DVB Daily Briefing: Thursday, December 9, 2021

DVB Daily Briefing: Thursday, December 9, 2021

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Dontaw Update: at least 15 killed. Four more bodies including that of an 11-year-old child were found near Dontaw village in Salingyi Township, bringing  the total number of victims to at least 15 after troops burned ten people alive on Tuesday. The victims were identified as  Ko Nyan Po, Daw Win Kyi (60), Daw Than Shwe (80) and a child. The body of a 61-year-old was discovered in the same field as the vicitims of the burning with a gunshot wound to her neck.

The EU Ambassador moves out of Ne Win family mansion.  After years of criticism, the EU has moved its ambassador out of a lucrative Yangon rental property owned by the favorite daughter of General Ne Win, reports the Irrawaddy.  The EU had been renting the property for eight years from Ne Win’s descendants.  The EU’s choice of Yangon residence for their top diplomat was the subject of heavy criticism, including from a prominent Shan artist, Sawangwongse Yawnghwe, who called it “the epitome of hypocrisy” for the EU to be calling for accountability in Burma while renting property that was “obviously obtained through illicit means.” The Irrawaddy claimed it took the EU over one year to find a residence that was not owned by the military and its cronies.

NLD official shot and killed on Yangon street, reports Myanmar Now.  Khin Nay Myo, vice chair of the NLD in Lanmadaw Township was shot in ZawGyi market early Wednesday morning. 

Zomi Revolutionary Army accused of killing a rival PDF official. A PDF group based in northern Chin State, The People’s Defence Force Zoland, accused a rival group, the Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA), of killing one of the group’s leaders, Cin Sian Sum.

There are an estimated 638,000 internally displaced people in Burma, as of December 1 says UNHCR.  

UN Security Council concerned about Suu Kyi. “The members of the Security Council expressed deep concern at the sentencing of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint and others,”.

US Embassy in Yangon issues highest risk travel advisory. US authorities are  urging American nationals to avoid venturing outside during the nationwide “Silent Strike” planned for Friday. Pro-democracy activists and resistance forces across the country have urged citizens to participate in the strike by closing businesses and staying at home.  A similar strike was observed on March 24. The goal is to leave Burma’s streets silent in respect for the 1,300 killed by the military since the coup. Pro-military business owners and civil servants are said to be forcing shopkeepers in Magway, Yangon and Pathein to open market stalls.

NUG’s Ministry of Education to start online homeschooling.  The NUG will start an online homeschooling program in Mingaladon Township on December 16. The program will start with students in standards 10 and 11. 

NLD Energy Minister and deputies charged with corruption. Minister Win Khaing and his deputy-ministers, Dr Tun Naing and Khin Maung Win, were charged under Burma’s anti-corruption law, state media reported on Thursday. The trio stand accused by the junta of not following procedure when contracting with an international firm for the construction of a water tunnel at the Yeywa Hydro Electric Power Plant. It is alleged that this decision caused a loss of K30 billion (US$3.4 million) to the government. Khin Maung Win also stands accused of the mismanagement of K6 billion worth of natural gas revenues. Win Khaing is the latest in a string of former NLD union ministers to be hit with corruption charges.

Funny money arrives from Tashkent. Documents obtained by the Irrawaddy show that a Boeing Dreamliner from Tashkent arrived at Yangon airport on December 7 and delivered  about  92 paper boxes of special paper for printing banknotes weighing nearly 35,000 kg.  Reports that the junta is printing money with the help of Russia-backed allies have appeared sporadically since the coup, prompting fears of runaway inflation.

Junta accuses the UN of interference and acting on “distorted news”, Reuters reports. The Junta lashes out at the UN, in wake of growing international criticism for Suu Kyi trial verdict and violent treatment of protesters. 

NEWS BY REGION

BAGO — Army shelling of KNU injures three. A young man and two children were injured after shells fired by the military at positions belonging to the Karen National Union (KNU) Brigade 3 hit Muthe village in Kyaukgyi Township on  December 7,  according to a statement released by the KNU.

CHIN —Three CDF fighters fall in battle with Tatmadaw. A clash between the army and forces from the Chin Defence Force (CDF)  and Chin National Army (CNA) in Thantalang Township, saw three CDF members killed according to the Chin News Agency. Another three CDF fighters and one CNA member were injured as well. The total number of casualties from the military side is still unknown.

KACHIN —Army in Hpakant orders jade digging machinery to be hidden before inspectors arrive.  The military’s 33rd Division based in the jade-rich Hpakant Township issued a verbal order on Wednesday demanding that unregistered heavy machinery used in excavation be hidden, ahead of an expected visit by government inspectors.  Although legal permits for mining are said to have expired in August, local authorities with links to 33 Division had been collecting bribes to allow the jade mining operations to continue. It is expected that once the inspectors leave the un-registered mining operations will continue.  There are said to be hundreds of unregistered jade mining operations in Hpakant. Read DVB’s report on the farce.

KAYAH —KNDF clashes with the Tatmadaw in Bawlakhe Township. Three military personnel were killed and another two were injured during skirmishes between the army and the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) near Maesalong mountain, Nan Phae village, Bawlakhe Township on the evening of December 7. The KNDF announced that they staged a defensive fight against the junta troops who attacked at the foot of the mountain. A battle between the army and the KNDF also occurred yesterday morning in Demoso Township.

MANDALAY —Soldiers and a monk injured in explosion. Three military personnel received minor injuries after a bomb exploded near a high school in Mandalay’s Thanlyat Hmaw South ward on Wednesday morning. A monk who was near the site of the blast was also injured, according to local sources.

MON —Police Station attacked in Ye Township. A policeman, two junta-backed village militia members and an army veteran are said to have been injured in a shooting at a police station and village administration office in Kyaungywa village in Ye Township on December 8, according to locals.  No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. 

MON —Army torches homes in Ye Township. Three houses in Aung Tha Pyay village were set on fire during a military raid on Wednesday, DVB has learned. A resident suggested that the troops raided the village because the army had suffered casualties during recent clashes with the KNU in the area. It was also reported that a man in Thanbyuzayat Township was shot dead at close range by soldiers without apparent reason. 

MON —Chaungzon Township CDM staff arrested.  Since the start of December no fewer than  10 people in Chaungzon Township have been arrested, according to a local who is also in hiding for fear of arrest.  The vast majority of those arrested are said to be those who were involved with charity work and university students. 

SAGAING —Two police stations burned and a Mytel tower destroyed in Ye-U township, says local PDF. The Ye-U Urban Guerrilla Group claims to have carried out the attack in Ye-U on December 7.

SAGAING —Myaing PDF claims attack on army trucks. One military vehicle carrying about 40 troops was damaged after being hit by an IED in Myaing Township on Wednesday, according to an official from the Myaing PDF.  The official claimed there were a number of casualties due to the attack but the exact number is currently unknown. 

SAGAING —Bodies of army victims found buried in Taze.  Local residents believe that the bodies of three persons found near Taze’s Township’s Sin Thin village are the victims of an army killing. Two of the victims were identified as people from nearby villages but the name of the third is unknown.

SAGAING —Army convoy attacked in Sarlingyi.  At least 15 military personnel were killed and many more injured following a roadside bomb attack on a military convoy in Sarlingyi. The attack was said to have been carried out by PDFs from Yinmarbin and Sarlingyi townships on Thursday morning. According to a local PDF member, soldiers who took part in the killing of civilians at Dontaw village were part of the convoy. Sources claim that many soldiers were killed in the attack, yet DVB could not determine the exact number. The 369 Infantry Division in Ayardaw Township was also reportedly attacked by PDFs on Wednesday afternoon.

SAGAING —Sitagu Sayadaw affiliated monastery housing troops attacked by PDF.  The Yinmarbin Monastery, which army troops have been using as a base, was attacked by a combined force of fighters from the People’s Defense Army Yinmarbin (PDA) and the Kani PDF on Wednesday morning. A PDF official who claimed to have taken part in the attack said the monastery partially collapsed after the fighters fired six artillery shells at it. According to the PDF fighter, a number of soldiers sheltering inside may have been harmed. Local sources said that troops stationed within the monastery conducted regular security checks and extorted money from civilians. The monastery is affiliated with Sitagu Sayadaw, one of Burma’s highest-profile Buddhist monks. He has alienated much of the Burmese population for his very public support for Min Aung Hlaing in the wake of the coup. In late August he accompanied Min Aung Hlaing on a visit to Russia. 

N. SHAN —Vendors complain about TNLA taxes. Vendors at Namkham’s Myoma market say they were visited recently by individuals claiming to be from the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) who demanded taxes be paid, according to a merchant based at the market. The TNLA agents reportedly asked for K200,000 from each vendor, which sellers claim is too high as the market had been closed for a long time due to COVID-19. The TNLA has yet to comment on its tax policy.

S. SHAN —Poppy fields visible in Hopong. Poppy fields have reappeared alongside the Hopong-Pinlon Road following the coup, locals told MeKong News. A total of seven fields are now said to be cultivated in highly visible locations in Hopong, historically a hub of Burma’s illicit poppy trade located in southern Shan’s Pa’O Self-Administrative Zone and Loilin district. Residents said that, due to past efforts to cut down the region’s reliance on the drug trade, growers had, until the coup, been forced to cultivate poppy in more remote regions.