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Resistance forces launch offensive in Kachin State; International Women’s Day marks one year of ‘Manels‘

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Resistance forces launch new offensive in Kachin State

The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) spokesperson Naw Bu told DVB that the KIA and People’s Defense Force (PDF) launched an offensive on military bases in Kachin State on Thursday. Three civilians were reportedly killed in Waingmaw Township due to artillery shells allegedly fired by the Burma Army. Shwe Min, the leader of a pro-military Lisu militia, was reportedly killed during the fighting.

“The battles have started and they are likely to continue. Therefore, it’s crucial for locals to stay informed about the military situation and remain in safe places,” said Naw Bu, as fighting continued along the Myitkyina-Bhamo highway. 

“There are a lot of people and they have been relocated to other places. My family is also going to move. We are monitoring the military situation. We are all preparing to flee the area,” a Laiza resident told DVB. Many residents have already been displaced by heavy artillery fire in response to the offensive. There are reports that the Arakan Army (AA) is also taking part in the KIA-led operation. 

International Women’s Day marks one year of ‘Manels‘ exhibition

The “Manels Exhibition: Where are the women?” was launched in Chiang Mai, Thailand by the Women’s League of Burma (WLB) and the Salween Institute for Public Policy on March 8, 2023 to raise awareness about all-male panels, excluding women, hosted by pro-democracy groups from Burma. 

“The whole objective of doing this exhibition is to start a conversation to encourage all these relevant actors, different organizations, media, everyone, to be mindful of inclusion and that we all must [make] an effort [for] it to happen,” said Yinglao Noanvo, the executive director of the Salween Institute for Public Policy. “This is actually hindering our democracy movement.”

Photos of DVB “manels” were included in the exhibition. Since then DVB has actively included more women’s voices on our panels. A new TV program called Women’s Voice was launched in November. Read more here.

News by Region

Watch our latest video: Free Burma Rangers on the frontlines in Karenni State. Subscribe to DVB English News on YouTube. Follow us on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

KARENNI—The Karenni Human Rights Group (KnHRG) has documented that 17 civilians were killed and 46 were injured during the month of February. Five men were killed in airstrikes on Daw Si Ei and Loi Nan Pa villages. Two women and two children were killed by artillery shelling in Phe Kon and Shwe San villages.

Forty-two young people were injured in at least 12 separate airstrikes, which damaged a total of 21 civilian properties, including 16 houses, two schools, two churches and one rice mill. A 16-year-old girl was injured by a landmine.

Education staff from Loikaw University, including its rector and vice-rector, were sentenced to two years in prison and fined 900,000 kyat each by a court under the Karenni Interim Executive Council (IEC). They were charged for violating the Unlawful Associations Act on Feb. 25 for allegedly cooperating with the military regime. 

“Anything that supports dictatorship deviates from the will of the people. It is not acceptable,” Khu Plue Reh, the IEC general secretary, told DVB. The IEC claimed that 204 individuals, including education staff and their families, were rescued in November after Karenni forces captured Loikaw University. 

Of them, 193 were freed after the IEC ruled they had no ties to the military regime. They were compelled to take oaths to not cooperate with the military going forward and expelled from Karenni State, according to the IEC. 

BAGO–Kyauktaga Township residents said that internet services in four towns and nearby villages have yet to be restored since it was cut off during fighting in December. “If you want to connect to an internet line, you have to go to a coffee shop. You can only access the internet if you pay at least 2,000 kyat,” a Kyauktaga resident told DVB.  

MANDALAY—Aungmyaythazan Township residents said that regime officials have been checking household lists since the second week of February for potential conscripts in accordance with the military conscription law, which was activated on Feb. 10. Burma Army personnel are reportedly demanding up to 500,000 kyat to release people arrested in Mandalay.

“Fewer people go out at night now. We are uncertain about when or where arrests might occur,” an Aungmyaetazen resident told DVB. The regime announced last month that it would begin enforcing its conscription law in April. It requires men aged 18 to 35 and women aged 18 to 27 to serve in the military for at least two years. 

SHAN—Residents of Pinlaung Township, located in the Pa-O Self-Administered Zone, said that drugs are being sold openly with approval from the Pa-O National Army. “The PNA arrested the drug dealers, but then released them after it demanded money from them. As a result, drug dealers and even users are now openly engaging in their activities,” a Pinlaung resident told DVB. 

The PNA has claimed that it is conducting drug elimination efforts within Pa-O Self-Administered Zone townships. Burma has become the world’s largest producer of opium since the 2021 military coup, states the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).  

(Exchange rate: $1 USD = 3,620 kyat)

Chuu Wai’s Thread Under Threat: Invincible Myanmar Women Who Dare! exhibit is at the Baan Tuek Art Center in Chiang Mai, Thailand March 8-27. Stay tuned to DVB English News 

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