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Pa Zi Gyi residents displaced; Min Aung Hlaing one of TIME’s ‘most influential people’

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

A deserted Pa Zi Gyi village

Pa Zi Gyi residents flee homes following last week’s airstrikes

The National Unity Government (NUG) stated that the death toll from a regime airstrike on April 11 is continuing to mount. It reported 168 people killed, including 25 kids under age 14, in Kanbalu Township of Sagaing Region as of Sunday, April 16. Sixteen people are reported to be in critical condition. Some of those killed were from neighboring villages. Pa Zi Gyi is home to an estimated 1,400 people. The NUG denied accusations that there were weapons and ammunition at the local administration office, where 200 people were gathered for an opening ceremony when the airstrikes occurred. Trauma counselors have been provided to the survivors. The NUG vowed to bring justice to the victims of Pa Zi Gyi and urged the international community to impose immediate sanctions on the military. “If international action is not taken, especially the aviation-related embargoes, including MOGE, which is financially supporting the terrorist military council, many more incidents like this are likely to happen,” said Aung Myo Min, the NUG Minister for Human Rights.

Regional groups ‘condemn’ airstrikes and return of PDF

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) condemned the airstrikes on Pa Zi Gyi village. It stated: “All forms of violence must end immediately, particularly the use of force against civilians.” ASEAN Chair Indonesia re-stated the regional bloc’s commitment to the Five-Point Consensus in Burma. The ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) condemned Thailand’s deportation of three People’s Defense Force (PDF) members to Burma. “For far too long, the Thai authorities have been forcing asylum seekers and refugees back to Myanmar where they are at risk of persecution. This is a clear violation of  international human rights law, norms and principles,” said Mercy Barends, the APHR chairperson. The three PDF members entered Thailand on April 1 to seek medical treatment, but were stopped by Thai immigration near Mae Sot. Thai authorities handed them over to Burma’s Border Guard Force (BGF) on April 4. 

DVB Weekly Cartoon: The tiny dictator stages his latest coup on TIME

TIME lists Min Aung Hlaing one of world’s ‘most influential people’

Min Aung Hlaing is one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2023, listed alongside U.S. President Joe Biden and Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Since Min Aung Hlaing’s 2021 military coup, nearly 1.7 million people have been displaced from their homes due to atrocities committed by his army. Last month, Min Aung Hlaing stated that “decisive action” would be taken against anti-coup resistance forces such as the NUG, the PDF, and Ethnic Resistance Organizations (EROs). Kachin human rights activist Esther Ze Naw Bamvo, who was one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2021, said that she now feels ashamed of being featured in the same list as Min Aung Hlaing. 

News by Region

CHIN—The Chinland Defense Force (CDF) Hakha Council stated that it confiscated all properties owned by the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) in Hakha Township on April 12. 

KARENNI—At least 24 people, including two regime officials, were injured at a Thingyan event in Loikaw on April 15. “As far as I know, the bombs were dropped by a drone,” a local told DVB. The Loikaw PDF and another local group claimed responsibility, the Kantarawaddy Times reported

MAGWAY—The house of National League for Democracy (NLD) party official Kyaw Thura was sealed off by the Burma Army in Minhla Township on April 14. An arrest warrant for Kyaw Thura was issued under Section 505 (A) of the Penal Code for incitement and Section 50 (J) of the Counter-Terrorism Act.

NAYPYIDAW—Model and actor Paing Takhon appeared at a Thingyan event with hip hop artists Floke Rose and G Fatt on April 13. Other celebrities attended Burmese New Year events in Yangon, Mandalay, Naypyidaw. Netizens are calling for a boycott of any companies using these celebrities and artists in advertising campaigns.

SHAN—Four people were killed and 10 were injured in an explosion near a Thingyan event in Lashio town on April 13. “I heard three rounds of explosions simultaneously. Some people said the bomb was detonated on a vehicle,” a local said. The Burma Army Northeast Regional Headquarters is located in Lashio. 

RAKHINE—Thousands of people attended the Thingyan event hosted by the United League of Arakan (ULA). Security was provided by Arakan Army (AA) troops. Thingyan events in Sittwe, Kyaukpyu and Thandwe were hosted by the regime.

YANGON—The Yangon Revolution Force (YRF) Soft Strike Community hung a banner on an overpass that read: “Why Are You Dancing When The Whole Village Is Burning?” This is a slogan from the pro-democracy film It’s Not Over Yet, We Still Have Our Turn. The YRF stated that this was in solidarity with the victims of Pa Zi Gyi village, where 168 people were killed on April 11. 

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