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Refugees from Myawaddy return to Burma from Thailand; Border Guard Police repatriated from Bangladesh

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Refugees from Myawaddy return to Burma from Thailand

The remaining 658 refugees who found temporary shelter in Mae Sot, Thailand during fighting in Karen State from April 11-19 returned to Myawaddy on Wednesday. Fighting between the military and the Karen National Union (KNU), along with its allied resistance forces, has subsided. 

“Usually the Thai military encourages them to go back as well. Some of them, when they went back…went only as far as the river. So they went from being refugees to [Internally Displaced Persons in Burma],” said Paul Greening, an independent observer who monitors the Thai-Burma border.

The military re-took control of its outpost in Myawaddy Township on Tuesday. It was seized by the KNU on April 11. Refugees returned to Burma via the Moei (Thaungyin) River and the No. 1 Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) states that the number of IDPs in Burma is about to reach 2.9 million. 

Military purchasing more drones to use against resistance forces

The military has deployed its drone arsenal in Karen State in fighting against the KNU and its allied resistance forces. An anonymous source in the military told DVB that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) were purchased from China and training on how to use them was provided by Russia. 

“They have started using drones [in battle] in Kawkareik [of Karen State]. A group of military officers returned from Russia to manage the force,” stated the source. The military has increased cooperation with the Russian Armed Forces since the 2021 coup. 

The UAVs can be used for scouting operations and to deploy weapons. The drones have been used in the military’s latest offensive to retake Myawaddy named Operation Aung Zeya. The source added that due to the successful use of drones in Karen State, Admiral Moe Aung visited Russia on Monday to purchase more UAVs. 

Bangladesh repatriated 288 Burma nationals, who had fled fighting in Arakan State, on April 25. (Credit: Reuters)

Border Guard Police repatriated from Bangladesh

Bangladesh authorities repatriated to Burma 288 Border Guard Police (BGP), military personnel, and immigration officials on Thursday, Reuters reported. They were transported by a Burma Navy ship that was stationed in the Bay of Bengal. 

The 288 Burma nationals had fled to Bangladesh due to fighting with the Arakan Army (AA) along the Burma-Bangladesh border over the last few weeks. The regime in Naypyidaw confirmed all of their identities as citizens of Burma before repatriating them. 

The handover comes a day after 173 Bangladesh nationals jailed at Sittwe Prison, in the Arakan State capital, were repatriated by naval ship and handed over to Bangladesh authorities. Bangladesh sent back 330 military personnel, including family members, after they had fled from AA attacks on Feb. 15. 

News by Region

SHAN—The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) stated that it publicly executed three people in Laukkai, the de facto capital of the Kokang Self-Administered Zone, on Wednesday. Seven others received prison sentences of five to 15 years. The MNDAA-affiliated outlet, The Kokang, reported that the ten men – including MNDAA officers – were implicated in kidnapping, human and drug trafficking, killing and “extorting the public.” 

“The European Union condemns in the strongest terms the use of the death penalty and wishes to reaffirm its strong and unequivocal opposition to it, at all times and under all circumstances,” stated the E.U. Delegation to Myanmar. It is the first public execution in Laukkai since the MNDAA seized control of the town on Jan. 4.  

Muse residents said that eight alleged kidnappers, out of nine arrested by the military, were killed in Muse Township on Tuesday. The nine were arrested April 19-22. “One of the men was from Monekoe. He worked as a doorman at an online scam center. He was not even 20 [years-old],” said a Monekoe resident. Muse residents have claimed that the number of criminal gangs operating in the town has surged since last year. 

MANDALAY—A Burma Army major was killed at a tea shop in Madaya Township by unknown assailants on Wednesday. “He was in civilian clothes and alone,” said a Madaya resident. Thet Naing Tun was a member of the township’s administration. Madaya residents claimed that the military has destroyed several villages in the area under his leadership.

YANGON—A Kungyangon Township administrator and his 14-year-old grandson were killed when gunmen opened fire at his home in Kathitkone village on Wednesday. “There were eight or nine gunshots that were fired. He and his grandson were killed and his son was seriously injured,” said a Kungyangon resident. 

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

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