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At least two killed outside of Mandalay passport office; Min Aung Hlaing attends event in Yangon

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

At least two killed outside of Mandalay passport office 

Two women suffocated to death and three others were injured in a crowd crush that occurred as a queue of 1,000 people waited at a passport office in Aung Myay Thasan Township of Mandalay on Feb. 19. 

A rescue worker told AFP that the two women died after falling into a ditch. “There were five people injured in the stampede and we were sent to hospital in time. But two of them died and the others are still hospitalized,” said an unnamed official from the rescue group. 

Applications for passports and visas to travel abroad have surged since the regime announced the enforcement of its conscription law on Feb. 10. The law requires men aged 18 to 35 and women aged 18 to 27 to serve up to two years in the military or up to five years in prison. 

Min Aung Hlaing attends event in Yangon

Min Aung Hlaing attended a Lunar New Year celebration at a stadium in Yangon on Feb. 18, regime media reported. He praised China’s economic and foreign policies and expressed “gratitude” for Beijing’s support on the international stage.

The regime leader met with China’s ambassador to Burma, Chen Hai, during the event. Min Aung Hlaing added that he supports Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative projects and affirmed support for the One China Policy. 

Ties between Beijing and Naypyidaw have been strained since the regime was unable to shut down cyber scam centers along the China border. Fighting between the military and the Brotherhood Alliance in northern Shan State led to artillery landing inside China. Beijing brokered a ceasefire last month. 

National Unity Government engaging with China

The National Unity Government (NUG) Foreign Minister Zin Mar Aung spoke to German public broadcaster DW on the sidelines of the 2024 Munich Security Conference Feb. 16-18. She also participated in a panel discussion called Rebels With a Cause: Voices of Civil Resistance.

“I think this time China is practically engaging both sides because the Chinese leadership realizes who is losing and also who is the real actor who can bring stability [to] our borders and regions,” said Zin Mar Aung.

She added that the military regime needs to accept that it is losing ground to resistance forces and begin to reform outside of politics as the people of Burma no longer want it involved in a “future Myanmar” under a federal democratic union.  

Weekly Cartoon: The military regime enforced its conscription law on Feb. 10 as it faces losses, surrenders, and desertions on the battlefield.

News by Region

ARAKAN—All 66 passengers on a plane from Yangon were arrested at Kyaukphyu Airport on Feb. 18. “My son is a student and returned from Yangon and he is not involved in any politics. They are not allowing me to see him and have forbidden me from providing food,” said the mother of one detained passenger.  

An unnamed source close to the Kyaukphyu administration said that authorities are questioning the passengers about their occupations and searching their mobile phones. The regime has only allowed students, government employees and people with poor health conditions to fly between Yangon and Kyaukphyu since Feb. 15.

KACHIN—Six civilians were killed by airstrikes in Mansi Township since resistance forces launched an attack on a military outpost in Si Kham Gyi village on Feb. 17. “Many residents are stuck as nobody is allowed to enter three miles from the village. People from other villages that are close to the clashes are also fleeing to the forest,” said a Mansi resident. 

The Kachin Independence Army (KIA), People’s Defense Force (PDF), and Arakan Army (AA) took control of the outpost on Feb. 19. Many Burma Army personnel and two resistance fighters were killed in the fighting. The military arrested ten residents from Si Kham Gyi. 

SHAN—Two civilians, including an infant, were killed and seven were injured by artillery shells fired at two villages of Hsihseng Township on Feb. 17. “We had no time to flee when an artillery shell landed on a house and killed a child and injured the parents,” said a Htanyan villager. 

One man in Titam village was also killed by the shelling. Two homes were destroyed by the attacks and more than 2,000 residents have become displaced in Hsihseng Township. Pa-O National Liberation Army (PNLA) spokesperson Khun Rein Yan urged civilians to dig bomb shelters. 

Monekoe residents said that 15 families sheltering at a former pro-regime militia outpost in Monekoe were evicted by the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) on Feb. 17. “They requested the MNDAA to give more time to move as their houses are still being rebuilt,” said a Monekoe resident. 

The families are residents of Namha and Kaunglon villages in Monekoe Township who lost their homes during clashes between the MNDAA and the military in 2022 and 2023. Locals claimed that the MNDAA plans to station troops inside the outpost. It seized control of Monekoe in November. 

Read our op-ed: Humanitarian Dialogue – Discreet or Cowboy Diplomacy? Part 3. DVB English News is on X, FB, IG, Threads & TikTok. Subscribe on YouTube. Follow our Podcast.

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