The Daily Briefing — Friday, Apr. 7, 2022

The Daily Briefing — Friday, Apr. 7, 2022

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Today’s Headlines

Thursday, April 7, 2022

CBM vice-chair shot in Yangon home. A head of the military-controlled Central Bank of Myanmar was shot at her Yangon home this morning. Than Than Swe was last reported to have been rushed to Yangon General Hospital. Read DVB’s report. BURMESE

KNU to exit PPST? The Karen National Union (KNU) has said that it is no longer possible for its group to cooperate with the Peace Process Steering Team – a body of ten EAOs formed to oversee the implementation of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) — after a newly convened PPST said it endorsed “all-inclusive political dialogue”. The CNF and RCSS are also beginning to distance themselves from the body. Read DVB’s report on the fallout from the recent NCA summit in Chiang Mai.

Japan, Singapore lobby MoFA over draconian currency regulation. The Burmese embassies of both Japan and Singapore have confronted the military’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs head on, requesting that businesses from their respective countries be exempted from new central bank rules concerning the closure of US dollar accounts. In two letters sent directly to the MoFA, the embassies — using tellingly similar phrasing — note that companies remaining in Burma will now face serious operational challenges, with currency controls making it difficult for them to continue to do business in the country. Most major companies and investors from the countries, two of the military’s largest trade partners, have remained active in Burma since the coup. The CBM has told account holders that almost all foreign currency must be exchanged into kyats at rates set by the junta.

Soldiers abduct four-year-old in front of classmates. A four-year-old boy was abducted by Burma Army soldiers before a classroom of infants attending the BC Preschool in Ahlone township at around 3 p.m. on April 5. A witness confirmed to Radio Free Asia that the child was taken hostage because his parents were in hiding after being accused by the military of supporting PDFs. “This should not be happening at all. This is inhumane as he is just a child. I feel sorry I could not do anything about it. I hope the dictatorship will be uprooted,” a witness said. Security forces blocked the street and held children and a teacher at the preschool at gunpoint whilst extracting the child. Ahlone Police Station declined to comment to RFA about the incident. The kidnapped child was reported to have been living with his grandparents. More than 100 children have been killed by the military following last year’s coup, according to RFA.

BURMA Act passes House of Representatives. The human rights organization Global Witness says it welcomes yesterday’s passing of the 2021 BURMA Act in the US House of Representatives.  The legislation authorizes US$450 million in humanitarian aid and support for the democracy movement in Burma in addition to pushing to hold the Burmese military accountable for the Rohingya genocide. The bill also requires representatives to analyze how sanctions on junta-controlled oil and gas company, Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), one key economic driver of the military, would further the interests of both US and Burmese citizens. Burmese civil society groups have called for MOGE to be sanctioned in the US since last year’s coup, hoping that the country will follow the lead set by the European Union who levied an embargo on the firm on Feb. 22. The Burma Act must now pass the US Senate before being enacted.

Upsurge in diplomatic olive branches handed to SAC fuels outrage amongst Burma’s citizens. India’s ambassador to Burma, Vinay Kumar, presented his diplomatic credentials to junta leader Min Aung Hlaing in Naypyidaw on the morning of April 6 reported BBC Burmese. The move comes as more countries make overtures to the Burmese military regime. Last month, Saudi Arabia was the first country this year to present its letter of credence to the military on March 17.  In a move seen by many as precipitating the recent reconvergence of diplomats upon Naypyidaw, SAC Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin made his first visit to China on April 1 where Beijing pledged to support the junta “no matter how the situation changes.” Surprisingly, Australian Ambassador Andrea Faulkner also met with the junta chief and accepted a gift from him last Wednesday.

Beach trade booming as families defy revolutionary groups with Thingyan holidays. Tour operators say that hotels are fully-booked at the popular Ayeyarwady beach resorts of Chaung Tha and Ngwe Saung, as Burma’s citizens and resistance groups increase calls for people to once again boycott a Thingyan festival which is becoming a barometer of post-coup public sentiment. Read DVB’s report

Fighting compounds northwest IDP crisis. The UNOCHA reported that the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) has sharply risen over the past week as fighting continues in Chin, Sagaing and Magway regions, reaching more than 300,000 in northwestern Burma alone. The refugee monitoring group estimated that as of March 28, 904,600 locals remain displaced. Among them, 558,000 are estimated to have fled since the coup last year.

News by Region

AYEYARWADY —A dispute concerning the whereabouts of over K200 lakh (US$10,805) is taking place between a police station and a court after three bank robbers were sentenced in Pyapon township, sources close to the court told DVB. Both the court and the police in question maintain that 20 tical of gold and K300 lakh (US$16,207) was retrieved after a robbery on March 7. Only K120 lakh (US$6,483) and the gold has since been returned to the owner. “The culprits were arrested the night of the robbery. All the gold was returned but not all the money. The culprits were arrested five hours after the robbery occurred,” a local said. BURMESE 

CHIN —A General Administration Department official from Tedim township, 32-year-old Kyi Min Tun, was shot dead inside his home by unidentified gunmen yesterday evening, Burma Associated Press (BAP) reported. The man had moved to Tedim after the coup after serving at administration departments in Sittwe, Rakhine State and Saw township, Magway Region. He was a Magway region native and nephew of Bullet Hla Saw, a former USDP Hluttaw representative for Gangaw township, according to Chin-based media outlets.

CHIN —Five soldiers were reportedly killed and many were injured during an hour-long clash between CDF-Matupi and a military convoy at around 6.40 a.m. today, CDF-Matupi has announced. The convoy was believed to be moving to Matupi from Kyauk Htu township in Magway to provide reinforcements for the military. The CDF did not report any casualties from their side. Junta troops based in Matupi township have been heavily shelling Chin Pyan village, which is located along the Matupi-Mindat road.

KAYIN —Soldiers retook a camp in Maw Khi village, Myawaddy district on the morning of April 6. The camp had been held by the KNLA / KNDO after their fighters had seized it from the Burma Army on March 21. Junta forces had occupied the area after a KNLA-led alliance of resistance groups left the camp, the KNLA told DVB. The EAO seized weapons and ammunition upon assuming control and left after setting fire to the camp. Around 100 Burmese troops were killed by landmines planted by the KNLA during the operation, officials of the Kayin armed group claimed, yet the military did not report any casualties on its side. More than 10,000 civilians have been displaced in Myawaddy district due to indiscriminate shelling from the military. BURMESE 

KAYIN —The military conducted an airstrike on Mae Thu, KNU Brigade 5 territory, killing one villager in Ghaw War village and a monk from Htee Kaelo Monastery, the KNU said on Apr. 6. Saw Thein Aung, a resident of Ghaw War, was killed in the airstrike and the body of the missing monk, Ashin Aww Bha Tha, was found in the jungle, locals reported. Four military jets arrived in Mae Wai and airdropped unidentified cargo at around 3.30 p.m. on Apr. 5, at 4 p.m. conducting an airstrike using two jets. BURMESE

KAYAH —Two women were killed and four others were injured when an artillery shell exploded im Pa Dar Ngay village, Loikaw township, on the evening of Apr. 6. The military fired the shell at the village at around 3 p.m. despite there being no clashes in the area. The injured were taken to a hospital, said an official of the Shwe Loikaw charity. “We were informed of the shelling and took the victims to the hospital. By the time we arrived, two of them were already dead. The shell fell right in front of their house, directly where they were sitting,” said a Shwe Loikaw member. BURMESE 

RAKHINE —A family is accusing the Arakan Army / United League of Arakan of torture after a man — alleged to be an administrator of the EAO and accused of murder — died in the group’s custody. Read DVB’s report on the case. | BURMESE

RAKHINE —Than Chaung bridge, located in northern Maungdaw, was damaged in a landmine attack thought to have been carried out by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, an Islamist armed group, at around 7 p.m. yesterday, local sources told DVB. “Last night we heard the explosion. We found out ARSA was responsible this morning and there were no injuries. ARSA once attacked a border guard force with IEDs whilst they attended a meeting at the military HQ of Kyikanpyin ,” a Tareim villager said. The bridge is made of concrete and is 50-feet long and 16-feet wide. The mine blew a one-foot deep hole in the bridge, but vehicles are still able to pass through it, according to a local bus driver. Residents say they became concerned after a recent video showing ARSA movements north of Maungdaw spread online. BURMESE 

SAGAING —A retired headmistress was killed and two other people were injured when a car activated an IED near Shwe Zalaw ward in Monywa around 2 p.m., local sources said. The incident took place near the city’s University of Economics where dance rehearsals were taking place for military-organized Thingyan performances. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. BURMESE 

SAGAING —Over 100 political prisoners of Monywa Prison were moved to an unknown location this morning. Attorney general Khin Maung Hla, Mingin Hluttaw MP Khin Mhway Lwin, and other prominent political leaders were among those transferred, a family member told DVB. “I have been told that [the relative] was moved to another prison when I went to see him this morning. We should have been informed. Now all the families are worried,” the source said. One prisoner was killed and another five were injured after security forces opened fire on a protest inside the prison on March 3. Sagaing Chief Minister Dr. Myint Aung and protest leader Wai Moe Naing are among the many well known figures being held in Monywa Prison, but DVB was unable to confirm if they had been relocated. BURMESE 

SHAN —Lway M Phaung, a 21-year-old former videographer for Shan-based news agency Shwe Hpi Myay, was today sentenced to two years in prison under Sec. 505(a) of the Penal Code by a military court in Lashio Prison. She was arrested at her Lashio home on Sep. 26 last year by security forces and was sentenced after being detained for more than six months. Mai Aung Thin Oo, a member of the Ta’ang Students and Youth Group, was also sentenced to seven years in the prison under Sec. 52 (a) of the Anti-Terrorism Law after being held for over six months. BURMESE 


S. SHAN —Fighting has reportedly broken out between the Restoration Council of Shan state (RCSS) and the United Wa State Army (UWSA) in Mong Ton township, southern Shan State. RCSS/SSA spokesperson Major Kham San told DVB that clashes erupted around 10.30 a.m. on April 5 when members of UWSA 171 Brigade attacked RCSS troops occupying a hillside. He said that there were no grievances between the UWSA and RCSS before the fighting, and believed that the attack was aimed at provoking conflict between the two groups. The RCSS said it will discuss the matter in an upcoming meeting with the USWA. Nyi Yan, the head of the UWSA’s liaison’s office, said that RCSS troops had invaded Loi Man Hton and taken shots at its troops, killing a soldier of the Wa army. BURMESE