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China Special Envoy meets with regime and EAO leaders

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

China Special Envoy meets with regime and EAO leaders

Min Aung Hlaing met China’s Special Envoy for Asian Affairs Deng Xijun in Naypyidaw on March 6, regime media reported. The two reportedly discussed the political situation in Burma as well as international cooperation and regional peace and stability. Deng Xijun visited the headquarters of the United Wa State Army (UWSA), the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), and the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) last month and wants China to play a role in “the holding of peace talks with ethnic armed organizations to ensure peace in border and interior areas.” 

Refugee rights leader arrested in Mae Sot

A Burmese refugee rights leader and member of Maesot Refugee Voice was arrested by the Thai police on March 6. Maesot Refugee Voice has conducted protests in various locations of Mae Sot to raise awareness about the situation faced by Burmese refugees in Thailand. “She contacted us as soon as she was detained, and she sent pictures. We have been told that she was brought to prison. We have already reached out to the UNHCR [UN Refugee Agency]. They said they were working on it,” Maesot Refugee Voice told DVB.

News by Region

BAGO—Five People’s Defense Force (PDF) members were arrested near Samanggyi village in Yedashe Township on March 6, regime media reported. The car the five PDF members were traveling in was carrying a large haul of weapons, according to the report. Regime media did not include the name of the PDF.

MAGWAY—Four Burma Army troops were killed by a landmine in Yesagyo Township on March 6, a local resistance group claimed. A police station in nearby Yenangyaung Township was attacked with explosives on March 5, another local resistance group claimed.

KACHIN—Nearly 24,000 tonnes of rare earth metals worth over $600 million USD were exported to China in 2022, according to the Institute for Strategy and Policy – Myanmar. ISP Myanmar cites data in its report from the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) that states illegal rare earth mining has been rampant since the military coup in northern Burma. ISP Myanmar states that it has expanded not only in areas controlled by regime forces, but also in territories controlled by the KIO. Environmental groups and international watchdogs, including Global Witness, have warned about the dangers of rare earth mining. 

KAREN—The Karen National Union (KNU) claimed that at least 3,000 residents were displaced from their homes in six villages located in KNU Brigade 3 territory, Kler Lwee Htoo district [Nyaunglebin district]. The Burma Army “deliberately fired heavy weapons into the villages” and three houses were destroyed in the attack, the KNU stated. 

RAKHINE—Four members of the Burma Army – No. 9 Border Guard Force (BGF) in Maungdaw Township – deserted on March 6, according to sources close to the BGF. “They fled towards the Arakan Army (AA). Since they also took weapons, the entire outpost is searching for them in earnest,” a source told DVB. Khaing Thukha, the AA spokesperson, said at a recent press conference that hundreds of soldiers from the Burma Army have defected to the AA. DVB could not independently verify any of these claims. 

SAGAING—A member of a pro-regime militia was shot dead in Kalay town on March 5, a local resistance group claimed. The pro-regime militia member was monitored for seven months before being murdered, the local resistance group stated.

TANINTHARYI—Five locals were injured when the Burma Army fired on a bus carrying 15 people in Yebyu Township. The bus was reportedly returning from Yebyu town after its passengers attended a football tournament. The bus driver refused an order to stop. “Four men and one woman were hit. Their names and ages are not yet known,” a local told DVB. 

Three residents of  Tanintharyi town were arrested and charged under the Counter-Terrorism Act on March 6. “The [Burma Army] visited the houses on the pretense of checking guest lists, and arrested locals if they felt suspicious about them,” a local told DVB. The three arrested and charged are allegedly PDF members.

YANGON—Illegal loan businesses have been operating in North Okkalapa Township since the coup. “We have to borrow because job opportunities are rare and we get little profit from selling our products. If you borrow K100,000 ($47.83 USD), you only get K85,000 ($40.66 USD). We have to pay every day. If we fail to pay, they come to our house with the gangs. We were verbally abused, and we have to pay another K15,000 ($ 7.18 USD) as a fine,” a loan recipient told DVB. Three incidents were reported of men beating loan borrowers after they failed to pay off the interest rates they accrued over the last two months. “A woman from the restaurant was beaten on the head. Even the administrators cannot intervene,” said a resident of North Okkalapa.

DVB PICKS—Check out the cover song “We Are the World” performed by Chinlung Chuak Artist, raising awareness about Burma’s Chin refugees who have fled to Mizoram, India for safety and security since the coup.

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