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Regime incapable of holding free and fair election, says Winn Byrd; Arakan Army seizes Thandwe Airport

Regime incapable of holding free and fair election, says Winn Byrd

Miemie Winn Byrd, a professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies and a specialist on U.S.-Burma relations, said that the regime in Naypyidaw is incapable of holding an election in 2025, as stated by Min Aung Hlaing during his recent visit to the Mandalay Region on June 15. 

“The election that the military is promising to hold in 2025 [will not] be free or fair,” said Winn Byrd at an event in Texas, where she spoke to members of the Burmese diaspora living in the cities of Houston, Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth from June 21-23.  

Winn Byrd called for increased participation from Burma’s diaspora communities to assist those inside the country fighting to end military dictatorship. The Texas Alliance for Myanmar (TA4M) was established in Dallas-Fort Worth on Sunday. 

Will India continue with plans to build its border fence?

Ronan Lee, the author of Myanmar’s Rohingya Genocide, spoke to DVB about India’s plans to build a fence along the 1,643-km Myanmar border. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was reelected earlier this month.

“The fence was predicted to cost about $3.7 billion [USD], which is a huge sum of money [to] those Indian border states. Modi [has] been trying to sell the fact of the fence nationally as a sign that he’s defending the country,” said Lee.

The Indian government suspended its Free Movement Regime (FMR) along its border with Myanmar on Feb. 8. The FMR allowed citizens of both countries visa-free travel up to 16 km on either side of the border since 2018. India’s Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah claimed the decision was made on the basis of protecting national security. 

Thandwe Airport, in southern Arakan State, is the main gateway for tourists visiting Ngapali beach. (Credit: CJ)

Arakan Army seizes Thandwe Airport

The Arakan Army (AA) seized control of Thandwe Airport near Ngapali beach, located in southern Arakan State, on Sunday. Residents fled as the AA attacked the military’s Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 566 and 55 on June 23. 

“The military forces deployed at the airport fled,” said a Thandwe resident. Local media reported that the AA arrested military officers, including battalion commanders, after it seized the airport. 

Thandwe Airport is the first to come under the control of resistance forces since the 2021 military coup. Two civilians were killed and three others were injured by an airstrike on Shwe Nyaung Pyin village, near Thandwe, on Friday. Two homes were destroyed, according to residents. 

News by Region

ARAKAN—A total of 959 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Thihoaye village are sheltering at a monastery in Maungdaw Township, located in northern Arakan State, due to fighting between the AA and the military’s Border Guard Police (BGP) since June 4.

“The hospital and clinic were shut down so there is no place for us to take the injured. We will die sooner or later due to a lack of healthcare and food,” said a resident sheltering at the monastery. The IDPs report that they are in need of food aid and shelter materials.

KACHIN—A transmission tower located between Shwebo and Wetlet townships was damaged, which caused a power blackout in Bhamo town in the second week of June. “It’s been over one week now and people are facing difficulties,” said a Bhamo resident. 

Telecommunication service providers Ooredoo and Atom have been unavailable in Bhamo since May. MPT and Mytel are working. But residents report that services remain slow. Regime authorities are reportedly attempting to restore the Dapein Hydropower station in Momauk Township, which is now under the control of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), to provide electricity to Bhamo residents.

MON—A splinter group of the New Mon State Party (NMSP) called the NMSP-Anti-Dictatorship (NMSP-AD) stated on Friday that it has met with local groups to explain its political and military objectives, and to listen to the voices of the Mon people. More than 180 representatives from these groups attended the meeting on June 19. 

“We discussed how we keep moving forward together,” said Naing Banyar Mon, the NMSP-AD spokesperson. It announced its split from the NMSP on Feb. 14. It vowed to join forces with resistance groups, including the National Unity Government (NUG) to fight against the military. It stated on June 16 that it had completed a training of 100 new recruits. 

SAGAING—Seven civilians, including a child and a monk, were killed and 15 others were injured by an airstrike in Nantha village of Indaw Township on Saturday. “A jet fighter dropped bombs on the monastery in the village at midnight,” said an Indaw resident. A People’s Defense Force (PDF) spokesperson claimed that the jet fighter originated from Mandalay’s Tada-U airport. 

Read: The Rohingya armed groups and a failed revolution. DVB English News is on X, Facebook, Instagram, Threads & TikTok. 

Watch: How the resistance is defending against the military’s drone capabilities. Subscribe to us on YouTube & via the YouTube Music (app).

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