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Australian Federal Police maintains ties with junta police, Justice for Myanmar calls on Australia to cease cooperation with junta

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Australian Federal Police maintains ties with the junta’s police 

Australian Federal Police (AFP) continue to share intelligence with the junta’s police force in an attempt to combat drug trafficking, according to the Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Australian Senator Jordan Steele-John questioned the AFP over its arrangement with its counterparts in Burma. The AFP commissioner Reece Kershaw claimed that the engagement with Burma’s junta was critical as the amount of drugs entering Australia was a national security issue. The AFP claims that 70 percent of all methamphetamine entering Australia comes from Burma. 

Whistleblower group Justice for Myanmar (JFM) called on Australia to cease all cooperation with the junta. “The Myanmar police are part of the military cartel that commits crimes against humanity and enriches itself from money laundering, drug trafficking and human trafficking,” said Yadanar Maung, the spokesperson at JFM. While Australia has scaled back its diplomatic relationship with Burma since the 2021 coup, it has yet to impose sanctions on junta officials. Drug production has soared in Burma since the military tried to seize state power. Analysts have long claimed that the Burma Army and its proxies are involved in the country’s illicit activities, including drug trafficking. 

News by Region

AYEYARWADY—A bomb blast occurred near a Tazaungdaing festival held in Pathein city on Nov. 8. The event was attended by regime officials to celebrate the full moon day of Tazaungmone on the Burmese calendar. The explosion was reported 10 minutes after regional junta minister Tin Maung Wain gave an opening speech. “All people [who participated in the event] ran away when the explosion occurred. I am just watching them…The security is very tight,” a witness told DVB. No casualties have been reported.

KACHIN—The junta’s security forces are now charging Bhamo town residents  K200,000 ($95 USD) to have their seized motorcycles returned to them. It was reported that more than 100 motorcycles and 30 cars were taken. “All those who did not have a driver’s license, motorcycle mirrors, helmets were arrested,” a local told DVB. Another local said the forces are practicing extortion “while people are struggling to make ends meet.”

SAGAING—Families of 14 people killed by the Burma Army in Koetuangboet village tracts of Kanbalu Township are unable to locate their remains. Eighteen people were arrested on Nov. 3, and four were released. “Among those arrested is an 8th grade student [18-year-old]. The arrest was made by [the Burma Army] 363 Infantry Battalion based in Koetaungboet,” a local told DVB. The victims are all male in their 20s and 30s. According to locals, the victims were tortured and were forcefully exposed to the hot sun all day. The Burma Army refused to turn over the remains to the families. Regime media have yet to comment on the murders.

A woman was killed and three, including a child, were injured by an artillery shell fired by the Burma Army on a village located in Wetlet Township on Nov. 7. “The shell dropped on their house. The wife was killed. Her husband and child were seriously injured. An elder was injured as well. It happened while the entire family was home,” a local told DVB. A 13-year-old boy and an elderly woman were killed in a similar attack in Kanbalu Township on Nov. 3.

The resistance group Chindwin Attack Force (CAF) claimed that six of its members and 17 Burma army troops were killed in a battle in Monywa Township on Nov. 6. It sait it launched a joint attack with resistance forces against a Burma Army camp. The CAF claimed that it had seized firearms and  ammunition from the Burma Army. Six resistance members were killed after the Burma Army retaliated with heavy weapons, a CAF spokesperson told DVB. “Four comrades were killed by a sniper while retreating because they didn’t have enough ammunition. The other two were arrested, and then killed after they refused to talk during military questioning,” he added. The resistance group alleged that the Burma Army used chemical weapons in the attack. A claim that has not yet been verified by DVB.

YANGON—Two explosions occurred at an industrial zone and at a township electricity office in Dagon Township on Nov. 8. No casualties have been reported. Another explosion was reported in Dawbon Township on Nov. 7. Five people have been killed and four have been injured by attacks in Yangon so far this month.

DVB PICKS—Anthony Davis, a Bangkok-based security consultant and analyst with extensive knowledge about armed conflicts across Asia, writes for Asia Times about how the transition from guerrilla to semi-conventional tactics could spell defeat for the anti-junta resistance forces in Burma. 

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