FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM
Prison break in Sagaing’s Hkamti
About 10 political prisoners made a daring escape from the Hkamti Prison, outside of Hkamti town, on Oct. 18. “We know that the prison break [took place] at around 5 o’clock in the morning. About 10 people ran away,” a local told DVB. The Burma Army quickly blocked roads and water routes in and out of Hkamti. It is not yet known how many prisoners escaped but they’re all believed to be jailed for political reasons.
Rights group calls on China to pressure Burma to intervene in online scams
A Malaysian human rights group requests China to pressure Burma to shut down Chinese-run online fraud operations that have proliferated along its border since the coup. Foreigners, including Malaysians, Thais, Indians and Chinese, have been held captive and forced to work in these so-called “scam rings” located in several Special Economic Zones along the borders of Burma and Laos, and inside Cambodia. In a letter, the Malaysian International Humanitarian Organization pleaded to Beijing for help to “save the Malaysian individuals who are currently stranded and tortured in Myanmar.”
News by Region
MAGWAY—One monk was killed and several others were injured after hitting a landmine in a car near Naung Hla village of Pakouku Township on Oct. 16. Regime media accused “the terrorist People’s Defense Forces (PDF)” of planting the landmine. “It was also discovered that the car had been shot at. Although junta supporters have claimed that the PDFs conducted the attack, our side will not do that to a car carrying monks. I don’t know who planted the landmine,” said a local.
A male school teacher was tortured to death by the Burma Army in Pauk’s Thitnyinaung village on Oct. 17. The 45-year-old man was killed shortly after being arrested by junta troops and Pyu Saw Hti militiamen, a local told DVB. The man’s body was recovered by locals in the Taetawyar village school.
MANDALAY—Two administrators were killed and a clerk was injured after an attack at a restaurant in Wundwin Township on Oct. 17. The local defense force Wundwin Township Revolution Force (WTRF) claimed to have targeted the officials “in accordance with the duty given to us by the people.”
RAKHINE—A 48-year-old female teacher and another woman were killed by the Burma Army in Minbya Township’s Chaung Gyi village on Oct. 17. Several villages were shelled. “Villages were intentionally attacked with heavy weapons,” a Minbya resident told DVB. At least 10 locals from four villages, including a 10-year-old girl, were injured and homes were damaged. A woman was also killed in Kyauktaw town after being struck by a shell “…they [Burma Army] also entered the town and opened fire indiscriminately, causing two shells to hit the west side of the town,” a Kyauktaw resident explained.
The conflict between the Burma Army and the Arakan Army (AA) has spread, causing more locals to be displaced by the violence. In Buthidaung Township, residents from at least 10 villages have been displaced and no children have attended school since Sept. 25. “The main issue is that there are no people in the villages,” a resident explained.
Nine Burma Army troops from the No.550 light infantry battalion, based in Ponnagyun Township, deserted their posts on Oct. 17, according to locals. The nine reportedly did not take their weapons and ammunition as they left the base. It has not yet been reported if the deserting troops have turned themselves over to any resistance group or ethnic armed organization (EAO). The AA recently claimed that nearly 100 Burma Army troops have defected to with weapons. The AA called on all Burma Army personnel to abandon their posts and defect. | BURMESE
SAGAING—A woman was killed in Burma Army airstrikes on three villages in western Wetlet Township on Oct. 17. “There may be more casualties,” a local told DVB. The attack is said to come shortly after local defense forces attacked a police station in the township. Eighteen civilians were injured and two resistance fighters were killed in a Burma Army airstrike on Phayarlaygone village in eastern Wetlet Township on Oct. 8.
Two unidentified men on a motorbike were hit and killed by a car on Monywa-Mandalay Road in Monywa Township, on Oct. 18.
Around 130 out of more than 140 villages in Katha Township – about 80 percent – are under the control of the local resistance forces. A local defense force in Katha told DVB that they are developing their own administrative mechanisms in the areas not under the control of the junta. “The military can only control the town and places which are a little closer to the town. The rest are our places,” a member told DVB.
TANINTHARYI—A local Red Cross official stated that as many as four people have committed suicide in over the last month in Dawei District. There have been several more reported cases of attempted suicide. Reports of suicide are becoming frequent as Burma spirals into political and economic uncertainty.