Daily Briefing: Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Daily Briefing: Wednesday, August 31, 2022

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Thai police arrest alleged junta spies in Mae Sot. Thirty-eight undocumented Burmese nationals – including monks and nuns who worked as junta spies to investigate anti-regime groups – were arrested in Mae Sot, Tak Province on the Burma-Thailand border, the Thai news outlet Matichon reported. Thai authorities raided a three-story building in the city on Monday and arrested the individuals. The building was previously used as a COVID-19 quarantine center and was later rented to Burmese citizens. The 38 were sent to the Tak Province Immigration Police Department to await legal action. According to the outlet, many of the monks and nuns were sent by the regime to spy on revolutionary groups and some of them were going to travel to Bangkok. Matichon did not specify whether the spies were directly sent by the junta, and DVB was unable to independently verify the details of the story. Reports of the presence of military spies in Mae Sot have been circulating among the Burmese community in Thailand in the last several months.

Meiktila University Students Union’ chairperson sentenced to seven years in prison. A Meiktila court sentenced Ma Thae Su (aka Ma Juu), a former chairperson of Meiktila University Students’ Union, to seven years in prison. The student union announced that she was convicted following a nine-month trial and was charged under Sec. 53(a). She was arrested at her home on Nov. 22, last year after soldiers fired shots during her arrest. She is a teacher participating in the Civil Disobedience Movement but state media accused her of being a PDF leader. Her leg was broken after the arrest and she has not yet fully recovered, according to the union’s statement.

Junta leader meets with the leader of the RCSS. Min Aung Hlaing and Yawd Serk, Chairman of the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), met on Aug. 29 for a second round of “peace talks.” They discussed the implementation of federalism “compatible with geographical conditions, national characters and the culture of the nation,” state media reported. The junta leader and other officials led by Lt. Gen. Yar Pyae recently met with three other EAOs – Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO), Lahu Democratic Union (LDU) and Arakan Liberation Party (ALP). The regime is holding a second round of peace talks following the first meeting held between May and August. Despite the regime’s claimed overtures towards peace, fighting between the Burma Army and the Arakan Army and other armed groups has recently intensified, killing many.

NUG holds a virtual meeting with Rohingya leaders. Officials, including its acting president and Dr Sasa, held an online meeting with Rohingya leaders on Aug. 29. It is unknown how many Rohingya officials attended the meeting. The NUG’s Union Prime Minister Mann Win Khaing Than mentioned in the meeting that the NUG is “trying to create good conditions that are suitable for the repatriation of Rohingya people.” The parallel government also said it would bring justice to the Rohingya and try to provide equality under the law for the persecuted ethnic group. The NUG added that it has already promised to repeal or replace “oppressive laws”, including the 1982 Citizenship Act, which “violate human rights and cause discrimination.”

Latest developments in Rakhine State: Phone services in northern Maungdaw Township, where fighting is taking place, have been cut since the night of Aug. 29, according to residents. On Aug. 28, a truck that came to refuel MPT towers in northern Maungdaw Township is reported to have been captured by the Arakan Army (AA), with the armed group claiming the truck carried food for the military. “Access required to refuel the towers in the upper part of Kyain Chaung has been closed off. The AA seized the truck – which was traveling to refuel the towers – because the truck transported food for the military. However, it [the towers] has solar panels. If the sun shines, the battery will refill and services will return,” an MPT official told DVB. Intense fighting has been occurring in Rakhine State, killing at least four civilians. The AA had been attacking Burma Army positions on a strategic hill in Khamaungsate in northern Maungdaw for five days, but the AA had not yet captured it as of the afternoon of Aug. 30, residents explained.

“Fighting did not occur today [Aug. 30]. On the night of Aug. 29, the [Burma] army burned down a charity school near the strategic hill,” residents of Lay town – which is close to Khamaungsate – said. The strategic hill is said to be west of Khamaungsate town. It is reported that the AA attacked the hill to gain control of the Bangladesh-Burma border and establish bases in the area. “AA is stationed in the area of Waila hill on the Bangladesh-Burma border. The Burma Army does not want AA to occupy the area. Therefore, they launched an offensive. I believe the AA attacked the strategic hill in response to the offensive,” an observer studying Rakhine said. According to a source close to the AA, two of its personnel were killed and some were injured due a military air-raid. Neither the junta nor the AA have officially released information about casualties.

News by Region

YANGON —IED explosions occurred in two townships on Tuesday morning, injuring three pedestrians. An eyewitness told DVB that a home-made explosive device activated at the corner of a road in South Dagon Township, injuring three. Among them, a woman is said to be seriously injured. Similarly, a resident of Kyauktan said that there was a bomb blast at Kyauktan’s Thilawa Port, but no one was injured.