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Thai prime minister says Naypyidaw is ‘losing strength’; Military evacuates troops from Myawaddy to Mae Sot

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Thai prime minister says Naypyidaw is ‘losing strength’

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin told Reuters on Wednesday that it may be a good time to begin talks with Burma’s military regime, as resistance forces claim to have seized 90 percent of Myawaddy Township, Karen State, along the Thai-Burma border. 

“The current regime is starting to lose some strength. But even if they are losing, they have the power, they have the weapons. Maybe it’s time to reach out and make a deal,” he said.

Thailand wants to include the U.S. and China in discussions on Burma’s crisis, which has been unfolding since the 2021 military coup. The Thai Prime Minister added that he plans to discuss Burma with his military officials. The Thai Red Cross began aid deliveries into Karen State on March 25, which Bangkok believes will facilitate dialogue between the military and resistance forces. 

Military evacuates troops from Myawaddy to Mae Sot

A charter plane from Burma landed at the Mae Sot Airport in Thailand on Sunday to evacuate military personnel who had surrendered to the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) in Thingannyinaung village of Myawaddy Township on Friday. 

Thai authorities stated that it left without any passengers. Permission was granted for Naypyidaw to evacuate more than 600 Burma Army servicemen, and their families, April 7-9 from Mae Sot. A source close to officials in Thailand said that the Karen National Union (KNU) has made no plans to hand over the surrendered soldiers. 

The KNLA claims it is negotiating the surrender of the last remaining Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 275 outpost. The Karen Information Center (KIC) reported that the aircraft from Burma in Mae Sot was transporting banknotes from the Myanma Economic Bank and other private banks in Myawaddy.

The UN Security Council held an open briefing on Burma April 4 and the Secretary-General appointed a new envoy the next day.

Civil society criticizes selection of UN Special Envoy

Human rights expert Khin Ohmar, founder of Progressive Voice, spoke to DVB about the U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres’s appointment of Australia’s former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop as special envoy for Burma on April 5.

“Now that she has been appointed, it has become her responsibility now to clarify with the people of Myanmar, with all of this information [about her] that we are getting from online, because Myanmar people [have] already lost way too much confidence in the international community,” she said. 

The U.N. Security Council voiced concern about Burma but delegated to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Five Point Consensus, adopted in April 2021 to end all violence, which has never been implemented by the military. Khin Ohmar criticized the Security Council for excluding Burma’s permanent representative at the U.N. Kyaw Moe Tun from the briefing on April 4.

News by Region

AYEYARWADY—Residents of Gawdu village in Pyapon Township have been facing water scarcity for the last 25 years as climate change has caused rising sea levels and artesian wells have been submerged. They’ve had to purchase clean drinking water from neighboring villages, which have also been affected. Read more here.

BAGO—Regime administrators ordered fuel stations in Nyaunglebin Township not to sell petrol to at least eight villages for allegedly providing support to the People’s Defense Force (PDF). “I have to buy fuel from afar by bribing the military personnel stationed at the gate,” said a resident from Yephyukan, one of the villages named in the ban. Officials state that anyone selling fuel to these villages may have their licenses revoked and face three years of imprisonment. 

KACHIN—Civilian homes in three villages of Bhamo Township were destroyed by airstrikes on Monday. “No one was injured as most of the residents from those villages had already fled. Some bombs exploded in fields and the Taping river,” said a Bhamo Township resident. The Burma Army has tightened security around Bhamo town and has restricted access to nearby villages. 

YANGON—The PDF warned North Okkalapa Township residents to stay away from Thingyan festivities on Khaymathi Road. “It is built next to the police station. The regime’s Thingyan pavilions are also one of the targets that we will destroy,” said a PDF spokesperson. The regime is planning to set up 219 stages and pavilions for this year’s Thingyan festival, which takes place April 13-16. 

Thailand’s 7th Education Fair took place at Sedona Hotel in Yankin Township on Sunday. More than 3,600 students attended, according to the Thai embassy in Yangon. Click here to see photos of the event. 

Newsroom features Sean Turnell on being “An Unlikely Prisoner” in Myanmar. Follow DVB English News wherever you get your podcasts. Listen on Spotify, Audible & Apple Podcasts.

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