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Kachin Independence Army seizes 10 military bases; India begins returning refugees from Burma

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Kachin Independence Army seizes 10 military bases

The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has seized at least ten military bases, including that of the 142nd Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) in Momauk Township, since its offensive in Kachin State began on Thursday. 

The KIA claimed that at least 13 Burma Army troops surrendered during the fighting. “The military has been firing artillery shells continuously,” a Laiza resident told DVB. Explosions were reported across the border in China. 

Sources at Myitkyina Airport said that all flights were canceled starting Saturday. Shwe Min, the leader of a pro-military Lisu militia and former head of the Lisu National Development Party, was killed during clashes with the KIA in Waingmaw Township on Thursday. 

India begins returning refugees from Burma

India deported its first group of refugees from Burma – that have arrived in India since the 2021 military coup – on Friday. Manipur State plans to return at least 77 refugees to Burma, Reuters reported.

“First batch of Myanmar nationals who entered India illegally deported today,” Manipur’s Chief Minister N. Biren Singh posted online. Manipur State has faced communal violence resulting in nearly 200 killed since May 2023. 

India plans to end its Free Movement Regime (FMR) with Burma, which allows nationals of both countries visa-free travel up to 16 km on either side of the border using a pass. India also plans to build a fence along the 1,643 km-long border with Burma. 

A young woman from Burma attends the opening ceremony of Chuu Wai’s ‘Thread Under Threat’ exhibition in Chiang Mai, Thailand on March 8.

Chuu Wai’s ‘Thread Under Threat’ exhibit in Chiang Mai

The opening of Myanmar artist Chuu Wai’s “Thread Under Threat: Invincible Myanmar Women Who Dare!” was held at Baan Tuek Art Center in Chiang Mai, Thailand on March 8 for International Women’s Day. 

It will run until March 27. This exhibition was organized by The Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development (RCSD), Thanakha International Gender Tekkatho, and SEA-Junction. See our photos of the exhibit’s opening here.

News by Region

BAGO—The Political Prisoners Network Myanmar (PPNM) stated that a political prisoner died in Daik-U (Kyaiksakaw) prison from an unspecified illness on March 6 after not receiving proper medical care. He was serving a 14-year sentence under the Counter-Terrorism Law. 

“He had been feeling ill for two months. Despite frequent requests for medical treatment outside the prison, the authorities have neglected these pleas,” added the PPNM. At least seven political prisoners have died this year after failing to receive adequate medical care. 

KACHIN—Sixteen Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have been detained by the Burma Army after a raid on an IDP camp located inside the Robert Baptist Church in Bhamo Township on Sunday. 

“They fired several rounds of shots, raided the camp at about 1 a.m. to conduct midnight inspection and arrested IDPs,” said a Bhamo resident. One was released. The IDP camp hosts 500 families displaced from their homes since 2011. 

MANDALAY—Eight airstrikes were reportedly carried out on Tagaung Township and one person was killed by artillery on Thursday. The People’s Defense Force (PDF) announced Friday that Twinnge-Kyarnyat-Tagaung road in Thabeikkyin Township will be temporarily shut down due to fighting with the Burma Army since March 5.   

SHAN—The Pa’o National Liberation Army (PNLA) accused the military of using chemical bombs in Hsihseng. It claimed that its soldiers experienced symptoms such as oxygen deprivation, skin irritation, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, agitation and fatigue. 

“The chemical bombs were used where there was no ongoing combat, signaling it was a targeted attack. Our comrades suffered identical symptoms,” a PNLA spokesperson told DVB. Those affected are receiving medical care and an investigation is underway, the PNLA added.

SAGAING—The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) states  that one woman was killed after 50 military personnel set fire to three villages in Monywa Township on Feb. 29. The military has burned 11 people alive and set fire to the bodies of three people after they were killed this year. added the AAPP. Its records indicate that at least 4,650 people have been killed since 2021.

YANGON—Twenty people traveling to Thandwe were detained at Yangon International Airport on March 8. Reports from family members indicate that some were taken to the Shwepyitha Interrogation Center. Another 100 people traveling by car from Yangon to Arakan State were stopped at the Shwepyitha checkpoint in Yangon. Some were released and told it was under the condition that they not communicate with the Arakan Army (AA). 

Watch our latest: Chuu Wai ‘Thread Under Threat’ exhibition. DVB English News is on X, FB, Instagram, Threads & TikTok. Subscribe to us on YouTube. Follow our podcast on Spotify.

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