Archive for the ‘May’ Category

Myanmar Military Is Preparing For New Crackdown

August 22, 2021

As the military junta has ordered its unit commanders and other senior officers to prepare for combat, the crackdown on its opponents is likely to intensify in the coming days. There has been an increase in daily unrest, including killings and bombings carried out by anti-regime civilian fighters against regime troops and their associates throughout the country.
The Irrawaddy reported that the order was sent to commanders last week. The order was issued directly by the military’s top command in Naypyitaw, the capital.
In the message, the commanders were also warned that terrorists might intercept their messages, and they were instructed to use jamming devices. They were also instructed to remain in combat mode at all times.
People of all walks of life opposed the military rule after the coup in February. After the junta’s brutal crackdown on protesters, many young people have taken up arms.arms. Since then, anyone who opposes the regime has been branded a terrorist.
Commanders were instructed to set up more checkpoints and to launch surprise checks in residential areas in response to this order.
Across the country, including in Yangon, bloody attacks against the regime have become more frequent this month. A rail train carrying policemen was attacked last week by four unknown attackers on Yangon’s Circular Railway, highlighting the bloody reality that civilian resistance against the junta has yet to wane, more than six months into the regime’s rule. The regime in upper Myanmar admitted that aircraft were damaged during an attack on an airbase. In response, the junta conducted more night raids and manhunts. A joint force of police and military personnel arrested at least 15 young people in Yangon this week. They looted goods and valuables from homes while doing so.
Raids have led to deaths in some cases. To avoid being captured by the junta in Yangon, five young people jumped from a building on Aug. 10. There were two deaths, among them a young woman, and three injuries and arrests. Three injured persons have been hospitalized by the military regime, but their families have been denied access to them.
The attacks against the junta are mostly carried out by loosely organized resistance forces, mostly known as the People’s Defense Force (PDF), in Yangon and elsewhere. They have used homemade weapons, grenades, and guns. The regime has branded them “terrorists” who are destabilizing the country.
Myanmar’s junta designated the shadow National Unity Government (NUG) and its affiliated Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) as terrorist groups in May 2021, blocking any direct the organization’s efforts to promote democracy.
Eventually, the NUG formed the People’s Defense Force (PDF), saying it was necessary to stop killings and other violent acts against the people committed by the junta, which calls itself the State Administration Council. The NUG’s Defense Ministry said many youth members are being trained.
According to analysts and diplomats in Yangon, the regime is concerned about coordinated attacks in the countryside and in the city. Residents report seeing more security personnel on busy streets and inside buildings, including plainclothes soldiers and police.
In the countryside, the military’s security forces frequently clash with PDF members and ethnic militias.
In June 2021, in response to increasing attacks and assassinations, the junta formed Pyu Saw Htee groups around the country, reportedly with the support of the military, to combat the anti-regime movement. The first PDF was formed in mid-May after the formation of the PDFs.
Since the coup in February, Myanmar has been in turmoil, and the junta hasn’t been able to restore stability. So far, over 1,000 people have been killed and over 4,000 have been detained.

Myanmar People Now Have To Worry About Dying from COVID-19 or The Myanmar Military

June 30, 2021

Recently, there were a record number of COVID-19 cases with 1,225 positive tests from 6,586 conducted tests and 12 deaths, the highest number since May/

More than 1,200 cases have been reported since June 12,

According to the junta-controlled health ministry, Myanmar had 154,385 COVID-19 cases with 3,309 deaths. The ministry has issued stay-at-home orders in 11 townships in Sagaing and Bago regions as well as in Chin and Shan states.

As health care staff joined the civil disobedience movement (CDM), refusing to work for the military regime, COVID-19 testing dropped. Since Feb. 8, the regime has called on the health staff to return to work.

In January, approximately 16,000 to 18,000 swab tests were conducted a day by the ousted civilian government of the National League for Democracy.

The number of tests administered per day decreased to a bit over 1,500 between February and early June.

Since June 12, 2021, the number of daily swab tests has risen again between 3,000 and 7,000.

Most cases have been reported in border towns with India, China, and Bangladesh. The junta has yet to introduce effective measures to curb the spread of the virus in Myanmar’s borders.

Since June 1, the health ministry has distributed over 12 million surgical masks and conducted health awareness activities.

Three mutant coronavirus strains have been detected in Myanmar, including the Delta strain from India.

The junta is expanding quarantine centers, opening dedicated hospital wards and promoting vaccines from China and India.

Myanmar’s COVID-19 vaccine program has also struggled under the junta, as millions of civilians refuse the jab, and thousands of health workers have gone on strike and joined the CDM.

On January 27, the NLD began a nationwide vaccination program for COVID-19 using vaccines donated by AstraZeneca. Health care staff and volunteers received shots first.

Since the military took over on Feb. 1, almost all health workers have refused to receive the second vaccination in protest.

In May, the regime claimed that more than 1.7 million citizens had received two vaccinations.

Many people have refused to get inoculated because they distrust the quality control of the COVID-19 vaccines.

In the absence of the needed vaccines, the lawyers representing State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in her Naypyitaw trials have to test for the HIV virus every time they travel. They need a certificate proofing that their tests are negative for this virus.

Myanmar Military Involved In Shootout With Opposition Troops

June 23, 2021

During the shootout, eight PDF fighters were killed and eight were arrested, while some junta troops were seriously injured, according to military-run Myawady TV.
The commander of the Mandalay PDF’s urban guerrilla warfare unit, who goes by the pseudonym Bo Tun Tauk Naing, told The Irrawaddy that only two resistance fighters were killed.
Students and civil servants on strike are among the six arrested.
“We also seized some weapons,” he said.
Early this morning, Junta troops reportedly raided a boarding school where PDF fighters were based in Hton Tone ward.
“They found us. They came to our base at the corner of 111st and 112nd streets on 54th Street and we fired at them as they approached,” Bo Tun Tauk Naing said.
As their colleagues from other parts of town rushed to rescue them, the PDF fighters attempted to withdraw from the base.
According to the PDF, grenades were used by Junta forces. The Junta also used snipers and armored vehicles in the clash.
“Junta troops arrived at 7 a.m. At 111th and 54th streets, the gunmen opened fire. The shooting was not heavy. At 8 a.m., there was an exchange of fire. 8.30 a.m. and 9.30 a.m. Until now, junta troops have not raided houses. While the clash was still going on in the morning, a resident of Hton Tone Ward said, “They are detaining every man they see.”.
Machine guns and grenades were heard, he said.
Recently, the US and Canadian embassies in Yangon called for an end to the violence and the protection of civilians, saying they were disturbed and concerned by the fighting in Mandalay.
The Mandalay PDF was formed by local resistance fighters who underwent military training provided by ethnic armed groups. Mandalay PDF is part of the National Unity Government.

Five People Were Arrested in Myanmar For Assassination

June 21, 2021

Five people were arrested in Yangon’s Botahtaung Township recently near the site of the assassination of former Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) MP Nay Myo Aung.

Local residents say all five live near Botahtaung Pagoda, where Nay Myo Aung was killed by two men on motorcycles on June 10, 2021.

Win Htay and Hla Htay are said to be employees of the Myanma Port Authority’s civil engineering department. Three others were identified as Soe Thaung, Htein Lin, and Kyaw San Win.

The men’s relatives say they have not heard from them since they were taken into custody.

According to a member of the National League for Democracy (NLD) living in Botataung Township, none of the five detainees are affiliated with the NLD.

In regard to the death of Nay Myo Aung, some USDP members were pointing fingers at the assailants, he said.

Nay Myo Aung was elected to the Yangon Region parliament in 2010 as the representative for Seikkan Township’s constituency 2, but he lost his seat five years later when the NLD took power in Myanmar.

He ran again in 2018 and defeated his NLD rival by around 150 votes. Ultimately, the result was overturned because of alleged electoral fraud, allowing the NLD candidate, who received the second-most votes, to claim the seat.

USDP spokesperson Thein Tun Oo said after his murder that the party was responding according to the law.

USDP members are accused of serving as informants for the regime that seized power on February 1. In the wake of murderous crackdowns on protesters, several party members have been targeted by guerilla groups.

A fatal drive-by shooting in May 2021 resulted in the death of the USDP township chair in Bilin, Mon State, who was walking with his wife to their rambutan plantation when he was shot in the head by two gunmen.

A USDP member and former local administrator in Mohnyin, Kachin State, was assassinated before dawn on June 1, 2021.

Opposition Retailating For Myanmar Military Killings

June 2, 2021

As attacks on regime officials continue across the country, four people have been killed in three separate incidents in Mandalay Region’s Myingyan District, including three village administrators.

A village administrator and his secretary were killed in Kyaungpyu Kan on Monday amid accusations that they had called in regime soldiers to quell anti-coup activities.

According to a resident who spoke to Myanmar Now on condition of anonymity, Junta troops stormed the village twice after Myint Aung threatened opponents.

He even fed the soldiers at his home, said the villager, noting that Myint Aung was appointed to his position after the coup.

Many Kyaungpyu Kan residents, including striking teachers and other anti-coup dissidents, fled the village after the two men were killed.

Recently, the administrator of Myothar, a village in Ngazun Township in Myingyan District, was also killed.

According to a Myothar resident, Win Naing, who also served in the military as a second warrant officer, was stabbed to death at around 11:30am by two unidentified men in a beer shop near the local police station.

He was accused of taking photographs of anti-coup protesters and pointing out their houses to the regime’s authorities, resulting in several arrests.

Villagers say Win Naing had been the village administrator before the military coup and that he was killed despite tightened security in the village.

He said the place where the men stabbed him was only a few minutes away from where the junta’s authorities were interrogating people.

Win Naing’s house was struck by a bomb last week, but no casualties were reported, said the villager.

“His house was bombed. Several other houses were also damaged.He ignored the warnings of the people,” he said.

In Myingyan Township, another killing was reported in the village of Thapyaythar the day before.

Ten people wearing camouflage uniforms killed village administrator Win Shwe outside his house, according to a local resident who could not provide further details about the incident.

Before the coup, Win Shwe was already village administrator. He cooked and fed soldiers stationed in the village often, according to local sources.

There were fierce clashes last month between regime forces and locals armed with hunting rifles and homemade weapons in Myingyan.My

Recently, several attacks on local officials suspected of acting as regime informants have been reported around the country.

An official who also ran as a pro-military candidate in last year’s election was shot and killed in Yangon’s Hlaing Tharyar Township.

In addition to two other officials killed in Yangon last month, a local township chair of the military’s proxy party was also fatally shot in Mon State.

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Phuket Still Wants To Have No Quarantine For Expats After July 1 2021

June 2, 2021

Since the pandemic shut down international travel to Phuket in March 2020, the resort island is preparing to reopen its doors to foreigners who have been vaccinated without quarantine starting on July 1, 2021.
Sandbox, Phuket’s reopening project, will require the city to achieve herd immunity by vaccinating 70 percent of its population, including tourists and residents, before the first international traveler arrives.
Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, president of the Phuket Tourist Association, said recently that international tourists must be fully vaccinated before visiting Phuket. . This means they have to complete all the doses required for a given vaccine brand.
When applying for a visa, foreign visitors must provide their vaccination certificates. At least 14 days before they apply, they must have been immunized. Upon arrival in the kingdom, travelers must present their vaccine certification again.
The vaccine brand must be approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Thailand, as well as the authorities of the traveler’s country of origin.
It is required that travelers stay on the island for at least seven days before moving on to another part of the country. Those who do not plan to visit another Thai province can stay up to seven days before returning home.
Thousands of European travelers visited Phuket in the third and fourth quarters prior to the pandemic, and the reopening is intended to appeal to them.
“It’s hard to predict how many visitors Sandbox will bring,” said Bhummikitti.
Though discussions have been ongoing, the authorities have not yet finalized specific measures for the Sandbox project. The questions remaining include whether and how the traveler will be tested during their stay, as well as how children will travel.
The success of the model depends on how friendly these settings are to tourists, said Bhummikitti. No one will come if the rules and regulations are unfriendly.
Phuket’s tourism-based economy has been wrecked by the lack of international tourists for more than a year. During the pandemic, up to 100,000 workers lost their jobs, causing residents’ incomes to plummet.
COVID-19 restrictions will be eased on the island starting in June. Spas, scuba diving businesses, martial arts schools, and golf courses will all be allowed to reopen under the new guidelines. Employees and service providers of businesses such as massage parlors, tattoo shops, nurseries, and aesthetic clinics must be fully vaccinated or have received a dose of AstraZeneca.
According to previous plans, 70 percent of the island’s population will receive both shots or at least one shot AstraZeneca by June 15, 2021. However, Bhummikitti believes there may be some delays.
Recently, 3,609,882 doses of vaccines had been administered in Thailand. 1,110,953 people have received both doses.
Thailand will begin mass vaccination programs on June 7, 2021. Starting that day, foreigners will also be able to register for their inoculations at vaccination centers.
Phuket has been offering vaccinations to foreigners since May 19, 2021. As of May 20, 2021, 8,585 people had received both doses.

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The Myanmar Military Burns Three Houses In Village

May 30, 2021

During recent raids on three villages in Magwe Region, regime forces killed three people and set houses on fire at random.

After military trucks passing through the township were struck by explosives the same day, villagers were subjected to a crackdown.

Among the victims was Saw Min Hlaing Oo, a 33-year-old primary school teacher taking part in the nationwide general strike against the coup regime; he was shot in the waist and the thigh. Other casualties included two men aged 50 and 33, but their names were not known at the time of reporting.

The local resident of Gangaw said he did not know why the houses-three in total-were destroyed.

“The soldiers opened fire on the villages from a road. Several bullets hit my village,” a local man told Myanmar Now, asking not to mention the names of the targeted villages for fear of reprisals. “Some of the shooting victims were fleeing when bullets passed just over their heads. All the villagers fled.”

While fleeing the regime forces’ attack, a woman in her 70s slipped down a hillside and broke one of her legs as she was shot in the arm, the local added.

Around 5:30 pm, after the soldiers had left, villagers returned to their homes.

Residents of Kani and Yinmabin townships in the southern Sagaing Region, which borders the Magwe Region, have been resisting the junta rule with homemade guns and explosives since April.

The military retaliated by raiding several villages in those areas to crush the locals’ armed resistance, forcing more than 15,000 residents to flee to the forests to hide or seek refuge in other towns.

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The Chulabhron Royal Academy Will Be The Thai Organization in Charge Of The COVID-19 Vaccines In Thailand

May 30, 2021

The Chulabhorn Royal Academy (CRA) was recently granted the power to act unilaterally to secure vaccines and to act in the public’s interest on issues concerning the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an announcement in the Royal Gazette.
Chulabhorn Institute and Royal Academy are scientific research institutes named after and headed by HRH Princess Chulabhorn.
The ambiguously worded announcement could mean that the institute will no longer be bound by government regulations to bring in vaccines.
Furthermore, the announcement gives the organizations sweeping powers to carry out actions that will help the public interest as the third wave of the pandemic continues to wreak havoc across Thailand.
In one analysis, the order was viewed as a rebuke against the government of Prayut.
To stem the tide of Covid-19, the government consistently fails to implement public health measures.
In particular, the Prayut Chan-o-cha administration failed to halt travel and lock down the country during the Songkran Festival (this year, it was a four-day holiday), which contributed to the spread of the pandemic.
Government officials and public health minister Anuthin Charnvirakul also failed to act quickly to obtain vaccines, delaying the acquisition of vaccines through the winter months until the pandemic’s third wave was already underway.

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Rohingya Refugees From Myanmar and Other Countries Stuck On Isolated Island

May 29, 2021

Dilara dreamed of a new life in Malaysia as she set off from the coast of Bangladesh.

She and hundreds of others were rescued after spending days floating at sea after being turned away at the border.

However, they were not returned to the mainland or their families.

The group was abandoned on an island made of silt in the middle of the Bay of Bengal by their rescuers, with no hope of escaping.

“I don’t know how long I will stay here. I have no way out,” the unmarried young woman, who fears leaving her room in the dark, told the press.

“I will grow old and die here alone.”

As part of a planned 100,000 Rohingya refugee settlement, Dilara arrived on Bhasan Char, a piece of land measuring 40 square kilometers (15 square miles) in size which had previously served as a stop-off point for fishermen.

The Bangladeshi authorities have hailed it as a solution to the overcrowded refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, which are home to almost a million Rohingya refugees who arrived recently. Myanmar’s army launched a military offensive in 2017, which the UN later called a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”. Earlier violence had driven some people away.

Authorities say, however, that the Rohingya refugee camps have become crime hotspots.

Despite this, the press spoke by phone to refugees on the small island of mud. They describe a place where there is no work, few facilities and little hope of a better future.

It is said that those who attempt to flee are caught and beaten, and refugees are turning on one another as frustration rises. Moreover, they fear that one big storm could wash them away as they are just 2m (6ft) above sea level.

The press was granted access to the island last year, but it is hard to say what is going on. There has been no free access for journalists, aid agencies, or human rights groups to Bhasan Char, which is 60km (37.5 miles) from the mainland.

To protect their identities, the names of a few residents have been changed.

When Halima and her family arrived in December, heavily pregnant, Halima wondered how they would survive.

“It was such a desolate place. Apart from us, nobody lived here.”

The next day, she went into labor without being able to find a doctor or nurse.

“I had experienced childbirth before, but this time it was the worst. I can’t tell you how painful it was.”

Her husband, Enayet, rushed to find a Rohingya woman living in the same block who was trained as a midwife.

Halima says, “God helped me.”. Fathima was her daughter.

Rohingya face a new threat on a remote island
‘The bodies were thrown from the boat in the night’
The Rohingya crisis: What you need to know
Enayet had promised them a new life on the island without telling his family.

“They [Bangladeshi officials] promised us a plot of land for each family, cows, buffaloes, and loans for businesses,” he told the press.

Halima says that despite having access to running water, bunk beds, a gas stove, and a shared toilet in her accommodation, the reality has been quite different.

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The Myanmar Military Have Arrested An American Journalist

May 29, 2021

As Danny Fenster was about to leave on an international flight for Bangkok when he was detained at the airport, Frontier magazine reports he was imprisoned in Insein prison.

Fenster, who hails from the Detroit area in the United States, previously worked for Myanmar Now, another independent news source. The journalist is the fourth foreigner detained since the military seized power in a coup on February 1st, 2021.

After being arrested, freelancers Robert Bociaga, from Poland, and Yuki Kitazumi, from Japan, were deported. Nathan Maung, a US citizen who was arrested during a raid on his Kamayut Media office, as well as fact freelancers Robert Bociaga, from Poland, and Yuki Kitazumi, from Japan, were all deported following their arrests. Nathan Maung, a US citizen who was arrested in a raid on his Kamayut Media office, has been charged with spreading “fake news” and appeared in court earlier this month.

Danny has been detained since this morning and Frontier has not been able to contact him since then, Frontier said in a tweet on Monday night. We are concerned about his wellbeing and call for his immediate release. The priority right now is to ensure that he is safe and to provide him with any assistance he may need.

The military has used increasingly brutal tactics against those protesting against the coup, including cracking down on reporting and online communication. About 80 journalists have been detained, roughly half of whom are still in custody awaiting charges or a “fake news”
Earlier this month, he was charged and appeared in court.

The restriction of a foreign journalist’s freedom of movement is the latest grave threat to press freedom in Myanmar, Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative, said in a statement.

Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand also condemned the arrest and praised Frontier and Myanmar Now for their courageous reporting.

According to the FCC, since the coup on Feb. 1, 2021, these organizations have made invaluable contributions to understanding recent dramatic events in Myanmar. The company noted that some of the detained journalists were charged under a law criminalizing any discussion believed to undermine military or police morale.

Frontier Myanmar welcomed Fenster, 37, in August 2020.

He was en route to see his family in the US when he was detained, according to Dateline Detroit, a news website to which he contributed occasionally.

Frontier’s Chief Executive and Founder, Sonny Swe, told CPJ via a messaging app that the U.S. Embassy was aware of Fenster’s arrest and was working on it. For owning an independent newspaper, we spent eight years in jail under former military generals.

Danny has been detained since this morning and Frontier has not been able to contact him since then, Frontier said in a tweet on Monday night. “We are concerned for his wellbeing and urge his immediate release. At the moment, our top priorities are to ensure his safety and to provide him with whatever assistance he needs.”

Myanmar’s generals have cracked down on reporting and online communication and used increasingly brutal tactics against those who continue to protest against the coup. Independent local media have been ordered to close and about 80 journalists have been detained, roughly half of whom remain detained awaiting charges or trial.