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ASEAN Foreign Ministers Discuss Peace in Burma without Junta, Ousted UEC Officials Released from Prison


ASEAN Foreign Ministers Discuss Peace in Burma without Junta

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers meeting at the Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia on Oct. 27 discussed how to obtain peace in Burma with a junta that refuses to abide by any rules and continues to attack and kill civilians. The most recent example is the airstrikes on Hpakant, Kachin State earlier this week that killed 60 and injured over 100. No representative from Burma was invited to the ASEAN talks. The junta has been barred from ASEAN meetings until it adheres to its Five-Point Consensus, which 505 civil society organizations in Burma want scrapped and replaced by recognition of the exile National Unity Government (NUG) formed by elected lawmakers ousted in the coup, ethnic minority and resistance groups, and pro-democracy political parties.   

Ousted UEC Officials Released from Naypyidaw Prison

Two former Union Election Commission (UEC) officials, chairperson Hla Thein and member Myint Naing, were released from Yamethin Prison on Oct. 26. “I don’t know why both of them were released. I don’t think it is because of the [planned 2023] election,” a source close to the junta told DVB. Hla Thein, Myint Naing and Than Htay, were sentenced to three years by a court in Naypyidaw Prison last July under Sec. 130 (A) of the Penal Code. The three UEC officials were convicted of exercising improper influence. Than Htay was not released. He’s being held at Mandalay’s Obo Prison. More than 500 former UEC staff have been arrested and charged with election fraud by the junta since last year’s coup.

Ultranationalist monk Wirathu re-emerges in post-coup Burma

Ashin Wirathu, a Buddhist monk banned from Facebook and jailed in Burma for spreading hate speech, re-emerged on Oct. 27 to hold a sermon to mark the Buddhist Kathina festival in Nattalin Township’s Sinthaykone village, Bago Region. Wirathu’s sermon discussed the principles of the 969 Movement – a Buddhist ultranationalist group promoting hate toward Burma’s Muslims. It was attended by 25 locals and monks from the village and nearby areas. Read more here.

News by Region

KACHIN—A woman was killed and a child was injured by artillery shells in Bhamo town on Oct. 26. The shells were fired by Burma Army troops in Man Khun village. “A military base near Bhamo airport fired 18 shells. It was really loud. I think they fired over the mountains near Momauk Township, but ended up killing and injuring civilians,” a Bhamo resident told DVB. Fighting has escalated between the Burma Army and local defense forces near Longja mountain and Nam Sai village since Oct. 22.

KACHIN—The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) imposed a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in Hpakant Township since Oct.25. The curfew is in response to the Burma Army inspecting pedestrians in the township. After the A Nang Pa airstrikes that killed over 60 civilians including KIA officers, businesspeople and Kachin artists on Oct.23, the Burma Army blocked roads inside and outside of Hpakant town and inspected passersby as well as vehicles and mobile phones.

KARENNI—A 7-year-old boy was killed and four other children were injured by an artillery shell fiin Loikaw Township’s Pekingkawkhu Village on Oct. 27.  The boy is  said to have been killed instantly while he was riding a bicycle. “The heavy shell fell inside our village…I don’t know whether the four others will survive,” a villager told DVB. The Burma Army reportedly shelled the village earlier that day, injuring three more villagers.

KAREN—A Burma Army outpost was seized by the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) in Kyain Seikgyi Township on Oct. 25. Seventeen Burma army troops were captured along with weapons and ammunition, according to the KNLA. It has been reported that 13 Burma Army troops defected to the KNLA during the battle.

RAKHINE—The Arakan Army (AA) attacked and torched a Burma Army border outpost near Changkhali village in Rathedaung Township. The Burma Army is reported to have carried out a counterattack shortly after and shelled nearby villages. “Heavy shells fired by the Burma Army landed in Changkhali village and other nearby villages, forcing villagers to flee at night,” a displaced local told DVB. No casualties have been reported yet. “We couldn’t take anything. We did not even have dinner. Those are the conditions we ran away in,” another said.

SAGAING—Protests in solidarity with the victims of the Hpakant Massacre were held in some townships of Sagaing Region. Demonstrators held Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) flags and a banner reading: “Let’s turn the grief for A Nang Pa into a force to speed up the revolution.”

A ceremony was held to mark the one-year anniversary of the founding of the Myaung Women Warriors (M2W) in Myaung Township on Oct.26 at its headquarters. The NUG Deputy Minister of Women, Youths and Children Affairs Ei Thinzar Maung attended the event via Zoom. M2W is a resistance force composed of women. The group is active in Myaung Township. “In Upper Burma, where conservative values are strong, women are able to form a battalion just like men to defeat the enemy [the military junta]. M2W is the only all-female battalion working for the NUG,” M2W stated. M2W was formed in October 2021. It participates in missions with other local defense forces.

YANGON—A man with alleged connections to security forces was killed near Obo market in Twante Township on Oct. 26. An unidentified gunman shot the victim three times. “He was a broker who worked for [legal] cases. So he had connections with police officers as well as soldiers. He might have been killed because of that,” a resident told DVB. Security forces secured the area and inspected passersby following the attack. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the incident.


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