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Thirteen civilians killed in Namkham fighting; China wants to ‘defuse’ conflict in northern Shan State

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Thirteen civilians killed in Namkham

The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) stated that 13 civilians, including three children, were killed and 43 were injured in fighting from Nov. 17 to Dec. 19 in Namkham, located in northern Shan State near the China-Burma border. 

The TNLA claimed that 49 of its fighters were killed and 145 were injured. Nearly 100 buildings, including civilians’ homes, a hospital and pagodas were destroyed by airstrikes and artillery. It added that three Burmese soldiers, including a major, were arrested. 

China wants to ‘defuse’ conflict in northern Shan State

Beijing stated that it hopes to begin a peace process in Burma between the military and the Brotherhood Alliance, which consists of the TNLA, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), and the Arakan Army (AA), following its recent attempt at brokering a ceasefire on Dec. 11.

Since Oct. 27, the Brotherhood has seized about 300 military bases and at least six towns from the military. “China hopes that relevant parties in Myanmar can speed up efforts to implement what has been agreed, exercise maximum restraint, and actively ease the situation on the ground,” said Weng Wenbin, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson. 

15.2 million people facing food insecurity

Due to the country’s political and economic crisis since the 2021 military coup, the price of food and other basic commodities have been steadily rising. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) stated that 15.2 million people in Burma are now facing either moderate or severe food insecurity. 

“The NUG [National Unity Government] is helping and providing food and the needs for people who are facing food shortages. We also provide situation reports to international organizations, asking for help. We are also ready to negotiate and coordinate food distribution,” said Kyaw Zaw, the NUG spokesperson.

The U.N. states there are now 2.6 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) nationwide. This means the number of people facing food insecurity is expected to rise. The WFP stated that it has only 59 percent of the funds needed to support the people of Burma over the next six months. 

105 Burma nationals jailed in Manipur, India

Activist group India for Myanmar (IFM) stated that 105 Burma nationals are currently detained at Imphal Central Jail in Manipur. They are migrant workers and refugees accused of entering India illegally. 

Thirty-six female inmates from Burma accused Imphal Central Jail staff of beating them for starting a hunger strike to protest not being released on the expected date of Dec. 16. “This sad incident happened just [before] the Chief Minister’s statement [about helping people from Burma]. It looks like we have to wait to see how he responds [to these accusations],” said Salaing Doh Kha, the founder of IFM.

Manipur’s Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said that 6,000 refugees from Burma have taken refuge in the state and that more were likely to arrive in the coming weeks and months due to the fighting along the India-Burma border.  

DVB Short Docs 2023 Award Winner My Notes to Spring director “Zero” accepting his prize at Chiang Mai University on Dec. 20 (Credit: DVB)

News by Region

KAREN—The Karen National Union (KNU) chairperson Padoh Saw Kwe Htoo Win gave a speech on Dec. 16 inviting Burmese soldiers to defect to the ethnic revolutionary forces in Burma and stand together with the people against the military regime. 

“This is the best time to win against the dictatorship if we fight together,” said Padoh Saw Kwe Htoo Win. He urged all people in Burma to cooperate in defeating the military regime and to reform the administrative system of the country. “Please be strong, be active and stay resilient for the future,” he added. 

The Karen National Union (KNU) claimed on Dec. 20 that it occupies all military outposts along the banks of the Salween River. Forces led by the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) seized the last military outpost at Point-939 Molokyo in Hpapun (Mutraw) district, Karen State on Dec. 16. The KNU stated that it seized weapons and ammunition. 

SHAN—Kyaukme residents claimed that three people, including two 14-year-old students, were killed and three homes were destroyed in an airstrike in Hukwak village, located in Kyaukme Township, on Dec. 18. “There was no fighting in the village but a jet fighter dropped two bombs,” said a Hukwak village resident. 

Read our latest Q&A with Tony Wilson, the founder and director of Security Force Monitor, which published Under Whose Command?

Watch our latest: Kim Aris on Aid2Burma & the Freedom Tattoo Campaign. DVB English News is on X, FB, IG, Threads, TikTok & YouTube.

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