FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM
Military declares mandatory conscription law
Mandatory military service was declared on Feb. 10. The People’s Military Service Law was enacted in 2010 but hadn’t been enforced up until now. The law requires men aged 18 to 35 and women aged 18 to 27 to serve up to two years, while specialists like doctors aged up to 45 must serve for three years.
“Married women, people from monastic communities and people who are recognized as exempt from the military are exceptions but the rest are included in the law,” said an unnamed lawyer. Regime spokesperson Zaw Min Tun delivered a message stating that the “national military service system involving all people is essential due to the situation happening in our country.”
The law states that evading military service is punishable from three to five years in prison. The compulsory service can be extended to a total of five years during the country’s state of emergency.
Thailand aid corridor to be established on border
Thai Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara said that he expects Bangkok to open up a humanitarian corridor to deliver aid to Burma in the next month. The corridor will be set up in Tak Province along the border with Karen State.
Thai officials said that the aid is expected to initially benefit around 20,000 displaced persons. The aid will be delivered through the Thai and Burma branches of the Red Cross. It will be monitored by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA) on Disaster Management.
Parnpree said that the military regime will manage the distribution of the aid on the Burma side of the border. Nay Phone Latt, a spokesperson for the National Unity Government (NUG) called for Bangkok to deliver the aid through ethnic armed groups. The U.N. states that more than 18 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.
India ends Free Movement Regime
The Indian government announced that it will suspend its Free Movement Regime (FMR) along its 1,643 km-long border with Burma, Reuters reported. India’s Minister of Home Affairs, Amit Shah claimed the decision was made on the basis of protecting national security.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs has decided that the Free Movement Regime between India and Myanmar be scrapped to ensure the internal security of the country and to maintain the demographic structure of India’s north eastern states bordering Myanmar,” he said.
The FMR allowed Indian and Burma nationals to travel up to 16 km on either side of the border for up to two weeks without a visa, using a border pass. Ethnic nationalities such as the Kuki and Naga live on both sides of the India-Burma border. Over 40,000 refugees from Burma have fled to Mizoram and over 6,000 to Manipur states since the 2021 military coup.
News by Region
ARAKAN—The Arakan Army (AA) spokesperson Khaing Thukha told DVB that three towns are “permanently” under its control as of Feb. 9 – the day after it seized control of Mrauk-U Township.
“No. 9 Operations Command Headquarters along with its all subordinate battalions based in Mrauk-U, Minbya and Kyauktaw have been attacked and completely occupied by our Arakan Army,” he said.
A total of 81 locals have been killed due to the fighting between the AA and the Burma Army since Nov. 13, states the United League of Arakan (ULA) Humanitarian and Development Coordination Office.
MANDALAY—Regime media reported that a Mandalay woman was arrested at her home after being accused of sharing a message online that said: “In the next life [referring to the Buddhist belief in reincarnation], may they be reborn in a peaceful country.”
This message, which was shared widely, allegedly refers to the burning alive of two members of the Yaw Defense Force (YDF) by a pro-military militia in Gangaw Township of Magway Region in November. The video circulated online on Feb. 6. Regime media didn’t state whether the woman will face criminal charges.
MON—Political prisoners in Kyaikmaraw prison initiated a hunger strike on Feb. 9. It was conducted in response to the solitary confinement of two political prisoners, Thet Maung Maung Soe and Thet Zaw Ko, who were interrogated on Feb. 4 for possessing mobile phones. Both are serving 15 year sentences.
“They are not in good health. They should have been returned to their regular cells,” an unnamed source close to the inmates told DVB. The prisoners are demanding healthcare for the two, assurances that no “extra-judicial” measures will be employed against them, and a commitment to treating them with “human dignity.”