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ASEAN Secretary-General and Special Envoy in Naypyidaw; Resistance groups hold press conference in Japan

ASEAN Secretary-General and Special Envoy in Naypyidaw

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn and Special Envoy Alounkeo Kittikhoun met with Min Aung Hlaing in Naypyidaw on Wednesday. 

Regime media reported that the three discussed Burma’s relationship with ASEAN as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Min Aung Hlaing reportedly mentioned the “implementation of a multi-party democracy.”  

Laos assumed the ASEAN chairmanship in January. Its first act was to appoint Alounkeo Kittikhoun, a former U.N. envoy, to the role of Special Envoy to Burma. He reportedly met with representatives from the National Unity Government (NUG) and Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) in mid-January. 

NUG blames military for escalating tension in Arakan State

The NUG Minister of Human Rights Aung Myo Min laid the blame for rising tensions between the ethnic Rakhine and Rohingya communities in Arakan State solely on the military and not the Arakan Army (AA).

“The military is the one who’s been masterminding this tension based on ethnicity [and] religion [that] has been emerging. They have no principle of truth. They will [say] whatever they want to prolong their power,” he added.

In March, the military was accused of staging Rohingya protests against the AA. In a social media post, the AA Commander-in-Chief Twan Mrat Naing referred to the Rohingya as “Bengali,” which is considered a slur. U.N. Human Rights Chief Volker Turk warned that escalating tensions may lead to civilian deaths in Arakan State.

Zaw Wai Soe, Saw Nimrod, Salai Thla Hei, and Luiz represented their respective resistance groups at a press conference in Tokyo on May 15. (Credit: DVB)

Resistance groups hold press conference in Japan

A press conference to discuss a federal democratic union of Burma was held in Tokyo, Japan on Wednesday. The NUG Minister of Health and Education Zaw Wai Soe, the General Secretary of the Chin National Front (CNF/CNA) Salai Thla Hei, the Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Department of the Karen National Union (KNU) Saw Nimrod, and the Secretary of the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) Luiz attended.

“There are over three million Internally Displaced Persons. Basic human needs such as education and health care are not being met. We would like to request Japan’s cooperation,” said Salai Thla Hei. 

Zaw Wai Soe called on Japan to provide cross-border humanitarian aid via resistance groups. The U.N. stated that there are nearly 2.9 million IDPs in Burma. Japan’s Parliamentary Vice-Minister Komura Masahiro met with leaders of the KNPP and KNU on Tuesday. 

News by Region

ARAKAN—The majority of hotels and guesthouses in Thandwe Township’s Ngapali Beach have closed due to fighting between the AA and Burma Army. “People stopped coming because of the fighting. Even the locals here are running away to Yangon,” a resident told DVB. At least 10 civilians were killed in a village of Thandwe on Tuesday. 

The AA stated that at least 20 civilians were injured and a hospital was damaged by an airstrike on Kyauktaw Township on Wednesday. “The military bombed a hospital and a school. [It] is openly committing war crimes,” a resident told DVB. The AA has captured Pauktaw, Minbya, Mrauk-U, Kyauktaw, Ponnagyun, Rathedaung, and Ramree, along with Paletwa Township of Chinland, since it launched its offensive on Nov. 13.  

KACHIN—Resistance forces led by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) seized control of a Nambyu military outpost in Namkhampa village of Tanai Township on Thursday. The KIA launched its attack on the outpost, which is located 32 km from Tanai town, on May 11. “The military has conducted two airstrikes so far,” said the KIA. Namkhampa village residents have been displaced from their homes since 2017. 

SHAN—The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) stated on Wednesday that it is firing all civil servants who were previously working under the regime administration in all TNLA-controlled areas of northern Shan State. It warned that it will investigate and arrest any civil servants who are suspected of “committing crimes.” 

“Some of the civil servants are also still working for the  regime. That’s why we issued the statement to warn them first,” said a TNLA officer. It has seized control of Namhsan, Namtu, Kutkai, Mantong, Namkham, Monglon and Mongngawt since the Brotherhood Alliance launched Operation 1027 on Oct. 27.  

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