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Over 200,000 Arakan State residents in need of assistance; Economy projected to grow by one percent

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Over 200,000 Arakan State residents in need of assistance

An aid group in Arakan State said the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) has reached over 200,000 – excluding the 142,00 stateless Rohingya IDPs – from the fighting between the Arakan Army (AA) and the military prior to the 2022 informal ceasefire and following the resumption of fighting on Nov. 13. 

“Now, we’re sheltering at a monastery, sleeping on the floor and eating unhealthy food and facing many difficulties living,” said a Pauktaw Township resident who fled his home during an attack by the military last month. 

The U.N. states that approximately 110,000 people have become IDPs in Karen, Karenni, Arakan and Shan states, as well as Sagaing, Magway and Bago regions from Dec. 1-8. The number of IDPs nationwide exceeds two million. Read more here

Economy projected to grow by one percent

The World Bank projected that Burma’s economy will only grow one percent by March 2024 due to intensifying conflict, trade and logistics disruptions, the volatility of the kyat, and the impact of inflation on businesses and households. 

The World Bank report “Myanmar Economic Monitor: Challenges amid Conflict” stated that escalating violence since October has increased the cost of transporting goods and has affected trade routes. Economic growth is expected to remain stagnant through 2025.

“The economic situation has deteriorated and uncertainty about the future is increasing. High food price inflation has had a particularly severe impact on the poor, who spend a larger portion of their income on food and who tend to live in areas where prices have risen at a faster pace,” said Mariam Sherman, the World Bank director for Burma, Cambodia and Laos. 

China to continue talks between military and Brotherhood Alliance

China’s foreign ministry stated that it is willing to continue facilitating discussions later this month between the military and the Brotherhood Alliance, including the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), and the Arakan Army (AA).

Regime spokesperson Zaw Min Tun announced on Dec. 11 that talks between the military and the Brotherhood Alliance were brokered by China. It was unclear when or where the meeting took place and what was discussed. Since Oct. 27, resistance forces have seized over 200 military bases and 20 towns from the military nationwide. Read more here.

News by Region

Several homes were damaged or destroyed by airstrikes in Namkham Township on Dec. 10-11. (Credit: TNLA)

SHAN—The TNLA stated that three civilians were killed and at least eight were injured by airstrikes on Namkham and Muse 105 Mile Trade Zone on Dec. 11-12. “Six fighter jets fired over Namkham on Dec. 12,” said a Namkham resident. 

The TNLA claimed that the military carried out nearly 200 airstrikes and fired at least 350 artillery shells during fighting in Namkham Township over the last 30 days. 

BAGO—Around 100 military and police deserters were returned to Tharyarwady Prison on Dec. 12 after they were freed. An unknown number were released from prisons across the country on Dec. 7. They were ordered to return to their previous posts.

Two others accused of desertion have reportedly been sent back to other prisons in Bago. A source from the police in Pyay District claimed they were sent back to jail as they were deemed untrustworthy. Released prisoners were also reportedly returned to a prison in Pathein, Ayeyarwady Region.

MON—Thaton residents said the house of the mother-in-law of the regime’s Acting President Myint Swe was bombed on Dec. 11. “The bomb was thrown inside the house but it exploded near the fence. No one was injured despite there being people in the house,” said a nearby resident. The Burma Army investigated and guarded the house until Dec. 12. 

TANINTHARYI—Kaleinaung Township residents said three police officers were killed when unidentified assailants opened fire on their vehicle near Tharyarmon village on Dec. 12. “The vehicle was severely damaged by the gunshots,” said a Kaleinaung resident. The officers were stationed at the Kaleinaung Township Police station.

Dawei Watch reported that two of its journalists, Aung San Oo and Myo Myint Oo, were arrested at their homes in Myeik on Dec. 11. “Their families have been told by the Burma Army that they were arrested for covering the news. Reporting is not a crime and therefore they should not be arrested for it. We demand the immediate release of those who have been arrested unlawfully,” Dawei Watch stated online. 

The two journalists are currently being questioned at an interrogation center, according to Dawei Watch. The Burma Army seized two laptops and mobile phones belonging to the journalists and their relatives during the arrest. 

Read our latest op-ed: The political significance of Operation 1027. DVB English News is on X, FB, IG, Threads & TikTok. Subscribe on YouTube.

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