Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Monk protests spread from Burma to US; Airline and bus services to Lashio suspended due to fighting

Monk protests spread from Burma to US

A protest was held on Tuesday by Buddhist monks and members of the Burmese diaspora in Washington, D.C. in response to the killing of Sayadaw Bhaddanta Munindabhivamsa in Mandalay on June 19

“We will go on strike until justice is served for the monks who have been arrested and killed,” said Panyinda, a monk from Shwe Thitsar Meditation Center in New York State.

“We are deeply concerned every time they arrest and kill religious leaders and destroy religious buildings,” Reverend A. Roy Medley, from the American Baptist Churches USA, told DVB.

On June 23, monks from Chaung-U Township of Sagaing Region took action against the regime in Naypyidaw, which seized power after the 2021 military coup. They are refusing to accept alms from anyone associated with the military. Monks in at least 14 other townships across Sagaing, Magway, and Tanintharyi regions have joined them.

Airline and bus services to Lashio suspended due to fighting

Domestic airlines stated that flights to Lashio, in northern Shan State, have been suspended indefinitely on Wednesday due to fighting between the military and the Brotherhood Alliance, which includes the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA). 

“We don’t know exactly when the flights will resume but the airport is currently shut down,” said a spokesperson from Fly With Dream, an airline ticket agent based in Yangon. Myanmar Airlines International and Mingalar Aviation Services have both canceled all flights to Lashio. 

All roads into Lashio have been blocked by the military, the MNDAA and the TNLA on Tuesday. Northern Shan State’s Shwe Phee Myay News Agency reported that bus companies running from Lashio to Yangon suspended services on July 2. Thirteen civilians, including three children, were killed and 12 were reportedly injured by artillery July 3-4.

Burma nationals held at Imphal Central Jail in Manipur State of India were repatriated on June 11. (Credit: Myanmar embassy in New Delhi)

Burma nationals end hunger strike at India’s Imphal Central Jail

Sixty-six prisoners from Burma, held at the Imphal Central Jail in India’s Manipur State capital, ended their 18-day hunger strike on July 3. The prisoners were protesting their impending deportation to Burma. India for Myanmar is a New Delhi-based group calling on the Indian government to stop the deportations. 

“During the [hunger] strike, the detainees rejected all support from the jail authorities and survived solely on vegetables from the jail farm. Consequently, some are [facing] serious health conditions,” Salai Dokhar, the founder of India for Myanmar, told DVB. He added that 200 Burma nationals are being held in prisons across northeastern India despite having served their sentences and paid any fines incurred.

Since 2021, an estimated 70,000 Burma nationals have fled into India seeking refuge. Manipur State Chief Minister N Biren Singh has blamed them of inciting communal violence and began deporting a total of 5,457 in May. Seventy-six were released from the prison and deported from India on June 11.

News by Region 

CHINLAND—The Chinland Defense Force (CDF) Matupi stated Wednesday that many homes and religious buildings were destroyed in Matupi town. “The military carried out [retaliatory] artillery attacks and airstrikes on the town, causing mass destruction,” said a CDF Matupi Brigade 1 spokesperson. 

The Union Theological College (UTC), the Matupi Baptist Church, and the That Dun Memorial Baptist Church were among the buildings destroyed, according to the CDF Matupi. The Chin Brotherhood seized Matupi on June 29. “We will return once everything is stable,” said a Matupi resident. Chin resistance forces now control 11 towns across Chinland.

MANDALAY—The Mandalay People’s Defense Force (MPDF) claimed on Wednesday that it had seized control of six military outposts, including Nweyon Police Station, in Singu Township. The MPDF arrested 13 military personnel and seized more than 4o weapons. 

“We are currently attacking more military targets in Singu Township with the help of the Singu PDF,” an MPDF spokesperson told DVB. He warned residents not to go near military outposts or its personnel. The MPDF seized eight military outposts, including an Air Defense Force base, in Madaya Township since “Operation Shan-Man” was launched on June 25.  

NAYPYIDAW—The regime stated on Wednesday that police arrested members of an alleged drug trafficking gang led by Wai Phyo, also known as Wai Min Phyo, the former editor-in-chief of Eleven Media Group. Police reportedly seized 13.44 million tablets of methamphetamine.

“Two young men were arrested in Naypyidaw and the others were arrested in Yamethin [Township of Mandalay Region],” a source close to the anti-narcotics police force told DVB on the condition of anonymity. 

A total of nine alleged drug traffickers were arrested. All were charged under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law. Wai Phyo was reportedly detained in Yangon’s Shwepyitha Township along with 20 billion kyat ($6.1 million USD) worth of drugs on June 25.

SHAN— The Shan State Progress Party (SSPP/SSA) announced on July 3 that one Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) member was killed by the SSA during fighting between the two Shan armed groups in Laihka Township, located in southern Shan State, on July 1. 

“RCSS forces launched an offensive attack on an SSA camp, leading to a battle that lasted approximately 20 minutes,” stated SSPP Info. It accused the RCSS of causing civilian casualties in the region. The RCSS has not issued a response. A ceasefire signed between the SSA and the RCSS in November 2023 broke down last month as fighting resumed in Laihka and Lawksawk townships.

The Weekly Briefing airs every Friday on YouTube, Spotify, Apple, Audible or Amazon. DVB English News is available wherever you get podcasts. Listen on Spotify & YouTube Music.

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