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More Burma Army troops flee into India; NUG documents 4,565 human rights violations in 2023

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

More Burma Army troops flee into India

At least 178 Burma Army personnel fled to Bundukbanga village, Lawngtlai District, in India’s Mizoram State on Jan. 17, Indian media reported. The exodus of troops occurred after the Arakan Army (AA) took control of Paletwa Township in southern Chin State on Jan. 14.

India’s army chief General Manoj Pande said that at least 416 Burma Army personnel have crossed the border into India since November. The United News of India reported that a total of 636 soldiers have sought refuge in Mizoram State since the 2021 military coup. It went on to state that only 359 had been repatriated to Burma.

At least 104 soldiers, who had fled Chin resistance forces’ attacks into Mizoram last November, were relocated to Moreh in neighboring Manipur State by India and allowed to cross back to Burma. Another 255 soldiers were repatriated from the Mizoram capital, Aizawl’s Lengpui airport, on Jan. 2 and 9. Pande blamed attacks by the military, the People’s Defense Force (PDF) and Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) for forcing soldiers to cross into India.

NUG documents 4,565 human rights violations in 2023

The National Unity Government (NUG) Minister of Human Rights, Aung Myo Min, told DVB in an interview that his ministry has documented 4,565 human rights violations perpetrated by the military in 2023, including its deadliest attack this year on Jan. 7 when an airstrike was carried out on Kanaan village, Tamu Township, of Sagaing Region. 

“It was very extraordinary because it is the military that targeted the Christian church and schools that caused the death of the 17 civilians, including nine children, who are under 18. This is a clear indiscriminate attack against the civilians.”

Aung Myo Min added that 1,342 civilians were killed last year. At least 868 of them died in massacres of more than five people. He acknowledged the number of killed is likely higher, but underlined the challenge of collecting information from conflict-affected areas.

Social media spurs hatred toward Rohingya in Indonesia

A hate campaign on social media platforms such as TikTok has spread false information about Rohingya refugees arriving in Indonesia’s Aceh province, The Guardian reported. Watch this DVB English News explainer to understand the context.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) highlighted the incident where Indonesian protesters forcefully relocated 137 Rohingya from a temporary shelter in Banda Aceh last month. This attack was caused by an online campaign of hate speech and misinformation.

Ann Mayman, the UNHCR representative in Indonesia, said that it is documenting anti-Rohingya social media posts. “This was professionally-made and there were a lot of bots involved,” she told The Guardian. There are over 1,700 Rohingya staying temporarily in Aceh Province. Indonesian law guarantees them protection.

News by Region

The Arakan Army showcases tanks it seized after it took control of Paletwa Township in southern Chinland on Jan. 14. (Credit: Arakan Army)

ARAKAN—Six civilians were killed and at least 15 were injured by airstrikes carried out on Kyauktaw Township Jan. 17, Western News reported. At least eight houses were damaged. Fighting between the Arakan Army (AA) and the Burma Army has intensified across northern Arakan and southern Chinland. 

“All phone and internet lines have been disconnected in Arakan State. Only Ooredoo and the military-owned Mytel communication lines are operational for phone calls. However, internet services have been unavailable for about a month,” a resident told DVB. 

AYEYARWADY—The Pyapon Township Court sentenced fourteen men to death last year, including several between the ages of 14 to 20, for allegedly being PDF members. 

“The district judge sentenced them to death as ordered by the military. The young men were not given any legal defense,” said an unnamed lawyer. A Pyapon political activist claimed the young men were tortured and forced to confess to being PDF members. 

MANDALAY—Three soldiers and one PDF fighter were killed during an attack on Burma Army troops in Mandalay on Jan. 16. “We attacked them and there was a shootout,” said a PDF spokesperson. Mandalay residents stated that troops frequently stop vehicles and pedestrians to demand money for minor infractions. 

SHAN—A road bypassing Einaing bridge near Lashio was destroyed by the Burma Army on Jan. 17. “There is no way to go to Lashio and people will suffer,” said a Lashio resident. 

The road is mainly used by people traveling between Muse, Lashio, and Namtu. Einaing bridge on Lashio-Mansan-Namtu road was destroyed by the Burma Army on Dec. 31. 

Truck drivers claimed that all bypasses around Lashio have been destroyed to deter attacks from the Brotherhood Alliance on the biggest city and regional command headquarters in northern Shan State. 

Read our latest op-ed: Humanitarian Dialogue – Discreet or Cowboy Diplomacy? DVB English News is on X, FB, IG, Threads & TikTok. Subscribe to us on YouTube.

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