Daily Briefing: Friday, August 26, 2022

Daily Briefing: Friday, August 26, 2022

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Junta arrests former British ambassador and renowned painter. Vicky Bowman, a former British Ambassador to Burma, was arrested by the military along with her husband Htein Lin on Wednesday. The British Embassy in Burma expressed concerns about Bowman and her husband being detained. “We are concerned about the arrest of a British woman in Burma and we are working with the relevant local authorities to provide assistance,” a spokesperson of the embassy told DVB. The couple was arrested at their home in Yangon. Bowman served as the British Ambassador to Burma from 2002 to 2006, has lived in the country for many years and runs Myanmar Center for Responsible Business (MCRB), an organization that promotes ethical business practices in Burma. MCRB relies in part from donors from Western countries. Htein Lin is a renowned artist as well as former activist and political dissident. | BURMESE  

Irrawaddy Burmese photojournalist sentenced to three years in prison. Zaw Zaw (Diana), a former photojournalist of Irrawaddy Burmese who is being detained in Mandalay’s Obo Prison, received three years of imprisonment by a prison court on Wednesday, according to sources from the court. He was arrested at his home on April 10 and was charged under Sec. 505(a) on May 6. It is reported that he was interrogated at Nandwin interrogation camp for more than a month and sent to Obo Prison. | BURMESE 

Participants in the famous 8888 umbrella protest were beaten and arrested by security forces. A freelance photographer and a member of Yangon People’s Strike were taken to an interrogation camp and are in a life-threatening situation. A student from SMVTI Vocational Training Institute and a member of Yangon People’s Strike was arrested after his house in Tamwe township was raided by the military on the night of Aug. 10. On the same day at midnight, freelance photographer Sit Min Naing was also taken after his house in Mayangone Township was raided by junta troops. Soldiers also seized a camera, two computers and K2 million (US$958). The detained individuals participated in the famous umbrella strike in Yangon to commemorate the anniversary of the 8888 Uprising on Aug. 8. Yangon People’s Strike urged people to take care of their safety and to aid youths who seek temporary shelter as they have been facing “unjust arrests” due to information from junta supporters. In the past few days, security forces conducted a series of midnight inspections at some townships in Yangon and arrested youths. | BURMESE 

UN Special Envoy visits Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Refugees in a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh presented information to the UN’s special envoy about killings committed by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), an official of the Cox’s Bazar’s Kutupalong refugee camp told DVB. “The refugees told [the special envoy] about possible repatriations and about frequent murders in the refugee camps as well as cases of unjust killings by ARSA terrorists. They told her that the Bangladesh  government has not effectively protected anyone,” the official said.  Assassinations have frequently occurred in the refugee camps. There was a report that five Rohingya including two civil leaders – 40-year-old Syed Hussain and 35-year-old Abu Taleb – were killed by the ARSA on Aug. 11, 2022. In addition, it is also reported that Rohingya leader Mohib Ullah was killed by the ARSA in Sept. 2021. 

Noeleen Heyzer, the UN Special Envoy for Burma, visited Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh on Tuesday after meeting with the Burmese junta in Naypyidaw. During her four-day-trip in Bangladesh, she is slated to meet with Bangladesh officials, including the country’s foreign minister. Refugees said that the UN’s diplomat promised them she would spotlight their voices to Bangladesh officials. 

Five years ago, more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees were forced to flee to neighboring Bangladesh following the Burma Army’s genocidal campaign in the country’s western state and they are still unable to return to their original homes. By the end of September, more than 1,000 Rohingya refugees including at least 300 Hindus are expected to be repatriated to Rakhine State, and only 150 will be accepted per day, Hla Thine, the junta’s spokesperson for Rakhine State said. | BURMESE 

Aug. 25 marked the 25th anniversary of the Burma Army’s genocidal campaign against Rohingya.

Western embassies mark the fifth year anniversary of Rohingya Genocide. Western countries marked the fifth anniversary of the Burma Army’s genocidal campaign against the Rohingya. The Burma Army launched a violent crackdown against the Rohingya in Rakhine State five years ago in 2017. A joint statement was released by the EU, and the foreign ministers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, the UK and the US to commemorate the genocide. “We call on the military regime to ease its violence against those who have suffered under its rule, including the decades of grave human rights violations and abuses endured by Rohingya and other communities in Myanmar,” the statement said.

News by Region

RAKHINE —A woman was killed by a landmine while she was searching for her husband – who was missing in Aboundtha village, Paletwa Township – where fighting has escalated between the Burma Army and the Arakan Army (AA), the Rakhine-based news outlet Development Media Group (DMG) reported. Her husband, Khaing Aye, a principal of a Aboundtha village school, went missing on Aug. 21 after going to a forest near the village to search for bamboo shoots. “She died on the other side of the stream outside the village. Her husband went to the forest to find bamboo shoots at around 3 p.m. on Sunday evening. He has yet to come home. It is unknown what happened to him. The wife was worried and went to look for him, despite villagers trying to stop her [due to the fighting],” a resident told the news outlet. It is reported that the victim, 43-year-old Nan Longkham, died from serious injuries to her body and both her legs were blown off. Her body was discovered on the morning of Aug. 24. The missing husband has not yet been found. “Fighting is occurring in the area, so villagers didn’t dare to look for him,” the resident added. Similar incidents have been frequently reported in the area. The AA mentioned in a recent statement that the military has “recklessly and indiscriminately” planted landmines during previous battles, causing IDPs to not be able to return to their homes in Paletwa Township. “I am worried that he was wounded by a snake in the forest. I am also concerned that he was possibly captured by the groups [Burma Army and AA] in the forest,” the victim Nan Longkham expressed to DMG the day before her death.

SAGAING —Kawlin PDF claimed that 45 Burma Army soldiers were killed and another 17 were captured during a three-hour-long clash near Letkhoppin village, Kawlin District, on Aug. 23. No casualties have been reported from the resistance group. “45 were killed on the spot… and 17 others including Thet Naing Oo, Pyusawhti militia leader, were captured,” a member of the PDF told DVB. Ammunition is reported to have also been seized during the attack. Shortly after the battle, the military is said to have conducted an air-raid on Thitsaitgone village, west of the township, killing four civilians. “Two fighter jets dropped bombs, killing four locals including a pregnant woman. We later learned that a 6-year-old child was also among the dead. The area where the airstrike happened is not that close to where the battle took place. I think the military conducted the air-raid there because they thought that fighting was occurring in the area,” the member added. The junta has not yet acknowledged the claimed casualties and DVB was also unable to independently confirm the death toll. |  BURMESE