Myanmar Military Cuts More Towns From The Internet

Recently, the junta cut off mobile internet access and most Wi-Fi services to 11 townships in war-torn areas of Chin State and Magway Region, according to locals and members of the local resistance forces in the area.
Gangaw, Htilin, and Myaing in Magway Region, and Falam, Kanpetlet, Matupi, Mindat, Paletwa, Tedim, Thantlang, and Tonzang in Chin State are affected.
The internet blackout will make it difficult for locals to send and receive information about the conditions in the region, say locals.
“After the internet connection has been cut off, the phone connection may also be disconnected. A Mindat resident told Myanmar Now that the situation won’t be easy in that case.
Several buildings were struck by artillery shells fired by the Myanmar army during a clash with the Chinland Defence Force (CDF) on September 22 in Mindat.
On September 18, fighting broke out between junta troops and the CDF in Thantlang, forcing nearly all residents to flee. Several homes and a government building were set ablaze by the junta’s artillery fire, and a Christian pastor who tried to put out the fire was killed by Myanmar army troops.
Soldiers cut off the pastor’s ring finger on his left hand to steal his wedding band, details of which went viral on social media.
Hakha, the capital of the Chin State, had internet access on Saturday morning, according to locals.
In the Sagaing Region, Myingyan and Mogok in Mandalay, Taungdwingyi in Magway, and Kani, Pale, Taze, Ye-U and Yinmabin in Sagaing, internet connections have been cut since September 14.
Kachin State’s Hpakant has been without internet since August.
On Thursday, 11 more townships in Magway and Chin State were added to the 22 townships without internet access.
The Mindat People’s Administration Team spokesperson speculated that the restrictions on internet access were likely timed to coincide with the military’s increased operations in the region to suppress resistance.
“They cut the internet and the flow of information because they fear we will step up offensives against them, or they are preparing to launch offensives against us,” the spokesperson said.
The lack of internet access, however, would not have a major impact on guerrilla groups, which do not use the internet for communication.
An official of the Yaw Defence Force (YDF), a local resistance group operating in Gangaw, Myaing, and Htilin townships in Magway, echoed the assessment of the situation by the Mindat People’s Administration Team.
“The military cut the internet because they can’t win. This is their usual tactic and won’t have much effect on the revolutionary forces. We will stick to what we are doing regardless,” the YDF official said.
The military council has not published information about the cuts.
Immediately following the February 1 military coup, the junta implemented tight internet controls throughout the country to suppress news of its brutal crackdowns on peaceful anti-dictatorship protests.
The freedom to access the Internet in Myanmar has since collapsed, creating the worst decline ever documented by Freedom House (FH) in its annual report on Freedom of the Net, Free Expression Myanmar.
Myanmar’s 21st Freedom of the Net report, released on September 21, stated that the military junta shut down internet service, blocked social media platforms and websites, seized control of telecommunications infrastructure, and tightened surveillance in order to suppress dissent.
In 2019, at the height of the conflict between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army, much of northern Rakhine State lost internet access for more than a year.

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