paletwa resident. Read more here

NUG plans to attack Mandalay and Naypyidaw

Kyaw Zaw, the National Unity Government (NUG) President’s Office spokesperson, claimed that it has prepared “systematic strategies” to attack the country’s capital Naypyidaw, its second biggest city Mandalay, and Pyin Oo Lwin, which hosts the military’s Defense Services Academy. 

“The [military] are scared and forbid their people to go outside in Pyin Oo Lwin. [It] and Mandalay are not very far and there are many paths to reach Naypyidaw. The military is collapsing,” said Kyaw Zaw. 

He added that Ethnic Resistance Organizations (EROs) and the People’s Defense Force (PDF) have also established a presence near Naypyidaw. At least 30 towns in five states and regions have been seized by anti-coup forces since the Brotherhood Alliance launched Operation 1027 in October 2023. 

Two Burmese singers arrested at nightclub in Malaysia

Malaysian police arrested singers A Mi Zan and Phuu Pwint Khaing after a performance at the Royce Luxury Night Club in Penang on Jan. 14 for working on a tourist visa. 

“Some of the people arrested in the raid have been released later but around 30 Burma nationals including the club owner and two singers have not,” said an unnamed Burma national living in Malaysia. 

It is illegal for tourists to work on a tourist visa in Malaysia. Both singers are being held by the authorities. More than 1,000 Burma nationals have been arrested in Malaysia since its most recent crackdown on undocumented migrants and refugees began in December.

News by Region

Aid workers provide assistance to civilians injured by the airstrike on Kanan village of Tamu Township Jan. 7. (Credit: CJ)

SAGAING—Aid workers in Tamu Township said that the 19 civilians who were injured in the airstrike on Kanan village, near the NUG-controlled town of Khampat, on Jan. 7 are unable to access a hospital for proper health care in the nearby town of Kalay due to the military’s presence. 

“We are in need of surgeons, medicine, and a proper place to conduct surgeries. We are trying our best,” said an aid worker. Seventeen civilians were killed and many buildings were destroyed by the airstrike on Kanan.

ARAKAN—Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated that the 600,000 Rohingya in Arakan State continue to be subjected to apartheid-like conditions. Of them, 140,000 have been confined to camps for a decade and are unable to return to their homes. 

Cyclone Mocha last May disproportionately affected the Rohingya, as the military did not adequately warn them about the storm nor provide shelter. A pilot scheme concocted with Bangladesh to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Arakan has used coercion and the U.N. says there are still no conditions for a safe and dignified return.

CHINLAND—Three resistance fighters were killed in Theingin village, Tedim Township. The Chinland Defense Force (CDF) has been attacking a military outpost since Jan. 12. “The [military] staged airstrikes and fired artillery shells. Many of them have also been killed,” said a CDF spokesperson. 

The CDF previously attacked the outpost on Dec. 7. Theingin village has over 700 residents and is located on the Kalay-Tedim-Falam road that connects northern and southern Chinland. It has been two months since the residents fled due to the ongoing clashes. 

MON—Around 400 Thaton Township residents have fled their homes to become Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) due to the military’s use of artillery. “People from 82 households were forced to flee by the shelling on Jan. 10. The Karen National Union is currently providing assistance,” said a volunteer who helps the IDPs. 

The KNU stated that clashes between the coalition forces led by the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and the military have been ongoing in Thaton, Kyaikmaraw and Bilin Township since November 2023. At least four homes were destroyed by artillery in Thaton.

Overseas Irrawaddy Association (OIA) launched a three-week sewing course at its Vocational Training Center in Mae Sot, Thailand on Jan. 15.

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