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National Unity Government claims 17 killed in airstrike; Over 40 civilians killed in first week of January

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

National Unity Government claims 17 killed in airstrike

The National Unity Government (NUG) stated that 17 civilians were killed and 19 were injured in an airstrike on Kanan village, Tamu Township, Sagaing Region on Jan. 7. Nine children under age 17 were among the victims. 

The NUG added that it has evidence that the military used heavy weapons against the civilians in Kanan, which is located near Khampat, a town under the control of the NUG and People’s Defense Force (PDF) since it was seized by resistance groups on Nov. 7. 

At least 1,017 women and 627 children have been killed by the military since the 2021 coup. The NUG called on the U.N. to take coordinated action to prosecute the military for its crimes through regional courts under universal jurisdiction.

Lao Special Envoy meets with Min Aung Hlaing

The new Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Special Envoy to Burma, Alounkeo Kittikhoun, met with Min Aung Hlaing and regime officials in Naypyidaw on Jan. 10. 

Regime media reported that the ASEAN Special Envoy to Burma will also meet with leaders of ethnic armed groups and political parties in Yangon and Naypyidaw this week. Kittikhoun previously served as an official in the Lao Prime Minister’s Office and as envoy to the U.N. 

He was appointed by Laos on Jan. 1. Indonesia, the previous chair, and Malaysia, the future chair, have formed a Troika with Laos to deal with Burma’s political crisis. No Indonesian representative accompanied Kittikhoun on his trip. The ASEAN Five Point Consensus has failed to stop violence in Burma.

New Mon State Party holds congress

The 11th Congress of New Mon State Party (NMSP) has been taking place at its headquarters in Mon State’s Ye Chaung Pyar region since Dec. 25. Nai Hong Sar is the NMSP chairperson. The congress is held every four years to elect new leaders and to enact new political and military policies.

“We will see how the party makes decisions that represent the whole Mon people when revolutionary forces across the country have been fighting against the dictatorship,” said Than Soe Naing, a political analyst. 

A new chairperson will be elected. Some NMSP members have criticized it for not protecting members of the community from fighting in the state. The NMSP signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) in 2018 and has participated in talks with the regime since the 2021 military coup. 

An airstrike destroyed several homes in Namhsan Township in Shan State on Jan. 7. (Credit: PSLF/TNLA)

Over 40 civilians killed in first week of January

The Network for Human Rights Documentation – ND Burma – stated that over 40 civilians, including three children, were killed and more than 30 were injured by military airstrikes in Sagaing, Bago, Shan, and Arakan States during the first week of January. 

Two civilians were killed by landmines. More than 2.6 million people are now Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) nationwide and are in need of emergency humanitarian assistance. 

News by Region

ARAKAN—Three people were killed and three were injured after the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) opened fire in Tatmachaung village, Buthidaung Township on Jan. 8. Six ARSA members wearing face masks entered the village and shot six villagers. 

Tatmachaung residents claimed that the attacks occurred after the villagers arrested two members of ARSA on Dec. 31 and handed them over to the military. 

BAGO—Lawyers said that the police re-arrested and charged National League for Democracy (NLD) party Hluttaw representative Aung Myint under the Unlawful Association Act on Jan. 9. He had been freed in an amnesty on Jan. 4. 

“I have been told that he was sent back to Thayarwaddy prison. He was released on Jan. 4 but was detained at the police station and is not allowed to meet with his family,” said an unnamed lawyer.  

Aung Myint was arrested on Feb. 10, 2021 and charged under the Natural Disaster Management Law. He was sentenced to two years in prison. He was given an additional one-and-a-half years for incitement on Nov. 12, 2022. 

SAGAING—Residents claimed more than 400 houses were burned down in Tamu Township in December 2023. “The [military] are targeting the Thadou Kuki tribe as many arsons were carried out in villages where Kukis are living,” said a member of Kuki Students’ Organization. 

Data for Myanmar states that 58,397 houses were destroyed by the military in arson attacks in Sagaing Region between 2021 and October 2023. 

YANGON—Residents with National Registration Cards (NRC) from Karenni State and Sagaing Region have been blackmailed by highway police when traveling along the Yangon-Mandalay highway. 

“I brought my employees from work who are holding Sagaing NRCs for a day trip. [Police] questioned us for hours. We paid 20,000 kyat and everything was okay, but we were not allowed to go on our trip and were forced to return to Yangon,” said a Yangon resident. 

A Karenni man traveling to Yangon from Mandalay said police accused him of being a member of the PDF and questioned him. He was let go when he paid the police 10,000 kyat. 

(Exchange rate: $1 USD = 3,450 kyat)

Tickets are still available for DVB Short Docs 2023 at Vega Scene in Oslo, Norway on Jan. 15. The documentary films will be introduced. All 10 are available to watch on-demand.

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