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Over 9,000 released in Independence Day amnesty; Min Aung Hlaing reiterates pledge to hold election

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Over 9,000 released in Independence Day amnesty

The regime announced that it granted amnesty to 9,652 prisoners across the country on Jan. 4 in commemoration of Independence Day. At least 114 foreign prisoners, included in the amnesty, will be released and deported. Crowds gathered in front of Yangon’s Insein Prison hoping to be reunited with jailed relatives and loved ones. 

It is not yet known how many political prisoners were released yesterday. Myanmar Pressphoto Agency (MPA) journalist Kaung Sett Lin was released. He was arrested during a crackdown on an anti-coup protest in Yangon on Dec. 5, 2021. Model Nang Mwe San and actress Thinzar Wint Kyaw were reportedly freed. 

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) states that since the 2021 military coup, a total of 25,730 people have been arrested with 19,930 currently in detention. And 8,457 have received sentences. A total 162 prisoners have been sentenced to death. 

Min Aung Hlaing reiterates pledge to hold election

Regime leader Min Aung Hlaing said in an Independence Day speech on Jan. 4 that a general election inclusive of all political parties will be held, and that he will hand over power to an elected government. A trial census was conducted in October 2023 and preparations are being made to hold a nationwide census in 2024 to update voter lists. 

Min Aung Hlaing did not mention a set date for his planned election. The military regime has repeatedly extended the state of emergency since the coup on Feb. 1, 2021. Its 2008 constitution states that elections must be held within six months after the end of the state of emergency.

Artillery shells injures five in Chinese border town

Five Chinese citizens were injured after an artillery shell landed in Nansan, China on Jan. 3, Reuters reported. Chinese officials confirmed that the artillery shell was fired from Laukkai in the Kokang Self-Administered Zone of northern Shan State. 

Fighting between the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the military has been ongoing since Oct. 27 when it launched Operation 1027 with its fellow Brotherhood Alliance members, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Arakan Army (AA).

“China once again asks all parties to the conflict to cease fire and stop fighting, and take measures to prevent the recurrence of such vicious incidents,” said Wang Wenbin, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson. He added that China will take necessary actions to protect the safety and security of its citizens.

News by Region

A house was destroyed by an airstrike in Alal Kyun village of Kyauktaw Township on Jan. 3. (Credit: CJ)

ARAKAN—Kyauktaw residents said that one civilian was killed, 12 were injured, and more than 1,000 were forced to flee after an airstrike was carried out on Alal Kyun village, Kyauktaw Township, on Jan. 3. 

“Two thirds of the people from the village fled and the remainder are staying in fear,” said an Alal Kyun resident. The village has a population of around 1,500 but only around 500 residents remain. 

More than 60 people were arrested after being chased by a military vehicle near Shwepya market in Sittwe on Jan. 4. “If they find some images or evidence connected to the Arakan Army, they will be charged,” said a Sittwe resident.

More than 300 civilians have been arrested and charged by the military for alleged ties to the AA. Fighting between the AA the military resumed on Nov. 13, 2023 following a year-long humanitarian ceasefire. 

BAGO—The People’s Defense Force (PDF) claimed that it captured five small military outposts in Kanyutkwin town, Phyu Township, along the old Yangon-Mandalay highway on Jan. 4. “Around 20 soldiers were killed and the rest fled. We did not seize any weapons,” said a PDF member. 

Kanyutkwin residents have been forced to flee their homes due to the fighting between the PDF and the military. The exact number of casualties is unknown. 

CHIN—The Brotherhood Alliance claimed that the AA captured a military outpost in Paletwa Township and seized a significant cache of weapons on Jan. 3. No casualties have been reported. The AA captured another Burma Army outpost in the same township on Jan. 2. 

“The military regime has been firing heavy weapons and conducting air raids daily,” a Paletwa resident told DVB. Twenty-one military bases and outposts have been seized by the AA in Paletwa.

KACHIN—The Brotherhood Alliance claimed that six military personnel were killed and a major was arrested after a helicopter was shot down by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) on Jan. 3. 

A Laiza resident said the helicopter crashed around Nam Pan mountain in Waingmaw Township. The helicopter was delivering supplies to a military base in Parjawng, Myitkyina district, when it crashed. 

Tune-in to the Weekly Briefing every Friday. Listen on Spotify, Apple, Amazon or YouTube Music. DVB English News is available wherever you listen to podcasts.

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