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Gold prices soar as arrest warrants issued for 10 merchants; Resistance claims 20 killed in Sagaing airstrike

Gold prices soar as arrest warrants issued for 10 merchants 

The regime issued arrest warrants for 10 gold shop owners and merchants on Sunday. It included Aung San Win, the owner of Aung Thamardi gold and jewelry shops, Aung Kaung Myat, the owner of Weint Sein, and Dann Win, the owner of Zwe Htet. They are accused of manipulating gold prices. 

A source close to the police department told DVB that the warrants were issued after the regime’s Ministry of Home Affairs interrogated 30 gold shop owners in Yangon and 20 in Mandalay on Friday. “By the time the [police] had learned the names of the ten businessmen, they had already fled,” said a gold shop owner in Yangon. 

The regime announced on Sunday that it had arrested 21 gold merchants and is still questioning them. Gold prices have soared since the 2021 military coup with it reaching a record high of up to 5.5 million kyat per tical on Friday.  

Resistance claims 20 killed in Sagaing Region airstrike

The People’s Defense Force (PDF) claimed that at least 20 civilians were killed and others were injured during an airstrike carried out on Mataw (Letpanseik) village in Mingin Township of Sagaing Region on Monday. 

“The bomb dropped directly over the home where the wedding ceremony of a member of the PDF was held. Many civilians who joined the ceremony were injured. At least 20 civilians, including two children, were killed. We are still collecting the bodies,” said a PDF spokesperson. 

The PDF added that military aircraft are still flying over the village and that the number of civilian fatalities may increase. At least 130 families living in Mataw have fled in anticipation of more airstrikes. 

Arakan Army accuses military of massacre near Sittwe

The Arakan Army (AA) accused the Burma Army of killing 53 civilians and committing acts of rape against women after it arrested residents of Byaing Phyu village in Sittwe Township. Residents claimed that more than 1,500 civilians, including women and children, were detained in Byaing Phyu village from May 29 to June 1. 

“A total of 1,588 civilians were arrested and penned up inside the seven monasteries in Sittwe to be used as human shields,” said a Sittwe resident. The AA claimed that 53 civilians were killed by the Burma Army after it raided the village on May 29. 

It added that the Burma Army beat the civilians, denied them food, and forced them to stay outdoors under the sun. The AA vowed to take revenge against the military regime over the alleged massacre carried out by its troops. 

News by Region

Mon National Liberation Army troops in formation in August 2016. (Credit: DVB)

MON—The central committee of New Mon State Party (NMSP) stated on Friday that the NMSP Anti-Dictatorship (AD), a splinter group, refuses to reunite due to different political objectives. NMSP-AD split from the NMSP and declared it would fight alongside other resistance groups against the military regime on Feb. 14. The NMSP has engaged in “peace talks” with the regime since the 2021 coup. 

ARAKAN—Sittwe residents claimed that the Burma Army destroyed more than 250 homes in two villages of Sittwe Township on Saturday. Military troops burned down 150 houses in Minkantaw village and used a backhoe to destroy others. “There are around 10 homes left in the whole village,” said a Sittwe resident. 

Over 100 homes were destroyed in an arson attack on Thonesaung village. “The military did this to prepare its defenses for when the Arakan Army launches its attacks [on Sittwe] in the future,” said another Sittwe resident. 

Ninety-eight prisoners, including 31 political prisoners, were released from Buthidaung Prison on May 16, according to the Arakan Army (AA). The AA stated that it had contacted the freed prisoners’ relatives and sent them to their villages so they could return home to their families.

AYEYARWADY—Regime administrators ordered shop owners to sell gold at a fixed price of 3.8 million kyat per tical on Saturday. “I have been in the gold business for 16 years but I’ve never faced such threats. Gold prices are not the only thing that has continuously risen during military rule,” said a gold shop owner in Mawlamyinegyun Township. 

The regime stated that it will take action if the shop owners disobey its orders. Businesses in some townships were forced to temporarily close due to the directive. Gold prices in Ayeyarwady Region were 925,000 kyat per tical in 2020. 

(Exchange rate: $1 USD = 4,250 kyat)

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