Daily Briefing: Monday, September 26, 2022

Daily Briefing: Monday, September 26, 2022

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Resistance forces assassinate retired high ranking general in Yangon. Retired General Ohn Thwin and his son-in-law were killed in front of their home in Hlaing Township on Sept. 24. “They were shot dead on the spot by two men in a car behind them,” a resident told DVB. Local resistance group, the Inya Urban Force, accused the general of “encouraging brutal acts against the people and advising to conduct the military coup.” This is one of the most high-profile assassinations carried out by resistance forces since the armed uprising against the coup.

Verdict for Sean Turnell to be announced this week. The verdict for Sean Turnell, an Australian economist and advisor for the NLD administration, is expected at his next court hearing on Sep. 29, according to a source close to the court. Turnell’s trial is being held at a special court in Naypyidaw Prison and both sides gave their final arguments on Sep. 22. Turnell was charged under Sec. 3(1)(c) of the Official State Secrets Act and Immigration Law.

Burma’s parallel government expresses its solidarity with Rakhine. The National Unity Government (NUG) said it stands with the people of Rakhine “who face the risk of war due to the terrorist actions of the Burma Army.” Clashes between the Arakan Army (AA) and the Burma Army have displaced families in Rakhine’s Maungdaw and Chin’s Paletwa townships since July. The fighting has spread to Rathedaung, Buthidaung, Mrauk-U and Kyauktaw townships. “The NUG stands together with all Arakanese. Most ethnic armed organizations have joined with us to fight for the revolution. We also held discussions with the  ULA/AA for further cooperation. We would like to join with all EAOs including the AA to end the dictatorship as soon as possible,” Kyaw Zaw, spokesperson of NUG president’s office told DVB.

Bangladesh alerts citizens living near Burma to evacuate. Bangladesh authorities alerted its citizens living near the Burma border to evacuate due to escalating clashes between the Arakan Army (AA) and the Burma Army. Bangladeshis living near the border have been receiving evacuation notices since Sep. 20. “Authorities notified us via loudspeakers. Clashes between the AA and Burma Army might intensify on the Burma side. Artillery may land on our side when the Burma Army launches air raids. That is why we were informed to move away from the border,” a Bangladeshi living near the border told DVB. One man was killed and another five were injured by artillery landing in Bangladesh territory on Sep 16. Another man lost his leg after stepping on a landmine planted by the Burma Army at the zero-line, a buffer zone on the border between Burma and Bangladesh. “People who live in the zero-line zone face many difficulties. It is not easy to go shopping on the Bangladesh side as we will face questioning. Now, they did not inform anyone living in the zero-line zone, everyone will die if the heavy shells drop down. We are not recognized by both governments. It is like we are not even human,” a man living in the area said. The zero-line buffer zone is home to over 4,600 Rohingya refugees who fled Burma during the army’s genocidal campaign in 2017.

News by Region

BAGO—The KNU announced on Sept. 23 that a local man was killed by a landmine planted by the Burma Army in Kyun Pin Sate village. This is in the KNU’s Mone Township administrative area. It claimed that the incident happened on Sept. 22 on a road locals use to commute daily to and from work. The victim is said to be Saw Arhtrawmuu, 25, a father of two.

YANGON—Two men were arrested after bombs were discovered at an administration office on Maydawi Road, in North Okkalapa Township on Sep. 22. After the three explosives were discovered two men were beaten and arrested by police, according to local sources. “When security forces checked the bombs, two young men wearing black T-shirt passed by the front of the office. They were beaten and loaded in a vehicle by the security personnel. I don’t know who they are,” the source told DVB. The bombs were later transported in three military vehicles and detonated at a football field. An explosion occurred near a police station in North Okkalapa Township on Apr. 16.

NAYPYIDAW—The junta held a meeting in Pubbathiri Township on Sept. 21 to discuss preparations for a new election. The junta-appointed Union Election Commission (UEC) is planning to hold the election in 2023. “Who would be interested in an election when people’s livelihoods are at stake? Who would believe that the junta’s election will be fair and square? So, no one is interested in them,” a resident told DVB. The junta wants to change Burma’s electoral system to proportional representation. This would give military-backed parties a better chance at securing seats in parliament. The National League for Democracy won a landslide in 2015, and again in 2020. It is unknown whether it would be allowed to contest any new election. Its members have been jailed, killed or forced into exile. 

The junta’s Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) instructed its members in Naypyidaw to raise USDP flags at their homes. The USDP will hold an assembly in Naypyidaw from Oct. 4 to 6 and preparations for the meeting are currently underway. “We as campaigners have been instructed to raise flags at the houses [of party members], but I think it is not a good time to do that. I don’t know what others think but I am not ok with it,” a USDP member in Naypyidaw told DVB. The USDP will appoint new officials to key leadership positions in October. According to local sources, security in Naypyidaw has tightened as more inspections are taking place across the city. Some USDP members speculated that tight security in Naypyidaw may have been enacted for reasons other than the party’s meeting.

RAKHINE—Intense fighting between the Burma army and the Arakan Army (AA) continues. Heavy weapons were used in Kyauktaw and Minbya Townships on Sept. 25, causing damage to homes and shops. In Sittwe Township, a curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. has been imposed since Sept. 24. A fierce battle was also reported in Chin’s Paletwa Township, where the Burma Army carried out an airstrike, according to the AA. 

Families displaced from their homes in Maungdaw Township said they had not yet received any assistance from the Red Cross. “[We received] support in early August, when IDPs started arriving. But, in September, until today, there is no support. Humanitarian assistance is needed for IDPs,” a local Buddist monk told DVB. The junta has severely limited the activities and movements of humanitarian aid agencies in Rakhine State’s six townships since Sept. 16.

A total of 38 soldiers from a military base in Kyauktaw, Rakhine State defected to the United League of Arakan/ Arakan Army (ULA/AA) on Sept. 22, according to the sources. “They brought weapons and ammunition,” the source said. The AA spokesperson, U Khaing Thu Kha, said that hundreds of Burma Army troops have defected to the AA with their weapons. He added that many others have reached out to the AA asking how to defect from their bases. There have been tens of thousands of Burma Army troops and police officers who have escaped their units and sought refuge with resistance forces after the coup.