FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM
RSF calls on veteran journalist to be released
Reporters without Borders (RSF) calls for the immediate release of veteran journalist Sithu Aung Myint, who was arrested in Yangon on Aug. 15, 2021. Sithu Aung Myint was handed a 12-year prison sentence by a military court last week. “RSF demands his release and sounds the alarm about the shocking recent increase in the severity of the sentences being passed on journalists in Myanmar,” RSF stated. Burma has become the world’s biggest jailer of journalists, relative to its size, since the 2021 military coup. RSF’s 2022 World Freedom Index ranks Burma at the bottom along with China, Iran and North Korea.
Twelve men killed in two massacres in Mandalay Region
Six bodies of men killed were discovered in Myingyan Township of Mandalay Region on Dec. 13. The victims’ bodies were discovered at three separate locations, the Myingyan People’s Strike Committee said. It was reported that a Pyu Saw Htee militia raided Lal Thit village on Dec. 6. Six local men were killed Dec. 13, according to the committee. Another six people were killed on Dec. 6 in Natogyi Township. Twelve civilians were killed by Pyu Saw Htee in Myingyan and Natogyi townships, locals said.
News by Region
CHIN—Three Burma Army troops and a police officer defected to the Chin Defense Force (CDF) Zophei, the CDF announced on Dec. 15. Three soldiers from 266th Light Infantry Battalion defected last September while a police officer from Hakha police station defected last month. The soldiers were collectively awarded K15 million ($7,151 USD) and the police officer received K8 million ($3,814 USD) in compensation. All of them were transferred to safe areas.
MANDALAY— A 5.2-magnitude earthquake struck Tada-U Township on Dec. 15, causing ancient pagodas and religious buildings to collapse, locals said. The diamond bud and vane of Mya Thein Dan stupa collapsed and cracked. The arm of the lion on the Mingun Pahtodawgyi stupa broke off, a local told DVB. Many other pagodas, monasteries and houses were damaged. The Department of Meteorology and Hydrology announced that the epicenter of the earthquake was four miles to the east of Tada-U. Structures in Aung Myay Tharsan, Chan Aye Tharsan, Maha Aung Myay, Amarapura, Madaya, Pyin Oo Lwin sustained damage. The junta has not yet issued statements about the damages caused by the earthquake.
SHAN—Two villagers were killed and two others were injured in an airstrike on Dec. 12 in Konethar village, Namhsan Township. The victims were reportedly killed while cleaning the monastery. Konethar village monastery was attacked in an air-raid on Dec. 7. “The victims of the attack are my brothers. Around ten villagers came back to the village to clean the village’s monastery on that day. Helicopters dropped the bombs at about 9.30 a.m. My brother Kyaw Hla was injured in his neck and died on the spot. My other little brother was wounded in the head. He died on Dec. 13 in a hospital in Myothit village,” a villager explained. At least 50 civilian houses and religious buildings have been destroyed by shelling during fierce clashes between the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Burma Army from Dec. 7 to 12 in Namhsan Township. The clashes have forced nearly 2,000 locals to flee their homes. At least 500 have returned to their homes in recent days.
RAKHINE—The number of migrating birds in Rakhine has declined due to climate change, according to Sein Lan Aung, the director of Sein Lan Rakhine conservation group. Only 30 species of migrating birds have arrived so far this year compared to previous years when there were around 50 species, he told DVB. The reason for the decline is likely due to extinction of birds or changing grazing pastures. Migrant birds usually feed from November to January at Nan Thar Island, a marine national park located between Sittwe and Rathedaung townships. Forests and mangroves have been impacted by deforestation due to the impact of timber production and charcoal use every year, locals said.
SAGAING—A resistance force claimed to have attacked Myinmu Myoma police station on Dec. 15. “We detonated two explosive devices and attacked four police officers who left the station to go to a tea shop this morning. Three were killed instantly and one was seriously wounded,” said a spokesperson. According to the Tanze People’s Defense Force (PDF), local resistance groups fought against the Burma Army in Tanze Township on Dec. 14.
YANGON—Two bombs detonated near Brigade 3 in South Dagon Township on Dec. 14. “The bomb was really loud and it could be heard from East Dagon. Each bomb detonated five minutes apart,” a local said. Security forces arrived after the blast and conducted patrols around Brigade 3. Last year, a shootout and an explosion occurred at Brigade 3, killing and injuring people. Since Dec. 1, 12 people have been injured in attacks across Yangon.
DVB PICKS—The UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, speaks to Doh Athan about calls for more coordinated sanctions against the military junta in Burma. DVB Picks recommends the best on Burma in English every week. Stay tuned.