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Thai academic says regime’s days are numbered; More military personnel flee attacks into Bangladesh

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Thai academic says regime’s days are numbered

Dulyapak Preecharush, an associate professor of Southeast Asian Studies at Thammasat University, told Reuters that the fall of Myawaddy to the Karen National Union (KNU) indicates that the regime’s days are numbered. The Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) seized the last military outpost near the Thai-Burma border town on April 11. 

“For the Myanmar military, regaining control of Myawaddy is like reclaiming a vital economic lifeline. If they let the opposition or KNU continue to hold on, it will gradually affect the economy in Mawlamyine and Yangon, which are major cities in Myanmar, and cause problems,” said Preecharush.

Myawaddy is currently under the joint control of the KNLA, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), and a new armed group calling itself the Karen National Army, which is a former faction of the Karen Border Guard Force. The KNU stated that it will only establish an administration in Myawaddy after it has repelled all counter attacks from the military. 

More military personnel flee attacks into Bangladesh

The Bangladesh government said on Wednesday that 46 members of the regime’s Border Guard Police (BGP) fled to Bangladesh due to the fighting along the border with the Arakan Army (AA). The total number of BGP and military personnel currently sheltering in Bangladesh has reached 260.  

Bangladesh repatriated 330 military personnel, including their relatives, after they had fled from AA attacks on Feb. 15. Dhaka is cooperating with Naypyidaw to repatriate all 260. The Bangladeshi Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed Hasan Mahmud said that Naypyidaw has proposed to transport them back using waterways.  

Artillery shells fired from Burma have landed inside Bangladesh, causing civilian casualties and damages to buildings. Bangladesh hosts nearly 1.2 million Rohingya refugees who fled from attacks by the military, most recently in 2017 which has been labelled a genocide by the U.S. government.  

Hkalam Samson returns home after his release from Myitkyina Prison on April 17. (Credit: Kachin Baptist Convention)

Kachin religious leader re-arrested after being freed in amnesty

Hkalam Samson, the former chair of the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC), was re-arrested on April 17 – the same day he was released from Myitkyina Prison in a nationwide prisoner amnesty for the Burmese New Year on Wednesday. He was detained for the second time by soldiers at his home in Myitkyina, the Kachin State capital. 

“Around 30 soldiers arrived at home claiming it was for his own security. Later that night, another 50 soldiers arrived and took him. They [military] said they will send him back next morning after questioning,” said a Myitkyina resident. An anonymous source close to Samson’s family told The 74 Media that they were told that by the Prisons Department that it had arranged a place for him to stay over “security concerns.” 

Samson was sentenced to six years under both the Counter-Terrorism Law and the Unlawful Associations Act on April 7, 2023. Two Kachin State ministers removed in the 2021 coup were also freed in the amnesty. Only 100 political prisoners were among the 3,303 freed by the regime on Wednesday, stated the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP). 

News by Region

AYEYARWADY—More than 90 Rohingya, including children, were arrested in March and are being detained at police stations across the state. The Rohingya said they had fled Arakan State to escape forced recruitment into the military and armed conflict between it and the AA. They were reportedly trying to reach another country. 

“The police held them without charging them but it is possible that they might be charged under the Immigration Law. The regime’s administration won’t give them the right to defend themselves,” an aid worker assisting the Rohingya told DVB on the condition of anonymity. 

CHINLAND—The Chin National Defense Force (CNDF) spokesperson Salai Kyong Ngai said it has provided military training to more than 200 new recruits aged 18-30 since the regime activated its military conscription law. He claimed that the conscription evaders came from Falam, Kalay and other townships. 

“We provided them with training and they were also assigned to relevant places and battalions,” said Salai Kyong Ngai. People’s Embrace, which supports military defectors, told DVB that it has been contacted by more than 26,000 people since the conscription law was activated on Feb. 10.

KARENNI—The Interim Executive Council (IEC) General Secretary Khu Plu Reh said that the IEC is building a legal case against a Burma Air Force pilot who was arrested in Karenni State on Nov. 19. Resistance forces claimed to have arrested Khaing Thant Moe after it shot down his fighter jet on Nov. 11. 

“That case is big and we are still processing it. The pilot is healthy. We will take action in accordance with our judiciary,” added Khu Plu Reh. Resistance forces across Burma claimed to have shot down 12 regime aircraft since the 2021 military coup. 

KAREN—A People’s Defense Force (PDF) spokesperson said that the military has been sending reinforcements in an effort to recapture Myawaddy, via the Kawkareik-Myawaddy portion of the Asia Road, since April 12. “The number of enemies has continued to increase every day,” added the PDF spokesperson.

Read our Q&A: Why was Aung San Suu Kyi and Win Myint moved to house arrest? DVB English News is on X, FB, IG, Threads & TikTok. Subscribe on YouTube. Follow on Spotify.

Check out the Exiled Media Toolkit by ijnet and NEMO. It has published a feature story on us: Reporting in the shadows in Myanmar: The case of the Democratic Voice of Burma

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