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Regime replaces deputy minister of defense in reshuffle; Timor-Leste holds hearing on Burma crisis

Regime replaces deputy minister of defense in reshuffle

The military regime appointed Ko Lay as its new Deputy Minister of Defense on May 28 during a cabinet reshuffle, according to military sources. His predecessor Aung Lin Tun was removed from the post and is serving a 10-year prison sentence for his alleged involvement in criminal operations in the Kokang Self-Administered Zone of northern Shan State. 

“General Ko Lay, who previously served at the headquarters of the Ministry of Defense, will now focus on training officers on current drone operations. This will be in collaboration with officers who have returned from training in Russia,” a military source told DVB. Several other high-ranking officers were reassigned. 

Saw Than Hlaing, the commander of the Naypyidaw Regional Military Headquarters, and other top officers such as the Communications Director and Military Weaponry Director were transferred to the reserve forces. Soe Min from the Coastal Military Headquarters was reassigned as the Divisional Commander in Naypyidaw. Pyae Sone Lin filled his position at the Coastal Military Headquarters. 

More than 200,000 Rohingya in need of assistance

The Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK) stated that more than 200,000 Rohingya were displaced during fighting between the Arakan Army (AA) and Burma Army in Buthidaung Township and are in need of emergency aid. A request was made for Bangladesh to establish a humanitarian corridor into northern Arakan State.

“Without immediate international intervention, thousands of Rohingya will soon face starvation. Bangladesh must open its border for the formal delivery of humanitarian aid into northern Rakhine State or face the prospect of thousands of Rohingya dying from starvation on its doorstep,” said Tun Khin, the BROUK president. 

Tun Khin added that help from the international community was needed as the AA does not have the resources to care for hundreds of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in areas under its control. BROUK urged the U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres to visit Bangladesh to negotiate the aid corridor directly with Dhaka. 

Timor-Leste holds hearing on Burma crisis

Timor-Leste’s Ombudsman for Human Rights and Justice (Provedor dos Direitos Humanos e Justiçe, PDHJ) hosted the “Public Hearing on the Human Rights Crisis in Myanmar” in the capital Dili on May 27. The PDHJ, Timor-Leste’s national human rights commission, listened to testimony from seven human rights defenders from Burma. 

“We can engage with parliament and government officials both within our country and across [the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN] to address the human rights crisis in Myanmar. This includes highlighting the challenges faced by human rights defenders in Myanmar, which must be prioritized,” said Virgîlio Da Silva Guterres, the PDHJ ombudsman. 

The public hearing was also supported by civil society groups, including Progressive Voice, ALTSEAN-Burma, and the Initiatives for International Dialogue. Dili has been outspoken in its support for a return to democracy in Burma since the 2021 military coup. Government officials, including President José Ramos-Horta, met with the National Unity Government (NUG) Foreign Minister Zin Mar Aung in July 2023.

News by Region

Traffic on the Kawkareik-Myawaddy Road in Karen State. (Credit: CJ)

KAREN—Drivers using the old Kawkareik-Myawaddy Road face increased tolls at checkpoints operated by various armed groups. The cost fluctuates depending on where fighting is taking place. “Now I have to pay a gate fee from 50,000 to at least 100,000 [kyat] to cross the road from many groups. The price of goods has gone up because of the increase in road tolls. There are many gates,” a truck driver told DVB. The prices of basic commodities have surged due to the tolls.

ARAKAN—The United League of Arakan (ULA/AA) Humanitarian and Development Cooperation Office (HDCO) claimed on May 27 that heavy and small arms fire killed 268 civilians and injured 640 others between Nov. 13 – when the AA launched an offensive against the military – and May 13. Minbya Township recorded the highest number with 56 killed and 172 injured. Mrauk-U Township had the second highest with 42 killed and 72 injured. The HDCO stated that 80 percent of IDPs are in need of urgent humanitarian aid. 

SHAN—Twelve civilians were killed and 36 others were injured in areas controlled by the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) in northern Shan State from January to May 5. “We have had to delay taking action due to our limited equipment to check for landmines,” said Lway Yay Oo, the  TNLA spokesperson. 

The areas most in need of mine clearance are in Namtu and Kutkai townships. Yin Lianghan, the spokesperson for the Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF), said that there have been 100 civilian casualties from landmines and unexploded remnants of war in northern Shan since the Brotherhood Alliance signed its ceasefire with the military on Jan. 11. 

Watch: Min Min Thaw on the mismanagement of Myanmar’s economy. DVB English News is on X, FB, IG, Threads & TikTok. Subscribe to us on YouTube. Follow us on YouTube Music.


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