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HomeDaily BriefingThe Daily Briefing: Tuesday, June 14, 2022

The Daily Briefing: Tuesday, June 14, 2022


Junta rebukes Cambodian PM’s call to halt death sentences. The SAC is believed to have roundly rejected an appeal from the Cambodian PM after Hun Sen personally requested that Min Aung Hlaing reconsider the executions of two of Burma’s leading democracy figures. Read more

AA plays up defections as junta number two visits Rakhine. Hundreds of Burma Army soldiers have defected to the Arakan Army (AA) and are being provided humanitarian assistance, AA spokesperson Khaing Thukha announced during an online press conference today. The comments come one day after vice-senior general Soe Win visited troops in the state. Read more. | BURMESE

Special Envoy paints dire picture to UNGA. In an informal hearing in New York last night, the UN Special Envoy for Burma, Noeleen Heyzer, told the General Assembly (UNGA) that the coup had “opened new frontlines that had long been at peace”, and that Burma’s challenges had “both deepened and expanded dramatically”. The diplomat told the UNGA that half of Burma’s population is now living below the poverty line, and that 14.4 million people (a quarter of the population) are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. 

In Burma, she said, state, social, and economic institutions have collapsed, with the spread of armed conflict leading to declining crop yields, the disruption of healthcare and education services, increased crime, and a weakening of the country’s banking sector. The Special Envoy stated that poverty has doubled in Burma over the past five years. “Through direct contact with the people of Burma, I learned about the human tragedy behind these figures… A generation that has benefitted from the democratic transition is now disillusioned, facing chronic hardship and, tragically, many feel they have no choice left but to take up arms,” Heyzer added. 

In a comment that may go some way towards assuaging recent criticisms she has encountered, the envoy acknowledged that: “Barriers to humanitarian support are the result of deliberate regime policies aimed at constraining the ability of communities to asset affected civilians in areas of active conflict.” Dr Heyzer has yet to visit Naypyidaw and remains effectively barred by the junta from entering the country. | BURMESE

Burma’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, reiterated his commitment to ending the military regime with remarks made during a meeting with Dr Heyzer at yesterday’s informal UNGA session. The pro-democracy diplomat warned that the situation in Burma was deteriorating, and called on the UNGA to deliver urgent humanitarian aid. UN representatives from the United States and the United Kingdom also engaged in a discussion on the crisis in Burma. | BURMESE

Suu Kyi speaks out as latest corruption trial opens. Ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday passed on words of encouragement to the people of Burma, urging citizens to cooperate in the name of unity, a source close to the court told DVB. BURMESE She delivered the verbal message in a Naypyidaw military court during a hearing related to fresh corruption charges levied against herself and President Win Myint. The junta had charged the pair under Sec. 55 of the Anti-Corruption Law alongside Win Myat Aye, the former NLD Minister of Social Welfare, Relief, and Resettlement. Military prosecutors allege that the defendants misallocated public funds when using a helicopter for disaster relief purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. The defendants’ lawyers yesterday cross-examined witnesses and presented a contract between the ousted NLD government and a company related to the purchase of the helicopter, according to a source close to the court. Only two of five charges related to the sale were heard during yesterday’s session. | BURMESE 

Rohingya with ID cards unable to travel outside of Rakhine township. Rohingya people living in Rakhine’s northern Maungdaw township have told DVB that prohibitive documentation requirements continue to limit their freedom of movement, despite the granting of NCV identity cards. Read more

Nordics criticize junta over death sentences. The Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) yesterday issued a joint statement condemning the SAC’s plan to execute four prominent political dissidents as well as the military’s use of violence against civilians across Burma. “We are deeply concerned by the Myanmar military’s reported plans to resume executions. The death penalty is a blatant violation to the right to life, liberty, and security of persons as per Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” the statement said. The countries added that they backed the diplomatic efforts of ASEAN and the UN’s Special Envoy to Burma to end the political crisis in Burma. The statement called for “all parties” to refrain from violence and to engage in “inclusive and constructive” dialogue, and expressed alarm over the growing humanitarian crisis in the country. The northern European nations, considered by many to be the world’s leading proponents of democracy and human rights, expressed their support for the democratic aspirations of the people of Burma.

Junta moves to outlaw NUG banking app. The Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) on June 10 warned that it will take legal action against businesses it finds are accepting unauthorized mobile payment methods. The CBM announced that private companies found accepting mobile payment methods which had not gained its approval would face fines, and employees could be imprisoned under Sec. 172 of the Financial Institutions Act. The CBM’s warning comes after the National Unity Government (NUG) this month announced the launch of NUG Pay, a mobile banking app. According to the NUG, the app (which is similar to the formerly popular Wave Money platform, operated by tycoon Serge Pun’s Yoma Strategic) will allow users to make cash transfers and receive payments, as well as to donate to the parallel government. NUG Pay can be purchased for K10,000 (US$5.40). The military-controlled CBM has ruled that Wave Money, Qatari firm Ooredoo’s M-Pitesan, military-backed OK$ and MytelPay, and military joint venture MPT Pay are acceptable platforms. | BURMESE

Tycoon Zaw Zaw calls time on football league role. Zaw Min Thein has been appointed as the new chairman of the Myanmar National League (MNL) — Burma’s premier football league — after the MNL Committee’s leadership was shuffled, removing tycoon Zaw Zaw from the top posting. Eleven Media group reported that the committee met in Zaw Zaw’s Novotel Hotel in Yangon on June 9 and appointed new leadership. There were rumors following the coup that Zaw Zaw — one of Burma’s richest men, owner of Max Cement and AYA Bank and a former sponsor of the NLD government — had been brought before the SAC and sternly spoken to. Aside from running the league, Zaw Min Thein is also president of Rakhine United F.C. (who surely become instant favorites for next year’s MNL title).

News by Region

BAGO—More than 1,000 villagers from Dala Seik village tract, Kyaukkyi township, KNU Brigade 3 territory, were displaced by the Burma Army’s shelling on the morning of June 12, according to a KNU press release. The EAO reported that troops based in Inpari village on the western banks of the Sittaung River fired artillery at Leinpinwei village — home to 1,184 people across 259 houses — on the eastern side of the river. There were no reported civilian casualties. 444 locals from the nearby Narwe Pin village and 548 from Gyoone village were forced to flee on June 11 due to the military’s bombardment of the area. The military also shelled nearby Nga Byae Inn village in the township on June 10. Residents raised concerns over the continuation of fierce fighting and shelling after the military sent further reinforcements into the region. | BURMESE

CHIN —The Chinland Defense Force (CDF) Kanpetlet said that fighting continued in the township on Sunday, with troops storming Kyauk Taw and Anbon villages. The group claimed that a further 11 military personnel were killed in clashes and that several others were wounded, yet once again did not report any casualties on its side. A resident said that villagers in Anbon village had to flee as junta troops stationed themselves  within the village. The military also cut off internet and telecommunication lines to the area. Fighting between the groups has continued across the week, after troops took a base camp established by the CDF in Kanpetlet. | BURMESE

KACHIN —21 gem pickers and their family members — including children and the elderly — have been arrested in upper Malinchaung village, Hpakant township, forcing villagers to flee in fear of further violence. Most of those arrested are said to have been relocated from lower Malinchaung village after their homes were burned down by Burma Army soldiers. Witnesses told DVB that hundreds of soldiers set up barricades around the village on the night of June 10 and around 20 soldiers stormed houses in the village and arrested the miners and their families. Among those arrested were a 75-year-old said to be in poor health and four children, (including two three-year-olds). The reason behind the raid remains unclear, but locals suggested that it came after Ohn Kyaw, a village administrator and Pyusawhti leader, was killed along with four of his associates on the night of May 31. “The military arrested anyone they saw without exempting children and the elderly. Who would dare live in that village? Everyone just fled,” a Malinchaung villager told DVB. The whereabouts of the detained villagers is currently unknown. There are reports that residents are also facing extensive flooding across the township following heavy rains. | BURMESE

KACHIN  —The KIA arrested a number of alleged drug dealers and users in villages in Momauk township between June 10 to June 12, according to locals. “In our villages, the drug trade and drug usage has gotten worse since the military coup. I thank the KIA for the arrests. I want effective action to be taken against drug dealers,” a resident told DVB. At least 20 villagers from Nantina, Konelaw, and other villages have been arrested in relation to drug cases and only two women and a man have so far been released. “I saw two people from my village arrested with their hands tied behind their backs. We were terrified at first but were relieved when we later learned that they were drug dealers and users being arrested,” another resident said. DVB was unable to reach the KIA for comment about the arrests. Drug usage has spiraled across Burma since the coup, with Kachin, a center of Burma’s heroin and black opium production, being particularly hard hit. | BURMESE

KAREN —A police station in Wawlaymyaing sub-township, south of Myawaddy near the Burma-Thailand border, was raided and taken by KNLA-led forces early yesterday morning. Three police officers were captured and firearms were confiscated during the attack. A KNLA official said the group would continue to occupy military installments in townships near the Burma-Thailand border. The KNU recently stated that the military was proving increasingly unable to hold onto bases and assets in the region. Karen Border Guard Forces in the area have partially withdrawn to their central command (and business hub) in Shwe Koko. | BURMESE

KARENNI —Two resistance group fighters were killed and others were injured during clashes against the Burma Army between June 10 to 12 in Demoso and Hpruso townships, according to a press release from Karenni PDFs. 20-year-old Maung Pila Sho from Demoso PDF died and others were injured on June 10 after resistance forces attacked a military base in Khauk Pa Lawt village, Demoso. Another member of the group was killed in a skirmish that broke out in Demoso’s 6 Mile village on June 11. Clashes between the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) and the military are also reported to have occurred in Demoso’s Pupha village on June 12. A church and some civilian homes were destroyed by the military’s shelling of Htee Paw So village in nearby Hpruso township during the fighting. | BURMESE

NAYPYIDAW —Two IEDs activated in Lewe township in Naypyidaw Region today, resulting in possible casualties according to local sources. “An IED detonated near a traffic light in Bawdi Kone, Lewe township. A vehicle was damaged in the first explosion. Then another blast occurred when soldiers and traffic police officers checked on the vehicle,” a witness told DVB. The exact casualties remain unknown. No group has claimed responsibility for the blasts. Security forces inspected motorists and pedestrians in the township following the incident. | BURMESE

RAKHINE —A refugee was killed, and another was injured when a landmine exploded whilst the pair were harvesting bamboo on a mountain in Myebon township this morning, according to a Sanyin village administrator. 35-year-old Tin Maung Than was killed on the spot the landmine detonated and 29-year-old Maung Kyi Win was injured. The military is said to have deployed on the mountain. On May 29, a local in Paletwa lost his leg in a landmine explosion and a woman in nearby Yoke Thar village, Kyauktaw township, was also killed after stepping on a mine on May 31. Around 200 civilians have been killed and injured in landmine incidents in Rakhine State since 2018, according to information provided by civil society organizations. | BURMESE

SAGAING —Saw PDF has claimed that one of its branches (named “We Are The One”) has successfully produced a long-range artillery type weapons system. The weapon has been baptised the “Mytel Ma Ma”, as shells used are said to have been produced from raw materials obtained from downed military-owned Mytel telecommunication towers. Yinmarbin PDF has previously stated that it too has been producing weapons using scrap material reclaimed after towers were felled with IEDs. “It was developed with great difficulty over the course of a month. It fires 60mm mortars, but we have yet to measure its range,” a Saw PDF information officer told DVB. The PDF said the weapons are affordable to produce and that the low cost of the saltpeter used in its mortars means a full round of ammunition can be produced for just K10,000 (US$5), with other materials running to around K4,000 (US$2). There were no reports of casualties during the testing phase of the new weapon, yet two members of Saw PDF were said to have died in an accident while testing long-range artillery in February. The invention is the latest in a catalog of homebrew weapons systems that have been developed by resistance groups since their formation. | BURMESE

SAGAING —Five resistance groups attacked a police station with drones and ground forces in Shein Makar village, Wetlet township, on the afternoon of June 12, killing at least three soldiers, according to the Without Borders armed group. “We attacked them from above with drones with the assistance of technology created by a local youth group. Our forces not only attacked from the ground but also with drones. We started fighting at around 2 p.m. and reached the military’s camp at around 4.30 p.m. At that point, those in the camp fled elsewhere,” he said. Military helicopters reportedly fired on the guerrilla groups during fighting near Shein Makar village in the evening. Resistance groups reported no casualties. | BURMESE

SAGAING —The military burned down a camp hosting an all-female unit of the Myaung Revolutionary Army (MRA) in Myaung township on the morning of June 11. The MRA did not report any casualties. In the same announcement, the group said that it had refrained from carrying out roadside bombings against troops as the army had begun taking civilians as human shields within their convoys when traversing the region. Despite this, the MRA said that it had killed two soldiers with bombs dropped by drone. “We could have ambushed the military using IEDs on the road, but we were afraid to harm civilians that were being used as human shields. As a result, we chose to use drones to counter the junta’s attack instead,” an MRA official told DVB. The MRA advised locals to stay away from the military when traveling to avoid being captured and used as human shields. | BURMESE

SAGAING —The military set fire to more than a hundred houses in villages in Taungdwin area of Minkin township, Kale district on the morning of June 13, while one person was seriously injured in the army’s shelling of the region, locals said. More than 70 houses in Kone Maw village and more than 40 homes in Letpantaw village were destroyed and more than 50 pigs died in the fires. In addition, soldiers shot dead five cows owned by locals and stole 20 more from residents. A resident said that the junta troops that committed the arson attacks are stationed in Kyaw Ywa village. The arson attacks occurred after clashes broke out between PDFs and the military when the army launched an offensive into Kone Maw village on the morning of June 13. Five military personnel were reportedly killed, and two PDF members were injured in the fighting, a PDF leader said. | BURMESE

S. SHAN —A car carrying a Pyusawhti leader, Win Myint, and two of his companions was fired upon in Ywangan township on the early evening of June 12, according to local sources. One of Win Myint’s associates is said to have died on the spot and Win Myint was seriously wounded and is being treated at a military hospital in Aungban. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. The Pyusawhti leader is said to have carried out arson attacks and looted the valuables of locals in Perindaung and Lwha Sin villages with other junta forces. He is also thought to be responsible for the murder of ten villagers from Perindaung after accusing them of being PDF members and hid their corpses. “Win Myint is a Pyusawhti leader and other members of the militia were providing security for him. He arrested locals from Myinkado village who had links to the NLD. He also sealed off the houses of locals that fled to other countries due to the political crisis and looted valuables inside the homes,” a resident in Myingkado village said. | BURMESE

S. SHAN —A church security guard in Moebye has not been heard from since the military arrested him more than a year ago. Four men serving as guards for a Moebye Catholic church were arrested by the military in Pekon township on June 4 of last year. Three of the men were released, but the relatives of 49-year-old Marku have not heard from him yet, according to a family member. Marku is said to be a civilian and was arrested while he was guarding the church. “I heard that he is being detained at [Taunggyi’s] Taung Lay Lone Prison, but I am not certain. I want to know whether he is dead or alive. If charges have been filed against him, I want to know what they are and what prison he is in,” one of his family members told DVB. | BURMESE

TANINTHARYI —A professor from Dawei University’s Burmese Language Department and a township administration clerk Mya Mya Moe were shot dead in their homes in Pantininn village, Launglone township on the evening of June 12. It is reported that they previously received warning messages with bullets attached. Launglone PDF and The Dawei Guerrilla Revolutionary Force (DGRF) jointly claimed responsibility for the attacks and claimed that the victims were military informants, intimidated anti-military activists and CDM staff. The groups also claimed that residents had fled the village due to the information Mya Mya Moe reported to the junta. However, two locals from the village denied the group’s accusations. “The resistance group’s statement said that many people had to flee with their families because of Mya Mya Moe’s complaints. However, this never happened. She is a clerk that does sometimes shout at villagers though,” a young anti-military activist from Pantininn village told DVB. Mya Mya Moe was in her late 50s and was about to retire and did not participate in CDM, but she did help CDM workers obtain recommendation letters and COVID-19 vaccine certificates from junta-appointed administrators. Dr Win Bo was a 40-year-old lecturer and is said to have lived in the village with his family and did have close friendships with military officers that visited his home. A local university student said that Win Bo disagreed with students involved in the anti-military movement, but it was not certain he was a military informant. On July 12 of last year, a 70-year-old veteran Aung Kyi was shot dead for similar allegations of being an informant in the village. There have been frequent reports of assassinations of alleged military informants in Launglone township, and the public is increasingly critical of these killings. | BURMESE


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