Daily Briefing: Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Daily Briefing: Tuesday, September 20, 2022

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

UNICEF offers vapid condemnation of a regime attack on Sagaing school that killed nearly a dozen children. UNICEF Myanmar expressed its “condolences to the parents and families of children” killed in a junta airstrike but refused to attribute responsibility to the regime in a statement posted on social media. “On 16 September, at least 11 children died in an air strike and indiscriminate fire in civilian areas, including a school in Tabayin Township, Sagaing Region,” the statement said. However, the post made no reference to the Burma Army. UNICEF’s statement also claimed that 15 students from the school are still missing and that details of the incident are still being verified. The Burma Army launched a helicopter attack on a monastic school in a village in Tabayin Township in Sagaing on Sep. 16 that killed 11 children and left many more injured. Junta media accused resistance forces of occupying the school. The UN organization earlier came under fire from activists after the junta released pictures on state media of the Representative of UNICEF Myanmar Marcolugi Corsi presenting his credentials to the regime’s Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin last June. 

Burma Army arrests dozens of Rohingya in Pathein. Security forces arrested 31 Rohingya and five smugglers near a beach in Pathein Township, Ayeyarwady Region, according to Radio Free Asia. A local said that junta troops arrested 19 Rohingya men and 12 women and that children were among the detained. They also claimed that the Rohingya came from Rakhine State and might have fled renewed fighting between the Burma Army and the Arakan Army (AA) in Maungdaw in northern Rakhine. The arrests come as security forces have made similar arrests of Rohingya in the last three months. Many Rohingya that flee by boat intend to make their way to Malaysia and other countries in the region. Nearly 800 Rohingya have been arrested by junta forces since December of last year, according to data collected by Radio Free Asia. 

News by Region

MANDALAY—Five family members, including two 13-year-old children, were murdered at a chicken farm in Pyin Oo Lwin Township’s Sikar village on Sept. 18. The victims were found dead with the wounds on their necks. “I have never heard of such an event in Pyin Oo Lwin before. I learned that they [the killers] didn’t take anything,” said a source close to the police. The motivation behind the killings is currently unknown.

SAGAING —Seven policemen were killed in a raid by an unidentified armed group on a police outpost in Masein village, Kalewa Township on Sep. 18, according to locals. “The outpost was burnt down and everything was reduced to ash,” a local told DVB. Win Maung, a member of a Burma Army-backed militia was also killed and his wife was seriously injured in an attack in Kalewa Township in Sagaing on the same day.

KARENNI—One civilian was killed and two others injured in the Burma Army’s heavy shelling against Karenni resistance groups in Loikaw Township on Sept. 17. During the fighting, the hall of a village church and civilian houses were also damaged, according to locals. Battalion 2 of the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) stated that one of its members and three Burma Army personnel were killed in the fighting.

KACHIN—An ethnic Lisu man from Myitkyina Township’s Alam Village was shot dead by the Burma Army on Sept. 18. His body was not returned to his family and was cremated shortly after his death. The incident took place while the Burma Army was conducting a search operation in and around Alam village for two of its soldiers who had disappeared.  According to residents, the victim was shot dead near his home on his way to the river. The reason behind the murder of the 30-year-old man, who is a father of two children, is currently unknown. Villagers expressed alarm that the village would be burnt down as the Burma army threatened to do so if the two missing soldiers were not found. “They also shot at the village with guns and issued an order that no one was allowed to leave the village,” a local told DVB. Informant Elimination Team, a local defense force based in Myitkyina, claimed responsibility for the killings of the two missing captains on social media.

RAKHINE—The United League of Arakan/Arakan Army (ULA/AA) spokesperson Khine Thu Kha said the ULA/AA will accept Rohingya refugees back from Bangladesh when it can establish a relationship with the international community “as a government.” He made the remarks at a ULA/AA press conference held on Sep. 19. His statement was in response to a reporter’s question about the repatriation of Rohingya. “The international community and the Bangladesh government need to recognize the ULA/AA as a government to address this issue. The Bangladesh government and powerful states in the world, including the UN, need to give full support and stand with the ULA. When this reality is achieved, the ULA/AA’s refugee repatriation policy will be officially announced and resolved in the form of a mutually acceptable solution based on justice and peace for long-term coexistence,” Khine Thu Kha said. Nearly one million Rohingya refugees have been unable to return to their homes in Burma due to successive ethnic cleansing campaigns conducted by the Burma Army. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled to Bangladesh following a genocidal campaign conducted by the Burma Army in 2017.  

At the same press conference, Khine Thu Kha also claimed that nearly 100 Burma Army personnel have defected to the AA since the military coup. The spokesperson added that the defectors were being “well taken care of” by the AA and he called on more Burma Army personnel to defect.