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Over 3,000 freed in prisoner amnesty to mark Burmese New Year; Karen National Union cleans up Myawaddy


Over 3,000 freed in prisoner amnesty to mark Burmese New Year

The military regime ordered the release of 3,303 prisoners from prisons across Burma on April 17, for the Burmese New Year. Hkalam Samson, the former chair of the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC), Zaw Win, the Kachin State Minister of Immigration, and Nay Win, the Kachin State Minister of Social Affairs, were some of the political prisoners freed in the amnesty. 

Eight foreign nationals were also freed, according to the regime. It stated that those released from prison will have to serve the remainder of their sentences if caught violating the law. Prisoners convicted for murder, rape, the Explosive Substances Act, Arms Act 1878, the Arms Act 1949, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law, Natural Disaster Management Law, Anti-Corruption Law and Counter-Terrorism Law were not included in the amnesty.  

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) has documented a total of 26,524 people arrested for political reasons by the regime since it took power after the 2021 military coup. At least 20,351 are still being held by them in Burma’s prisons. 

Aung San Suu Kyi and Win Myint moved to house arrest

State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint have been moved from their prison cells and placed under house arrest in the capital Naypyidaw. 

An anonymous source from the Department of Prisons told DVB that the regime’s Ministry of Home Affairs ordered the transfer of the two jailed leaders – who were arrested on Feb. 1, 2021 during the military coup and have been held at Naypyidaw and Taungoo prisons most recently.  

“Since the weather is extremely hot, it is not only for Aung San Suu Kyi…For all those, who need necessary precautions, especially elderly prisoners, we are working to protect them from heatstroke,” said regime spokesperson Zaw Min Tun. Read more.

Karen National Union cleans up Myawaddy

Saw Neh Da Htoo, the tactical commander of Karen National Union (KNU), told DVB that it is clearing Myawaddy of unexploded ordinances and is ensuring that no regime troops remain in the town. The Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) seized control of Myawaddy after 200 troops stationed at the last military outpost fled on April 11. 

“We are trying to find ways that will cause the least harm to civilians,” said Saw Neh Da Htoo. He added that the KNU may take legal action against some surrendered troops but claimed that others will be allowed to live as civilians, if they refuse to return to the military. 

The KNU repelled a regime attack on Myawaddy on Sunday, “There is no need to worry that they [military] might retake the town. We fought with them and destroyed a tank and three trucks so far,” said Bo Saw Kaw, a commander of the resistance group Cobra Column. 

Pilgrims flock to Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon to mark the beginning of the Burmese New Year on April 17. (Credit: CJ)

News by Region

ARAKAN—Humanitarian organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) stated that its office and pharmacy in Buthidaung Township, located in northern Arakan, was burnt down on Monday. It added that none of its staff were injured but all medical stock and equipment were destroyed. The statement did not assign blame. 

More than 200 homes in Buthidaung were burned down and thousands have been displaced from their homes in the town due to fighting between the Arakan Army (AA) and the military. MSF called on both sides not to violate international humanitarian law by targeting healthcare facilities. 

KACHIN—Nan Lwin, an expert on China at the Institute for Strategy and Policy (ISP Myanmar), told DVB that the capture of the border town of Loije and trade routes with China by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) gives it a bargaining power should it choose to negotiate with the regime.

“They have their kind of bargaining power in terms of negotiation in peace talks if China pressures them a lot,” she said. Nan Lwin added that China has been pressuring the KIA to engage in talks with Naypyidaw. Fighting between the KIA and the military intensified near the China border in January. 

SAGAING—A man was killed by artillery at a village beside the Chindwin River in Salingyi Township on Tuesday. “He had a three-year-old boy and wife,” said a Salingyi resident. Two civilians have been killed and three homes have been destroyed by airstrikes and artillery fired by the military since April 13.  

TANINTHARYI—Six military personnel were killed during a KNLA attack on the Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 107 in Myeik Township on Monday. The KNU claimed that 48 military personnel, including a battalion commander, surrendered. LIB 107 troops were intercepted by the KNLA after they were ordered to defend the Htihta strategic outpost. The KNU reiterated that it is holding troops who have surrendered in accordance with the Geneva Convention. 

Watch this: A vocational school run by the resistance to military rule. DVB English News is on X, Facebook, Instagram, Threads & TikTok. Subscribe on YouTube. Follow us on Spotify.


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