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Rice prices continue to rise prompting shortage; NUG suspends official following sexual assault allegations

Rice prices continue to rise prompting shortage

Rice prices are continuing to rise which has prompted a suspension of sales of the food staple at major Yangon supermarkets such as City Mart, Macro, Ocean, and Capital. This follows an order by the regime-controlled Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) to set fixed rice prices on June 24. No other towns or cities have reported a rice shortage. 

“I usually buy two types of rice here at Macro. One [is] high-priced and the other [is] lower-priced, so I can cook them together. But during my recent visit to the supermarket I found that neither [type of rice] was available,” a Yangon resident told DVB.

Rice millers and sellers were detained in Yangon and Mandalay on June 21. Due to the high demand for rice most retail stores in Yangon have suspended sales. “Since we have a lot of demand, we will accept rice orders when we receive the next shipment,” a retail store announced on social media.

NUG suspends official following sexual assault allegations

The National Unity Government (NUG) suspended Salai Isaac Khen, the NUG representative to India, on Tuesday following allegations of sexual assault. A woman reported to be Salai Isaac Khen’s secretary reportedly brought the case against him.

“A commission has been formed by the Central Committee to investigate. We cannot tolerate such cases,” the NUG Minister of Women, Youth and Children Affairs Naw Susanna Hla Hla Soe told DVB. 

“There have been many abuses committed by those in power,” said Naung Moh Moh, the general secretary of the Women’s League of Burma (WLB). Women’s groups have vowed to fight impunity and bring justice to victims of abuse since the 2021 military coup.

Burma’s war crimes investigators

A joint investigation by Burma War Crime Investigation (BWCI) and Fortify Rights called on the National Unity Government (NUG) and the Karenni State Interim Executive Council (IEC), the provisional government of Karenni, to investigate the murder of three women and three children in February. 

“Wartime killings of civilians should be thoroughly investigated and perpetrators held accountable,” said Swe Lin, a researcher at BWCI. “The NUG and the IEC are well-placed to investigate the killings of civilians and work alongside international investigators. Resistance forces fighting against the junta should actively seek to protect civilians and work to support victims and ensure accountability for crimes.”

The joint BWCI-Fortify Rights investigation documented that the military captured seven civilians during an operation in Shadaw Township of Karenni State on Feb. 5. One man escaped. But three women, including one who was pregnant, and their three children were killed during fighting between the military and Karenni resistance forces. The BWCI was established in October 2023 to investigate and document war crimes. 

News by Region 

A grocery store in Hpakant town caught fire due to artillery shelling by the military on Tuesday. (Credit: CJ)

KACHIN—A grocery store in Lonekhin village of Hpakant Township was damaged by artillery fire on Tuesday. “We heard gunfire and artillery coming from the Hpakant strategic outpost all day. The store caught on fire and the Fire Department had to extinguish [the flames],” said a Hpakant resident. No casualties were reported.

MANDALAY—The military carried out three rounds of airstrikes on Inngyinmyaing village of Madaya Township after the People’s Defense Force (PDF) seized control of an Air Defense Force base there on Tuesday. “They launched a series of airstrikes by using helicopters and jet fighters to try to recapture the base,” said a PDF member.  

More than 60 military personnel have been arrested by the PDF. Weapons and ammunition were seized. Residents claimed that civilians are trapped in the village due to the fighting. Troops stationed in Madaya town have been sent to reinforce a military counterattack to recapture the base.  

Htet Yan Naing, a political prisoner died at Obo Prison without receiving medical treatment after being beaten by prison guards on June 20, according to the Political Prisoners Network Myanmar (PPNM). 

“He tried to report a prison staff member who sells drugs. They beat him and brought him to the main jail, and there he was beaten up again. Later, he was locked up inside a cell without receiving treatment,” said Thaik Tun Oo, the PPNM spokesperson. 

Htet Yan Naing was later sent to Mandalay Hospital but died due to injuries sustained to his head and body. He was serving a four year prison sentence for violating Sec. 52 (a) of the Counter-Terrorism Law.

SHAN—Three civilians were killed and at least nine were injured during fighting between the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Burma Army in Nawnghkio and Kyaukme townships on Tuesday. 

“A driver was killed after he tried to continue through a roadblock during the fighting in Thaekhaw village,” said a Nawnghkio resident. Residents claimed that the TNLA attacked four areas of Nawnghkio at the same time. Fighting between the TNLA and the military resumed in Nawnghkio, Kyaukme and Mogok townships on Tuesday.

ARAKAN—The Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK) have released a report documenting how the Rohingya have been targeted by the military and the Arakan Army (AA) since an offensive was launched by the AA on Nov. 13,

“Rohingya remaining in Rakhine State face either a fast death being killed by the Myanmar military or Arakan Army, or a slow death as a result of being systematically deprived of the basic necessities of life,” said BROUK President Tun Khin. 

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