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Shelling kills 10 civilians in Sittwe; India’s Mizoram State condemns end of Free Movement Regime

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Shelling kills 10 civilians in Sittwe, Arakan State

At least 10 civilians were killed and nearly 30 were injured after a shell fired by the Burma Navy exploded at the outdoor Myoma market in the Arakan State capital of Sittwe on Thursday. 

“There was panic and screaming, and people scattered the moment the shell hit. It’s believed that 10 people died instantly, and nearly 30 were rushed to an emergency room. Many of the injured had to have amputations,” an unnamed Sittwe resident told DVB.

A rescue worker said that children are among the victims and that the death toll may increase as some of the injured are in critical condition. The military has sealed off all entry points into Sittwe, according to residents. The Arakan Army (AA) has vowed to seize control of the city. 

India’s Mizoram State condemns end of Free Movement Regime

The Legislative Assembly of India’s Mizoram State adopted a resolution on Wednesday condemning the government’s decision to end the Free Movement Regime (FMR) with Burma, as well as plans to build a fence along the 1,643 km-long border between the two countries. 

“The Zo ethnic people can’t accept the India-Myanmar border, which has been imposed on them by the British. They have been dreaming of reunification under one administrative unit someday,” said K Sapdanga, the Home Minister of Mizoram State. 

Zo is an ethnic nationality that includes India’s Mizo people and Burma’s Chin people who live along the border. India announced the FMR suspension with Burma last month. It allowed Indian and Burma nationals to travel up to 16 km on either side of the border for up to two weeks without a visa, using a border pass.

Kim Aris on DVB Newsroom podcast available Monday

Aung San Suu Kyi’s son, Kim Aris, spoke to DVB Bureau Chief Mon Mon Myat on the most recent episode of the Newsroom podcast. His Freedom Tattoo Campaign – launched in 2023 – has raised 100,000 GBP ($126,656 USD) online for humanitarian assistance in Burma. 

“We’re starting to distribute [aid] to the people on the ground who are able to get it to where it’s needed most,” he said. “I hope we save many lives. Every little bit counts.”

Kim Aris received a letter from Aung San Suu Kyi last month which she sent from prison, where she’s been held since the military coup on Feb. 1, 2021. The DVB Newsroom podcast episode featuring Kim Aris will be available on Monday. Listen on Spotify, YouTube, Audible, Amazon Music, or Apple Podcasts.

News by Region

Protest group Octopus wore shirts with slogans reading “See You Again in Yangon” on Feb. 28. (Credit: Octopus)

YANGON—An anti-coup demonstration was held by Octopus at Maha Bandula Park in Yangon to commemorate its three-year anniversary amidst tight security on Thursday. They wore shirts emblazoned with the slogan “See You Again in Yangon.”

Octopus stated that the demonstration is calling “for a swift reunion in Yangon of individuals who have fled to liberated areas or various countries, political prisoners in prisons and members of underground revolutionary forces.”  

ARAKAN—Rohingya in the Kyaukphyu Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp told DVB that the military forcefully recruited at least 125 Rohingya – aged 18 to 55 – to serve in the Burma Army. They were reportedly taken to the 542 Infantry Battalion in Kyaukphyu. 

“The army came to our camps, demanding we enlist for military service. They threatened us with consequences if we refused,” a unnamed Rohingya IDP told DVB. They were not allowed to bring any personal belongings.

NAYPYIDAW—The Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) announced that it sold $77.38 million USD and 850 million Thai baht ($23.7 million USD) in February. It made the announcement as the value of the kyat depreciated last month. The foreign exchange rate increased from 3,550 to 3,630 kyat per $1 USD in February. 

Naypyidaw has reportedly been facing shortages of foreign currency partly due to economic sanctions imposed by western countries. The CBM allowed private banks to abandon its official exchange rate of 2,100 kyat per $1 USD and trade at the market rate on Dec. 5. 

SHAN—The military imposed martial law in Mongmit and Mabein townships on Wednesday, regime media reported. It claimed that the order was given to establish “security, the rule of law and community peace.” Judicial and executive powers have been handed to the military’s Northern Command Headquarters. 

Mongmit and Mabein have been the site of clashes between the Kachin Independence Army and the Burma Army since January. The KIA and People’s Defense Force (PDF) attacked Mongmit on Jan. 18, but the Burma Army regained control over the town on Jan. 27. 

At least 27 civilians were killed by the military in Mongmit and most of the town was incinerated by the Burma Army during the fighting, according to the Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF). The KIA and PDF captured Mabein on Jan. 21 and still control the town. 

Watch our latest video: A New Burma ‘Can’t Stop Won’t Stop’ building community. DVB English News is on X, FB, IG, Threads & TikTok. Subscribe on YouTube. Follow our Podcast.

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