Monday, June 20, 2022

Monday, June 20, 2022

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Major Magway defense force claims AA link, opens NUG dialogue. Magway’s People’s Revolutionary Alliance, a local defense force, said its group had received support from the Arakan Army and is now working to liberate the entirety of Magway Region before Thingyan (Burmese new year) 2023. Read DVB’s report. | BURMESE

Following PRA Magway’s statement, the NUG’s Defense Minister Yee Mon and PRA officials held an online meeting on the evening of June 19 for the very first time. Maj. (Bo) Hakuli, head of military affairs at the PRA, told DVB that the group would work in partnership with NUG forces to gain control of territory to the west of the Ayeyarwady River. The major said that Yee Mon had invited the group to meet with the parallel government’s Ministry of Defense (NUG MoD) since January, yet talks had been deferred due to internet connectivity issues and the intensity of the PRA’s campaigns. Bo Hakuli also said the groups discussed deepening cooperation with other local defense forces, including people’s administrations and PDFs under the NUG’s command, to capture administrative and martial control over the entirety of Magway Region. “Although our group is not under the direct command of the NUG’s MoD, we have already accepted Part 1 of the Federal Democracy Charter — as proposed by the NUG and NUCC — as our political road map. We also acknowledge the NUG as the government leading the revolution, and will accept its vision. We asked for food and weapons as we are a small group lacking funding. The minister said he would immediately be able to provide food, and would gradually help us with weapons in the future,” he stated. A recent briefing published by researchers Naw Show Ei Ei Tun and Kim Jolliffe highlights the significance of the NUCC’s Federal Democratic Charter, and its potential as a framework which aims to unite Burma’s disparate regional armed groups and administrations. | BURMESE

Tens of thousands of Burma’s refugees voice demands on World Refugee Day. Thousands of Burmese refugees in Mae La refugee camp in Tha Song Yang district, Tak Province, Thailand on the Thai-Burmese border held a demonstration in support of refugee rights on World Refugee Day on June 20. | BURMESE Similarly, tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh marked World Refugee Day by participating in protests to demand repatriation and full Burmese citizenship. | BURMESE | Read DVB’s report and watch Rohingya in Cox’s Bazaar make their demands here. Yesterday, Pope Francis also made an appeal to the international community to “not forget the Burmese people, that human dignity and the right to life be respected, as well as places of worship, hospitals, and schools”. Over the past week there have been reports of the military shelling churches hosting IDPs in Chin and Karenni States.

World remembers imprisoned Aung San Suu Kyi on 77th birthday. Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan publicly wished Aung San Suu Kyi a happy birthday on the deposed leader’s 77th birthday on June 19. “Wishing a Happy 77th Birthday to dear Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. May you continue to be blessed with good health, hope and fulfillment,” he said on social media and shared a picture of himself with the former state counselor. Tens of thousands of Burmese netizens echoed the sentiments, with diaspora communities in the United States, Australia, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, and other nations holding celebrations for her. Suu Kyi’s last public birthday party was held with NLD colleagues in 2020. Minor protests also occurred across the country. The state counselor has been detained since last year’s coup and a Naypyidaw military tribunal also handed her five years of imprisonment in April for corruption charges in addition to the six years kangaroo courts previously sentenced her to. She will face over 100 years of prison if she is found guilty of all the outstanding charges the junta has levied against her. The deposed leader is also facing new charges of corruption and in addition to her previous 18 charges, increasing her possible sentence to over 190 years in prison.

Aung San Suu Kyi herself today belatedly celebrated the occasion by cutting a cake with lawyers shortly before a court hearing, sources close to the court revealed.

Rights group appeal ethnic Wa man’s death sentence. The Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF) issued a statement on June 17 calling for the death sentence of an ethnic Wa man to be revoked. The young man had been sentenced to death by a military tribunal in connection with a bomb blast that occurred at a pro-regime rally in Tachileik on February 1. 24-year-old Ai Hseng Mong was detained in prison for four months before being handed the sentence under Sec. 54 of the Anti-Terrorism Law and Sec. 361/1 of the Penal Code. According to those released from the prison in which he is being detained, junta authorities alleged that the man was captured on CCTV camera footage passing the site of the blast on a motorcycle. The military is said to have severely beaten him into a confession; he reportedly pleaded guilty after more than a week of torture. Ai Hseng Mong is from Pang Hseng in the Wa Self-Administered Zone and is said to be a migrant worker with no political affiliation. He does not speak Burmese. Family and friends say they will appeal his sentence. Four people were killed and 34 people were injured when an IED exploded at a pro-military rally marking a year of the failed military coup on Feb. 1. | BURMESE

Missing teachers yet to be returned, as AA claims ARSA responsible. Two teachers believed to have been abducted by the militant Islamic Arakhine Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) have yet to be released. The snatching of the pair is part of a recent spate of abductions in Maungdaw township on the border with Bangladesh. Read more. | BURMESE

News by Region

KACHIN —Heavy artillery shells landed at a school where locals were celebrating the birthday of Aung San Suu Kyi in Hmawbon village, Hpakant township, at around 10.30 a.m. yesterday morning. A local told DVB that a woman in her 50s was seriously injured and another 17-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman had also been hit by shrapnel. “The shells were fired while we were holding [the celebration]. A woman was seriously injured in her arm and side… and was taken to hospital,” a resident said. The Burma Army is said to have fired three shells from a camp near Mazupyan village. Locals said that troops deliberately targeted the village as Hmawbon village had also held a birthday celebration for the deposed leader the previous year. | BURMESE

MAGWAY —Residents of villages in Mindon township have fled to the mountains of the Rakhine Yoma after the military committed arson attacks across villages in retaliation for their alleged support of PDF groups. Those affected say they are now in need of food and shelter. The monsoon season has worsened conditions for refugees across Burma who now face difficulties obtaining food and medical treatment. “[The displaced] have been hiding here for six months — as a CDM teacher, I have fled before as I could not stay in the city. I have been teaching child refugees here as much as possible as they cannot go to school, but I can only teach on days it does not rain. Refugees are camping far from each other as they fear being caught in the military’s shelling,” a CDM teacher living amongst the refugees said. Junta forces from Thayet township have been stationed in Mindon since last March and are said to have fired heavy artillery at the townships villages on an almost daily basis. | BURMESE

MANDALAY —An IED detonated at the entrance to the Kyaukse home of Burma’s former dictator Gen. Than Shwe on June 19, according to local sources. It is reported that the Kyaukse District Defense Force (KDDF) were responsible for the blast, and that soldiers were guarding the gate of the house at the time of the attack. “The number of casualties is unknown. They [the LDF] also shot at the gate,” a Kyaukse resident said. Two similar attacks have occurred outside of Than Shwe’s home, yet no casualties were reported. | BURMESE

SAGAING —One person was killed and another was wounded after the military shelled Palwe Shwe village in Katha township at around 2 p.m. on June 19. A woman in her 30s was killed and a man was injured after the military fired shells from a landing craft on the Ayeyarwady River. “I heard that a villager from Palwe Shwe village was killed, and a wounded person was taken to Katha Hospital,” a local told DVB. Three craft ferrying around 200 soldiers had traversed the river from Katha town to Palwe Shwe village on the Ayeyarwady’s east bank. Local defense forces from Katha township urged locals to immediately evacuate the area as clashes are expected to break out as the military advances. | BURMESE

SAGAING —The Civilians Defense and Security Organization Myaung (CDSOM) local defense force reported on June 18 that it had returned ten motorcycles, worth roughly K100 lakh (US$5,400), to owners who had their vehicles “unjustly confiscated” by the military. The motorcycles were seized from residents of Balwe village, Chaung Oo township, when the military raided the village and set fire to dwellings.

SAGAING —A dismembered corpse was discovered in a bag in a refuse dump in Yinmarbin township’s Le Ngauk village on the evening of June 18, according to locals. A torched motorcycle was discovered near the remains. “The body was already mutilated. The person was not a Le Ngauk villager. A motorcycle was also set on fire. When the military entered this side of Le Ngauk village on the night of June 16, they killed people they encountered on the road and hid the bodies,” a local told DVB. “We entered the scene after the military left the village and saw that a motorcycle had been set on fire… We did not know anyone was killed at first — only now did we learn about his murder,” a member of a local defense force said. | BURMESE

SAGAING —Than Zaw Thun, a district level military-backed administrator, was shot dead inside his car enroute to Monywa, the region’s capital city, on the morning of June 19. The 40-year-old, owner of the Crown Construction Company, was driving to his business premises when he was shot dead by two unidentified men on a motorcycle in Chan Myawaddy ward, locals said. “He was shot directly through the temple and died on the spot,” an eyewitness told DVB. Residents said that security forces blocked streets inside the city, arresting and harassing passersby shortly after the attack. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the killing. According to Chan Myawaddy ward residents, explosions and gunfire could be heard in the ward on Sunday afternoon. At least five IEDs were detonated in the city on June 18 yet no injuries were reported. | BURMESE

SAGAING —More people were forced to flee villages in northern Kanbalu township, Kanbulu district, after the military began an ongoing offensive against the area on June, locals told DVB. The military has cut access to internet and mobile networks in the township. “We have been fleeing for ten days. All mobile lines and internet access was cut off when the military started its offensive. Residents from 12 villages between Kanbalu and Kyun Hla townships have fled,” a local man said. Nearly 5,000 people have fled the offensive in the past ten day, villagers claim. | BURMESE

N. SHAN —More than K7 million (US$3,800) worth of yaba methamphetamine pills were seized at a Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) controlled checkpoint on the road from Kyaukme to Mogok on June 18. According to the TNLA, the drugs were seized when the EAO investigated a motorcycle traveling through Kyaukme to Mogok on suspicion of drug trafficking. The TNLA discovered more than 240 packages of the drug. The TNLA said it will prosecute Mandalay resident Maung Aung Phyo, who allegedly trafficked the drugs, under its Anti-Narcotics Laws. Kyaukme is a township infamous for drug use and trafficking, with locals telling DVB that they believe more than half of young to middle-aged adults regularly use hard drugs. Rates of addiction in Kyaukme, as in many parts of the country, have significantly worsened since the coup. | BURMESE

S. SHAN —A member of the military proxy USDP was shot dead in Pindaya town, Danu Self-Administered Zone, on the morning of June 18, according to local sources. The victim, Kyaw Nyein, had run as a USDP candidate during the 2020 election and lost, residents said. “He was known to be a military informant and supporter of the Burma Army. It is not yet known who conducted the attack,” a local told DVB. The victim’s family members have not yet commented on allegations made by locals. State media has yet to acknowledge the attack, and no group has claimed responsibility for the killing. The military has attempted to fund its own militias in the Danu SAZ over the past few months, forcibly enlisting ethnic Danu men for the first time. | BURMESE

TANINTHARYI —Junta-backed administrators and non-CDM staff undertook door-to-door visits of CDM civil servants in an effort to force them to return to work in villages of Dawei’s Yebyu township last week, according to locals. “They said they are asking for help as they do not have enough teachers. I did not accept their pleas as they already fired me for my participation in CDM,” a CDM staff member who was targeted in the recruitment drive said. The military’s efforts to rehire CDM staff are being reported across Burma’s rural areas, where military administrations have roundly failed in operating social services. The regime fired more than 700 education workers in Yebyu township alone for their involvement with the CDM. Only 99 of 159 schools in Yebyu have opened for the school year, according to the military’s Ministry of Information. CDM staff operating under the NUG’s parallel Yebyu Township Board of Education have successfully implemented a home-based curriculum since last year. | BURMESE

TANINTHARYI —Junta forces stormed around 50 houses, arresting at least 22 people in Launglon township between June 16 to 19, according to residents. Those arrested are reportedly civilians, CDM staff, and members of strike groups, and are being detained at Launglon Police Station. “Arrests are occurring day and night, 30 military vehicles are going around the city and making arrests,” a youth from Launglon said. The detained include five women and 17 men, most of whom are believed to be around 40 years old. Around 200 military personnel have been deployed in Launglon since June 14 and have conducted arrests and search operations in forests and hills where they consider PDFs to be operating. Launglon is a stronghold of Tanintharyi’s anti-military movement. | BURMESE

Major Magway defense force claims AA link, opens NUG dialogue. Magway’s People’s Revolutionary Alliance, a local defense force, said its group had received support from the Arakan Army and is now working to liberate the entirety of Magway Region before Thingyan (Burmese new year) 2023. Read DVB’s report. | BURMESE

Following PRA Magway’s statement, the NUG’s Defense Minister Yee Mon and PRA officials held an online meeting on the evening of June 19 for the very first time. Maj. (Bo) Hakuli, head of military affairs at the PRA, told DVB that the group would work in partnership with NUG forces to gain control of territory to the west of the Ayeyarwady River. The major said that Yee Mon had invited the group to meet with the parallel government’s Ministry of Defense (NUG MoD) since January, yet talks had been deferred due to internet connectivity issues and the intensity of the PRA’s campaigns. Bo Hakuli also said the groups discussed deepening cooperation with other local defense forces, including people’s administrations and PDFs under the NUG’s command, to capture administrative and martial control over the entirety of Magway Region. “Although our group is not under the direct command of the NUG’s MoD, we have already accepted Part 1 of the Federal Democracy Charter — as proposed by the NUG and NUCC — as our political road map. We also acknowledge the NUG as the government leading the revolution, and will accept its vision. We asked for food and weapons as we are a small group lacking funding. The minister said he would immediately be able to provide food, and would gradually help us with weapons in the future,” he stated. A recent briefing published by researchers Naw Show Ei Ei Tun and Kim Jolliffe highlights the significance of the NUCC’s Federal Democratic Charter, and its potential as a framework which aims to unite Burma’s disparate regional armed groups and administrations. | BURMESE

Tens of thousands of Burma’s refugees voice demands on World Refugee Day. Thousands of Burmese refugees in Mae La refugee camp in Tha Song Yang district, Tak Province, Thailand on the Thai-Burmese border held a demonstration in support of refugee rights on World Refugee Day on June 20. | BURMESE Similarly, tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh marked World Refugee Day by participating in protests to demand repatriation and full Burmese citizenship. | BURMESE | Read DVB’s report and watch Rohingya in Cox’s Bazaar make their demands here. Yesterday, Pope Francis also made an appeal to the international community to “not forget the Burmese people, that human dignity and the right to life be respected, as well as places of worship, hospitals, and schools”. Over the past week there have been reports of the military shelling churches hosting IDPs in Chin and Karenni States.

World remembers imprisoned Aung San Suu Kyi on 77th birthday. Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan publicly wished Aung San Suu Kyi a happy birthday on the deposed leader’s 77th birthday on June 19. “Wishing a Happy 77th Birthday to dear Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. May you continue to be blessed with good health, hope and fulfillment,” he said on social media and shared a picture of himself with the former state counselor. Tens of thousands of Burmese netizens echoed the sentiments, with diaspora communities in the United States, Australia, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, and other nations holding celebrations for her. Suu Kyi’s last public birthday party was held with NLD colleagues in 2020. Minor protests also occurred across the country. The state counselor has been detained since last year’s coup and a Naypyidaw military tribunal also handed her five years of imprisonment in April for corruption charges in addition to the six years kangaroo courts previously sentenced her to. She will face over 100 years of prison if she is found guilty of all the outstanding charges the junta has levied against her. The deposed leader is also facing new charges of corruption and in addition to her previous 18 charges, increasing her possible sentence to over 190 years in prison.

Aung San Suu Kyi herself today belatedly celebrated the occasion by cutting a cake with lawyers shortly before a court hearing, sources close to the court revealed.

Rights group appeal ethnic Wa man’s death sentence. The Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF) issued a statement on June 17 calling for the death sentence of an ethnic Wa man to be revoked. The young man had been sentenced to death by a military tribunal in connection with a bomb blast that occurred at a pro-regime rally in Tachileik on February 1. 24-year-old Ai Hseng Mong was detained in prison for four months before being handed the sentence under Sec. 54 of the Anti-Terrorism Law and Sec. 361/1 of the Penal Code. According to those released from the prison in which he is being detained, junta authorities alleged that the man was captured on CCTV camera footage passing the site of the blast on a motorcycle. The military is said to have severely beaten him into a confession; he reportedly pleaded guilty after more than a week of torture. Ai Hseng Mong is from Pang Hseng in the Wa Self-Administered Zone and is said to be a migrant worker with no political affiliation. He does not speak Burmese. Family and friends say they will appeal his sentence. Four people were killed and 34 people were injured when an IED exploded at a pro-military rally marking a year of the failed military coup on Feb. 1. | BURMESE

Missing teachers yet to be returned, as AA claims ARSA responsible. Two teachers believed to have been abducted by the militant Islamic Arakhine Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) have yet to be released. The snatching of the pair is part of a recent spate of abductions in Maungdaw township on the border with Bangladesh. Read more. | BURMESE

News by Region

KACHIN —Heavy artillery shells landed at a school where locals were celebrating the birthday of Aung San Suu Kyi in Hmawbon village, Hpakant township, at around 10.30 a.m. yesterday morning. A local told DVB that a woman in her 50s was seriously injured and another 17-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman had also been hit by shrapnel. “The shells were fired while we were holding [the celebration]. A woman was seriously injured in her arm and side… and was taken to hospital,” a resident said. The Burma Army is said to have fired three shells from a camp near Mazupyan village. Locals said that troops deliberately targeted the village as Hmawbon village had also held a birthday celebration for the deposed leader the previous year. | BURMESE

MAGWAY —Residents of villages in Mindon township have fled to the mountains of the Rakhine Yoma after the military committed arson attacks across villages in retaliation for their alleged support of PDF groups. Those affected say they are now in need of food and shelter. The monsoon season has worsened conditions for refugees across Burma who now face difficulties obtaining food and medical treatment. “[The displaced] have been hiding here for six months — as a CDM teacher, I have fled before as I could not stay in the city. I have been teaching child refugees here as much as possible as they cannot go to school, but I can only teach on days it does not rain. Refugees are camping far from each other as they fear being caught in the military’s shelling,” a CDM teacher living amongst the refugees said. Junta forces from Thayet township have been stationed in Mindon since last March and are said to have fired heavy artillery at the townships villages on an almost daily basis. | BURMESE

MANDALAY —An IED detonated at the entrance to the Kyaukse home of Burma’s former dictator Gen. Than Shwe on June 19, according to local sources. It is reported that the Kyaukse District Defense Force (KDDF) were responsible for the blast, and that soldiers were guarding the gate of the house at the time of the attack. “The number of casualties is unknown. They [the LDF] also shot at the gate,” a Kyaukse resident said. Two similar attacks have occurred outside of Than Shwe’s home, yet no casualties were reported. | BURMESE

SAGAING —One person was killed and another was wounded after the military shelled Palwe Shwe village in Katha township at around 2 p.m. on June 19. A woman in her 30s was killed and a man was injured after the military fired shells from a landing craft on the Ayeyarwady River. “I heard that a villager from Palwe Shwe village was killed, and a wounded person was taken to Katha Hospital,” a local told DVB. Three craft ferrying around 200 soldiers had traversed the river from Katha town to Palwe Shwe village on the Ayeyarwady’s east bank. Local defense forces from Katha township urged locals to immediately evacuate the area as clashes are expected to break out as the military advances. | BURMESE

SAGAING —The Civilians Defense and Security Organization Myaung (CDSOM) local defense force reported on June 18 that it had returned ten motorcycles, worth roughly K100 lakh (US$5,400), to owners who had their vehicles “unjustly confiscated” by the military. The motorcycles were seized from residents of Balwe village, Chaung Oo township, when the military raided the village and set fire to dwellings.

SAGAING —A dismembered corpse was discovered in a bag in a refuse dump in Yinmarbin township’s Le Ngauk village on the evening of June 18, according to locals. A torched motorcycle was discovered near the remains. “The body was already mutilated. The person was not a Le Ngauk villager. A motorcycle was also set on fire. When the military entered this side of Le Ngauk village on the night of June 16, they killed people they encountered on the road and hid the bodies,” a local told DVB. “We entered the scene after the military left the village and saw that a motorcycle had been set on fire… We did not know anyone was killed at first — only now did we learn about his murder,” a member of a local defense force said. | BURMESE

SAGAING —Than Zaw Thun, a district level military-backed administrator, was shot dead inside his car enroute to Monywa, the region’s capital city, on the morning of June 19. The 40-year-old, owner of the Crown Construction Company, was driving to his business premises when he was shot dead by two unidentified men on a motorcycle in Chan Myawaddy ward, locals said. “He was shot directly through the temple and died on the spot,” an eyewitness told DVB. Residents said that security forces blocked streets inside the city, arresting and harassing passersby shortly after the attack. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the killing. According to Chan Myawaddy ward residents, explosions and gunfire could be heard in the ward on Sunday afternoon. At least five IEDs were detonated in the city on June 18 yet no injuries were reported. | BURMESE

SAGAING —More people were forced to flee villages in northern Kanbalu township, Kanbulu district, after the military began an ongoing offensive against the area on June, locals told DVB. The military has cut access to internet and mobile networks in the township. “We have been fleeing for ten days. All mobile lines and internet access was cut off when the military started its offensive. Residents from 12 villages between Kanbalu and Kyun Hla townships have fled,” a local man said. Nearly 5,000 people have fled the offensive in the past ten day, villagers claim. | BURMESE

N. SHAN —More than K7 million (US$3,800) worth of yaba methamphetamine pills were seized at a Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) controlled checkpoint on the road from Kyaukme to Mogok on June 18. According to the TNLA, the drugs were seized when the EAO investigated a motorcycle traveling through Kyaukme to Mogok on suspicion of drug trafficking. The TNLA discovered more than 240 packages of the drug. The TNLA said it will prosecute Mandalay resident Maung Aung Phyo, who allegedly trafficked the drugs, under its Anti-Narcotics Laws. Kyaukme is a township infamous for drug use and trafficking, with locals telling DVB that they believe more than half of young to middle-aged adults regularly use hard drugs. Rates of addiction in Kyaukme, as in many parts of the country, have significantly worsened since the coup. | BURMESE

S. SHAN —A member of the military proxy USDP was shot dead in Pindaya town, Danu Self-Administered Zone, on the morning of June 18, according to local sources. The victim, Kyaw Nyein, had run as a USDP candidate during the 2020 election and lost, residents said. “He was known to be a military informant and supporter of the Burma Army. It is not yet known who conducted the attack,” a local told DVB. The victim’s family members have not yet commented on allegations made by locals. State media has yet to acknowledge the attack, and no group has claimed responsibility for the killing. The military has attempted to fund its own militias in the Danu SAZ over the past few months, forcibly enlisting ethnic Danu men for the first time. | BURMESE

TANINTHARYI —Junta-backed administrators and non-CDM staff undertook door-to-door visits of CDM civil servants in an effort to force them to return to work in villages of Dawei’s Yebyu township last week, according to locals. “They said they are asking for help as they do not have enough teachers. I did not accept their pleas as they already fired me for my participation in CDM,” a CDM staff member who was targeted in the recruitment drive said. The military’s efforts to rehire CDM staff are being reported across Burma’s rural areas, where military administrations have roundly failed in operating social services. The regime fired more than 700 education workers in Yebyu township alone for their involvement with the CDM. Only 99 of 159 schools in Yebyu have opened for the school year, according to the military’s Ministry of Information. CDM staff operating under the NUG’s parallel Yebyu Township Board of Education have successfully implemented a home-based curriculum since last year. | BURMESE

TANINTHARYI —Junta forces stormed around 50 houses, arresting at least 22 people in Launglon township between June 16 to 19, according to residents. Those arrested are reportedly civilians, CDM staff, and members of strike groups, and are being detained at Launglon Police Station. “Arrests are occurring day and night, 30 military vehicles are going around the city and making arrests,” a youth from Launglon said. The detained include five women and 17 men, most of whom are believed to be around 40 years old. Around 200 military personnel have been deployed in Launglon since June 14 and have conducted arrests and search operations in forests and hills where they consider PDFs to be operating. Launglon is a stronghold of Tanintharyi’s anti-military movement. | BURMESE