FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM
Extreme weather alert: An intense cyclonic storm is expected to hit in the coming days, Burma’s Meteorological Department reported. Residents of the Irrawaddy delta and Rakhine coastal areas have been urged to take extra precaution.
Kyaw Moe Tun wins ‘Citizen of Burma’ award
Kyaw Moe Tun was named the 14th recipient of the “Citizen of Burma Award” on May 6. The U.S.-based organization of Burmese-Americans, also named Citizen of Burma Award, stated that it was inspired by Kyaw Moe Tun’s work as Burma’s ambassador to the U.N. An awards ceremony will be held at the Performing Arts Centre in Baldwin Park, California on May 21. The award has been given annually since 2010 in honor of individuals or organizations that work for the benefit of Burma in the U.S. Its first recipient was Kyaw Thu, founder of Burma’s Free Funeral Services Society.
Indonesia’s ‘quiet diplomacy’ to resolve political crisis
Since taking over as chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Indonesia has engaged with key stakeholders in Burma using “quiet diplomacy.” Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said that she has met more than 60 times with the military council, the National Unity Government (NUG), and Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs). “Indonesia is using non-megaphone diplomacy, this aims to build trust with all stakeholders, so they want to talk to us,” added Marsudi. An NUG spokesperson confirmed that it is cooperating with Indonesia in dialogue.
Rohingya delegation visits Rakhine State
A delegation of 20 Rohingya refugees from the camps in Bangladesh, along with Bangladeshi officials, visited Maungdaw on May 5 to assess the viability of Burma’s repatriation plan. “If the regime wants to accept the refugees, the refugees must be returned to their [homes]. But now there is no plan for this. They are just showing the reception camps,” said a Rohingya man. Burma and Bangladesh agreed to repatriate over 1,000 Rohingya refugees out of the more than 700,000 who fled to Bangladesh in 2017. Among the 1,000 selected for repatriation there are more than 700 Rohingya and 400 Hindus. The Rohingya delegation was led by Bangladesh’s Border Guard Forces and its Refugee, Relief, and Repatriation Commission (RRRC).
News by Region
KACHIN—The Myitkyina District Court denied Hkalam Samson’s appeal on May 3. “We appealed to the District Court on May 3, but it was denied. So, we will appeal to the State Court. We will do whatever we can within the confines of the law,” Samson’s lawyer said. Samson was sentenced to six years in prison under charges of the Unlawful Association Act, Counter-Terrorism Law and for incitement on April 7. He was arrested at Myitkyina Airport last December.
The bodies of two men were discovered at the entrance of Myauk Phyu village, Hpakant Township on May 5. Locals said the men were in their twenties and their bodies had been bruised and stabbed. On April 18, at least 30 civilians, including women from Sai Hpara village, were arrested and their mobile phones were taken after a Burma Army raid. The bodies of other men in their twenties were found in Hmawsisar village on May 6. “I heard the sound of gunfire,” a local told DVB. The identity of the men are not yet known.
Four civilians and a member of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), were detained by the Burma Army in Myitkyina on May 6. “They were arrested at Happy KTV. The names of those detained are not yet known,” a KIA spokesperson told DVB.
MON—Nine people, including a 13-year-old girl, were arrested at Thein Zayat train station in Kyaikhto Township on May 4. “They inspected one of them who was assumed to have connection with the People’s Defense Force [PDF]. I heard the rest will be released soon,” said a Burma Army source. According to locals, the nine were taking the train to Yangon. The five men, three women, and one girl, are being held at Thein Zayat Police station.
NAYPYIDAW—The 64th Academy Award ceremony was held on May 6. Indra Kyaw Zin and Pyay Ti Oo – once jailed for opposing the regime – won the top film awards. A musical film named Padauk Musical, produced by artist Sai Sai Kham Leng, won the top four awards. Gold brooches were given to artists who had received awards in previous years.
RAKHINE—The Sittwe Port will open on May 9. The India Burma Friendship Project will facilitate direct trade of over 3,000 tons of cement from Kolkata port in India to Sittwe port for the first time. Rakhine merchants expressed skepticism over the viability of trade between the two cities. “There are few products from Rakhine. Even locals in Rakhine State rely on imports. China mainly buys marine products from Rakhine and there are no products in Rakhine that could be traded with India. It will be difficult even if products from India are imported to Burma as there will be transportation expenses,” a merchant said. The Indian government spent $120 million USD to build the new Sittwe port.
SAGAING—Four civilians, including a four-year-old boy, were killed and at least five were injured during an airstrike on Paik Khayar village of Minkin Township on May 4. “There was no fighting. They dropped three bombs near the school. Livestock was killed and houses damaged. The number of casualties and damages are unknown,” a local said. Paik Khayar village has 120 houses. Locals have been forced to flee their homes to hide in fear of another airstrike.
YANGON—An explosion occurred near Myanmar Motion Picture Organization on Wingaba Road in Bahan Township on May 6. “Locals in the township felt the explosion that morning. There were inspections near the Shwegondaing traffic light,” a local said.
An eight-year-old girl was killed and her 40-year-old mother was wounded in Kone Ta La Paung village of Mingaladon township on May 7. It was reported that the two were the sister and niece of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party executive Win Naing. “I thought it was a robbery, but as far as I know they shot them for no reason. The little girl died on the spot. Her mother is in severe condition,” a local told DVB. Win Naing has been in hiding since the 2021 military coup.
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