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Pa-O National Liberation Army clashes with military; India to build fence along its border with Burma

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Pa-O National Liberation Army clashes with military

A Pa-O National Liberation Army (PNLA/PNLO) official told BBC Burmese that the military opened fire on its convoy during a vehicle inspection in Sanpu village, Hopong Township, located in the Pa-O Self-Administered Zone of southern Shan State on Jan. 21. 

“Many people in the village fled to the forest. I saw some houses were burned but did not dare to extinguish them,” said a Sanpu resident. Regime media reported that fighting broke out between the military and the PNLA when weapons were discovered in one of its vehicles. 

A PNLA member allegedly tried to burn ammunition which caused an explosion. Twenty-seven homes in Hopong Township burned down as a result. The military claimed it seized weapons from the vehicles. The PNLA added that some of its members were detained. The PNLA is a signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) and has met with the regime in Naypyidaw for “peace talks” since the 2021 military coup.

India to build fence along its border with Burma

India’s Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced on Jan. 20 that his government will build a fence along the 1,643 km-long India-Burma border, the Statesman reported

The building of the fence coincides with New Delhi’s decision to end the Free Movement Regime (FMR) between Burma and India. Under the FMR, Indian and Burma nationals could travel up to 16 km on either side of the border for up to two weeks without a visa under a border pass system.

Over 40,000 refugees from Burma have arrived in Mizoram and 6,000 in Manipur since the 2021 military coup. Ethnic Mizo share close cultural ties with Burma’s Chin people and ethnic Naga live on both sides of the border.

Ma U village in Monywa Township of Sagaing Region was burned down by the Burma Army in July 2023. (Credit: CJ)

Nearly 80,000 homes burned down since coup

Data for Myanmar stated that nearly 80,000 homes have been burned down nationwide from February 2021 to the end of 2023. It calculated that the military had burned down at least 29,689 in 2023, 46,937 in 2022 and 2,111 homes in 2021, 

Last year, Data for Myanmar documented 1,501 homes burned down in Mandalay Region, 1,096 in Kachin State, 606 in Tanintharyi Region, 322 in Karenni State, 171 in Bago Region, 145 in Karen State, 150 in Arakan State, 20 in Ayeyarwady Region, 18 in Shan State, and one in Yangon.

Of the total 80,000 homes burned down over the last three years, 60,000 were in Sagaing and 12,000 were in Magway regions. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) stated on Jan. 12 that the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) now exceeds 2.6 million people nationwide.

News by Region

AYEYARWADY—The Kyonpyaw District Court sentenced five people, including a Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) teacher, to four years each under the Counter-Terrorism Act on Jan. 19. Nay Lin Tun, Zay Htet Paing, Kyaw Lin Soe, Soe Min Tun and Tun Win were arrested in September 2023. 

“They received their prison sentences after four months,” said an unnamed source close to the court. Their homes were sealed off by the military in November after they were accused of having connections with the CDM, labeled a “terrorist group” by the regime. 

BAGO—One regime-appointed administrator was killed and another was injured by unknown assailants on a bridge in Inboak village, Minhla Township, on Jan. 21. They were shot after they returned from recruiting members for a pro-military militia. 

“One of them died on that bridge while another was wounded in his face. The police took the body as well as the wounded administrator,” said an Inboak resident. Locals claimed that the People’s Defense Force (PDF) warned administrators in Minhla not to recruit for pro-military militias. 

SAGAING—The PDF claimed on Jan. 21 that it now controls half of Depayin Township after seizing control of government buildings, a fire department, government housing and the entry gates of the town. 

“We would say we can control half of the township. The [military] are not fighting back but are staying inside police stations in the town,” said a PDF spokesperson. The PDF said it will continue to attack military outposts, police stations and administration offices in the township. 

KACHIN—Four civilians were killed and six others were injured in fighting between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the military in Hsengtaung village, Hpakant Township on Jan. 20. 

The KIA and PDF ambushed a military convoy that came to retake the Hwayhkar strategic outpost. “The [military] fired back when they were attacked,” said a Hsengtaung resident. They are concerned that more fighting will take place. Some homes were damaged by artillery. 

Read our latest op-ed: Three years of Myanmar Spring: Progress and blind spots. DVB English News is on X, FB, IG, Threads, TikTok & YouTube.

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