Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (12 Feb 2023)
Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
More than two years ago, on 1 February 2021, the Myanmar military attempted an illegal coup, toppled the civilian government, and unlawfully and unjustly detained State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint and other senior members of the civilian government, parliamentarians and activists. Since then, the Myanmar military has ignored the will of the people of Myanmar, placed the country in turmoil, and made the people suffer with inhumane and disproportionate actions.
As of 10 February 2023, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), 2,986 people have been ruthlessly killed by the military, whereas 17,725 people have been arrested and a total of 143 individuals have been sentenced to death, of which 101 (including two children) are detained and 42 in absentia since 1 February 2021, when the military unleashed systematic and targeted attacks and violence against innocent civilians. Four democracy activists who were given death sentences were executed by the military junta in July 2022.
Atrocities committed by the military
Raiding, Killing and Torching Villages in Sagaing Region
According to news reports, on 2 February 2023, approximately 30 junta personnel indiscriminately opened fire on and raided Ta Tar Oo and Tar Taing Villages of Sagaing Township, Sagaing Region. According to a member of a local resistance group, during the junta’s raid in Ta Tar Oo Village, it searched a house in the village and continued firing randomly, hitting six-year-old villager Linn Yupar Myo in the stomach and killing the child instantly. No conflict had occurred in the village, and the junta soldiers were reportedly drunk while they raided a house and randomly shot into the village. Reportedly, the junta soldiers set fire to the house they raided, and they left for Tar Taing Village the following afternoon. Upon arriving at the 100 household Tar Taing Village, the junta soldiers reportedly began torching over 60 houses. The troop reportedly left the village on the same day.
It was reported that the junta forces raided and torched the houses in Thapyay Taw, Ohn Pin Seik and Nat La Bo Myauk Villages of Kani Township, Sagaing Region, on 8 and 9 February 2023. According to the member of KLG PDF, the junta’s action was in retaliation to the local resistance groups having seized their ship, and the junta’s arson completely destroyed more than 130 houses in those three villages.
According to DVB news, following battles between the junta forces and Ka Thar local resistance groups on 9 February 2023 in Nat Thalin Gone and on 11 February 2023 at Mal Ngo, the junta forces torched Mal Ngo Village and neighbouring Tat Tu Village in Ka Thar Township, Sagaing Region. While the extend of the damage in those two villages is unknown at the time of reporting, the junta forces reportedly kidnapped all the villagers from the farmhouses whom they had seen along their way to Mal Ngo Village.
According to DVB and Khit Thit Media, on 11 February 2023, the junta troops torched the houses in Tha Nat Sein Village of Khin-U Township, Sagaing Region, and the local villagers have fled the village for their safety. According to a member of local resistance group, on 20 November 2022, the junta soldiers had nearly burned the whole village, and the second arson on 11 February involved the torching of the local residents’ temporary shelters.
According to the news from DVB and Khit Thit Media, the junta troops and Pyu Saw Htee militia threatened the local residents of Ingyin Pin and Phan Khar Gone Villages in Sagaing to attend a meeting held in the monastery of Ingyin Pin Village and that the houses of those residents who didn’t attend the meeting would be torched. According to a local villager who attended the meeting, the junta personnel also forcibly looted the rice, oils and peanuts from the attendees and carried those rations to Ma Daung Hla Village. According to the villagers, the junta forces stationing in Ma Daung Hla, Ma Kyi Tone, Pyin Htaung and Ywar Thit Kone Villages of Khin-U Township usually raid and loot the rations in the neighbor villages.
On 11 February 2023, the junta troops and Pyu Saw Htee militia torched Kyar Ta Kan Village, Htan Pin Gone Village Tract, Kyun Hla Township, Sagaing Region. The village has around 200 households, and all the residents have fled for their safety. The situation of the damage inside the village was unknown at the time of reporting.
According to the news from Khit Thit Media, on the evening of 12 February 2023, junta soldiers torched the entire Ma Yoe Kone Village, Myaung Township, Sagaing Region. The damage was unknown at the time of reporting, since all the villagers have fled for their lives.
It was reported by the Yangon Khit Thit Media that on 12 February 2023, Tint Tal and Kyauk Myint Villages of Shwe Bo Township, Sagaing Region, were set on fire by the junta forces. According to the news, Kyauk Myint Village was first raided and torched by the junta troops and junta-backed Pyu Saw Htee group based in Thee Lone Village, whereas Tint Tal Village was later torched. Reportedly, all the residents from both villages have fled, and the level of damage was unknown at the time of reporting.
Khit Thit Media reported that Kyar (Taung) and Kyar (Myauk) Villages of Shwe Bo Township, Sagaing Region, were also raided and torched by the junta troops in the afternoon of 12 February 2023. The local residents’ situation and the extent of the damage were unconfirmed at the time of reporting.
According to the news, on 12 February 2023, the junta troops marching towards Ngwe Thar Village, Sarlingyi Township, Sagaing Region, met and calshed with the local resistance fighters. The battle occurred near Kyar Tat Village, Sarlingyi Township. The junta forces reportedly tortured and killed two civilians, and five local resistance fighters lost their lives. Reportedly, the junta troops also destroyed two motor vehicles and two motorbikes. The local residents from the neighbor villages have fled their villages.
Killing Innocent Civilians
According to news reports, during the period of 1 to 4 February 2023, there were conflicts in Shwe Pyi Aye Town, Homalin Township, Sagaing Region, where many locals had to flee the area for their safety. On 4 February 2023, Zin Min Htut, Lecturer in Oriental Studies at Monywa University, returned to the town to check on his house and was shot and killed by junta forces and Pyu Saw Htee members.
According to news reports, on 5 February 2023, the Pyu Saw Htee pro-junta militia from Kywal Pon Village, Sagaing Region, arrested Paw Htay from Yin Ma Kyin Village in Sagaing Township, Sagaing Region. On 7 February 2023, Paw Htay’s body was found in a mango grove near Kywal Pone Village.
On 6 February 2023, Win Aung from San Thit Village, Sagaing Township, Sagaing Region, was shot and killed by the same Pyu Saw Htee group from Kywal Pon Village who arrested and killed Paw Htay. At the time of murder, Win Aung was working in a mango grove near Kywal Pon Village. The body of Win Aung was found in that mango grove on 7 February.
On 7 February 2023, around 20 junta personnel captured Paing Soe and Phyo Ngal Zaw, two local villagers working at a rubber plantation in Ya Nge Village, Thayetchaung Township, Tanintharyi Region. The junta forces reportedly tied them up and shot them dead in a yard by the street.
According to news reports, on 9 February 2023, Bee Lo Htan, (aka Bee Bee), a local resident from Taung Zalat Ward, Kale Township, Sagaing Region, was shot in the head and killed on the spot by junta soldiers. At the time of his death, Bee Lo Htan was sitting near a bridge on Anawyahtar Road near the Travel Audit Office,where the junta forces were stationed.
According to Myanmar Now News, a fifty-year old man named Kyaw Tint, who was detained along with his wife by the junta soldiers in Chauk, Magway Region, on 1 February 2023, was killed at an interrogation centre on Pyihtaungsu Road, Chauk Town, Magway Region, on 2 February 2023. According to the Chauk Guerilla Force (CGF), the couple was arrested by a group of fifteen soldiers at their home in Chauk’s Ward 5 and were taken to an interrogation centre, where Kyaw Tint died on the following day. The couple sold beans and nuts for a living and had a son and two daughters, according to the CGF. According to an officer from a Chauk Township social welfare group, Kyaw Tint’s body was taken to the cemetery via the Chauk Township Hospital and cremated. However, details on his arrest and interrogation were unavailable, and his wife was still detained at the interrogation centre at the time of reporting. It was also reported that pro-junta propaganda channels on Telegram have circulated a claim that Kyaw Tint was taken in for questioning because he was found to have sent funds to the PDF and that he died of a heart attack during questioning.
Airstrikes, heavy artillery, and other targeting of civilian areas
On 3 February 2023, junta forces fired an artillery shell at Tan Shin Village, Palaw Township, Tanintharyi Region, which exploded on a house in the village. Among the two residents who were in the house at the time of explosion, a woman named Than Maw was killed on the spot, and a child was injured.
According to news from the Myanmar Pressphoto Agency, on 7 February 2023, two civilians were hit and killed by a heavy weapon fired by the junta troops in the area of KNU Brigade-3 in Kyaukgyi Township, Bago Region. Following a one-hour clash between the junta forces and the KNU/KNLA, the military reportedly fired heavy artillery onto villages in the area. Due to those shootings onto Ohnshitgone and Ohnpinsu Villages, the above-mentioned two civilians from Ohnpinsu Village were killed, and four other villagers were injured. It was also reported that the junta troops were camped at Ohnpinsu Monastery on 8 February 2023 and had gone on a patrol to the Gwaytanshe village.
According to news reports, due to the junta soldiers’ irrationally shooting in Sittwe Town, Rakhine State, on 7 February 2023, a civilian who was travelling in the town was injured. According to the local witness, the injured person was brought by the junta soldiers. The victim’s details and the reason for the shooting were not known. Locals said that the junta’s police forces have been stationing inside a Rohingya Mosque at the airport junction, and its soldiers have stationed next to the pagoda.
According to news reports, on 8 February 2023, at around 8 p.m., junta forces indiscriminately fired heavy weaponry from the entrance of Kyar Pan Nyo Village, Ye-U Township, Sagaing Region. When the weaponry exploded in Zee Kan Village, Mone Tai Pin Village Tract in Ye-U Township, it killed two women, Sein and Nyein Nyein, and injured two men. According to news reports, the junta columns had been stationed at the traditional medicine hospital in Ye-U Township.
According to news from the Myanmar Pressphoto Agency, on 9 February 2023, during a clash between the Puriyakha Nyinnaung column led by the KNDO and the junta troops near Pulaw Kone Village in Pulaw Township, Tanintharyi Region, a heavy weapon fired by junta troops struck a 15-year-old boy. According to the news, an information officer of Puriyakha Nyinnaung column said that the victim was running from the rubber scraper when he heard the sound of gunshots and was hit. The boy’s arms and legs will be amputated.
According to DVB news, the KNDF released a statement that junta troops have launched aerial attacks onto the Catholic Church of Wah Yi Khu Village, Pekon Township, Shan State, during the night of 10 February 2023. Although one of the buildings of the church and some temporary shelters of the IDPs were damaged, there were reportedly no casualties.
In Htan Ta Pin Township, Bago Region, on 11 February 2023, with no conflict occurring in the area, the junta soldiers fired into Ta Pyay Village with heavy artillery. According to the villagers, this attack on the village destroyed three houses.
According to DVB news, the junta fired heavy artillery into Mi Chaung Ai Village, Bilin Township, Mon State, during the night of 11 February 2023, injuring four civilians, including two monks, one novice and one child. The news reported that the junta has shot more than five heavy weapons into the village where no clash has occurred, and one of these struck the monastery. Among the injured, the two monks were seriously injured and were sent to Thaton Hospital.
Similarly, according to news from the Myanmar Pressphoto Agency, the junta troops fired heavy artilleries into Nyaung Pin Gyi Village, Shwe Kyin Township, Bago Region, in the early morning of 11 February 2023. Those attacks injured three local villagers: two parents and their daughter, who were sent to Nyaung Lay Pin hospital. The news reported that since the injuries of the mother became severe, she was later sent to Bago Hospital for further treatment.
The news reported that on 12 February 2023, in Gon Nyin Seik Village, Myinmu Township, Sagaing Region, the junta troops and junta-backed Pyu Saw Htee militia fired heavy artilleries that seriously injured 7-year-old Ma Ei Ei Chun and 25-year-old Ma Su Mon Zaw. According to the news, a fragment of the weapons struck the eye of Ma Ei Ei Chun, which she lost, and she also suffered a head injury. The second victim, Ma Su Mon Zaw, was truck in her back, and her life was in danger at the time of reporting.
Arresting Innocent Civilians
On 10 February 2023, five local women in Kan-Pauk were arbitrarily arrested by the junta soldiers and later, reportedly brought to Maw Ra Wadi Navy for investigation. The arrested were Mar Mar Wai, Than Than Soe, Cho Cho Aung, Mi Than Kywe and Ywet Nu Wai, who were accused of participating in protests. According to news reports, at least eight locals, including those five women, have been arrested and remain detained at the time of reporting.
Charges against the journalist and the former Mayor of civilian government
According to the news, on 1 February 2023, Yin Yin Thein, a freelance reporter and secretary at Sagaing Region Journalist Association, was sentenced to 18 months in prison with hard labor under Penal Code Section 505(a) by the court in Indaw Township, Sagaing Region. She was arrested in November 2021 for allegedly “defaming the State and terrorizing [government] staff” by posting on social media.
On 3 February 2023, Mandalay Mayor Dr. Ye Lwin was sentenced to serve an additional two years in prison under Penal Code Section 409 by the special court inside Obo Prison. Previously, in December 2021, he was sentenced to serve two years in prison under Penal Code Section 505(b).
Forcing the IDPs in Rakhine to return to their villages
According to the news from the Myanmar Pressphoto Agency (MPA), the junta’s new Rakhine State Chief Minister and his team arrived to Rathedaung Town in the evening on 7th February and called a meeting with those who had fled the war. According to the news, a displaced person in Rathedaung Town told MPA that all those IDPs who are in Rathedaung must go back to their villages, and they can't stay there anymore. According to the IDPs, after a sudden cease-fire between the Arakan Army and the military junta on 26 November 2022, the displaced persons in Rakhine are being forced to return back home, being threatened and forced to sign documents. They also added that while the junta has been pressuring all IDPs to return to their homes, it also has been restricting humanitarian aid, including food. The IDPs have explained that there are more than 100,000 displaced people in Rakhine, including the ethnic groups like Rakhine, Rohingya, Mro and Khimi. As the military troops are stationing in camps near all the villages of those IDPs, and there may be landmines near all those villages, it is still impossible for those IDPs to return home.
Covering up atrocity crimes in Rakhine State
The Myanmar Pressphoto Agency reported that three of the terrorist junta’s Union Ministers travelled to Rakhine State on 5 February 2023 and conducted activities on the ground to defend against accusations regarding the Rohingya genocide. According to local residents, the junta’s three ministers, Lieutenant General Tun Tun Naung, the Union Minister of the Ministry of Border Affairs; U Ko Ko Hlaing, the Union Minister of the Ministry of International Cooperation; and Dr. Thet Thet Khaing, the Union Minister of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, arrived Sittwe, Rakhine State, on 5 February 2023 and called the heads of departments under the military junta to hold a meeting. Those department heads are from the townships where the Rohingya genocide took place, and they were forced to monitor the main places where it had happened, to erase the traces, to organize witnesses and testify on their behalf. According to a senior security officer of the military from Maungdaw District who attended the meeting, the three ministers ordered attendees to do everything that should be done to not lose the case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), including to organize those who stayed without running away. It was reported that those three junta ministers also visited the re-acceptance sites in Maungdaw township.
On 9 February 2023, to mark the two-year anniversary of the establishment of the Central Committee of Monywa People’s Strike, anti-military protests were held on the streets of Monywa Town, Sagaing Region.
According to news reports, on 9 February 2023, a protest was jointly made by the strike groups from villages of Yinmarbin and Salingyi Townships in Sagaing Region. The protest marked the 700th day that the strike groups have protested against the attempted military coup.
On 9 February 2023, a protest led by the CRPH/NUG Support Group (Australia) on the second-year anniversary of the illegal military coup was held in front of the Parliament in Canberra, Australia. Participants in the protest included NUG representative to Australia U Tun Aung Shwe, Australia Parliamentarian Zoe Daniel, representatives from the United Workers Union, and representatives from ethnic groups of Myanmar. During the protest, the invitation for junta representative to the meeting of ASEAN Defense Ministry was opposed. Furthermore, the protestors requested the Australian Government not to acknowledge the election prepared by the junta military, to quickly extend visas for those actively participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement, and to officially establish diplomatic relation with the NUG.
According to the news, on 10 February 2023, at around 7:00 a.m., while the Dawei District Democracy Movement Strike Committee (DDMSC) and the campaign sub-committee was preparing to conduct public awareness activities in a market in Launglon Township, two unknown men came near the market and fired three shots. It was reported that the two men were believed to be from the military-backed Pyu Saw Htee militia. They did not shoot into the crowd, and they drove away once they fired the shots. After the shots, the young strikers continued to organize the public movement, which was held successfully. It was reported that the young strikers had distributed the article "Federalism and the Political Problem” and organized and preached against the sale and purchase of Military products. After the public organizing, they shouted revolutionary slogans together with the vendors.
According to Khit Thit Media, on Myanmar Union, 12 February 2023, peaceful protests against the terrorist military were held by all different communities and types of people in different areas of Myanmar. The protestors included students and members of strike committees and student unions, as well as the local residents from Ayardaw, Wetlet, Phayar Thone Su Town, Kyar Inn Seik Kyi Township, Monywa Letpadaung Taung Area, Taung Ngu, Mingalardon, Daw Pon, Shwe Ku, Kalay Township, Bu Ta Lin, and Pyi Gyi Da Gun Township. There were also protests jointly held by residents from villages along the Chindwin riverbank as well as Yin Mar Bin and Sarlingyi Townships.
Activities of the National Unity Government
On 6 February 2023, the National Unity Government (NUG) issued Weekly Newsletter No. 6/2023, containing articles related to the NUG’s activities. Those articles included news from the NUG President’s Office that the Facebook account of the NUG Acting President was hacked on 1 February 2023, the NUG’s announcement on the second anniversary of the attempted coup, the NUG’s Human Rights Minister urging the French Government to take more measures while attending the “Paris City Event Marking the Second Anniversary of the Attempted Coup”, the NUG calling on the United Nations and international community to block all attempts by the junta to legitimize itself through sham elections and the meeting between the NUG Foreign Minister and her Czech counterpart on 1 February 2023,
On 6 February 2023, H.E. Daw Zin Mar Aung, the NUG’s Union Minister for Foreign Affairs met with H.E. Mr. James Cleverly, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom, at the UK Foreign Affairs Office. During the meeting, discussions were held related to Myanmar, including bilateral cooperation, efforts to end the atrocities of the terrorist junta, and the affairs of the ethnic minorities.
The NUG’s Union Minister for Foreign Affairs H.E. Daw Zin Mar Aung also met with MP Rushanara Ali from the Labour Party, U.K. on 6 February 2023. Rushanara Ali is also the President of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Burma. During the meeting, they discussed matters including humanitarian assistance in Myanmar, the support of UK Parliament on the Spring Revolution, refugees, protection of the rights of the ethnic minorities. The two representatives of the NUG to the UK – Dr. Thet Ko Ko and U Maung Maung Aung also joined the meeting.
On 7 February 2023, the NUG’s cabinet meeting was held virtually with all the cabinet members. During the meeting, Acting President Duwa Lashi La remarked that the NUG and the people of Myanmar have successfully overcome the two years under the atrocities and violence of the terrorist junta with strong perseverance; unity between the domestic alliances is the strength to resist against the illegitimate junta; and it is important to establish the unity and practical cooperation among the NUG and the domestic alliances. While thanking the Myanmar people for actively participating in the silent strike on 1 February 2023, which is the two-year anniversary of the attempted military coup, Prime Minister Mahn Win Khaing Than said that the people in Myanmar have been supporting the different sectors of the revolution as much as they could and are waiting for the victory. Thus, it is important that all resistance groups and alliances do their best and in unity. He further said that among many challenges Myanmar has to resolve, the eradication of the terrorist military, which is also the source of all the problems in Myanmar, is the priority issue to solve. In order to successfully solve this priority task, he urged the cabinet members to put forward their best efforts.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
On 6 February 2023, the White House of the United States announced a “Notice on the Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to the Situation in and in Relation to Burma”, signed by the President Joseph R. Biden JR. The notice stated that on 10 February 2021, by Executive Order 14014, the President declared a national emergency pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706) to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States constituted by the situation in and in relation to Burma. It stated that the situation in and in relation to Burma, and in particular the February 1, 2021 coup, in which the military overthrew the democratically elected civilian government of Burma and unjustly arrested and detained government leaders, politicians, human rights defenders, journalists, and religious leaders, thereby rejecting the will of the people of Burma as expressed in elections held in November 2020 and undermining the country’s democratic transition and rule of law, continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. It added that, for this reason, the national emergency declared on 10 February 2021, must continue in effect beyond 10 February 2023. It was stated in the notice that, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), the president of the U.S. is continuing for one year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 14014 with respect to the situation in and in relation to Burma and that this notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.
On 6 February 2023, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees published its Emergency Overview Map for Myanmar South-East regarding the number of people displaced in the South-East since February 2021 and remain displaced as of 6 February 2023. Its weekly highlights presented that in the South-East, the number of IDPs increased from 361,000 last week to 368,400 this week and in Kayin State, indiscriminate shelling, use of heavy weapons and shootings displaced 6,200 people in Thandaunggyi Township. It added that, in Bago (East) Taungoo Township, 4,200 were displaced within the township, while 2,000 sought safety, and in Kayah State, fighting on 23 and 24 January displaced 1,000 people within Demoso and Loikaw Townships. It explained that among them were 500 IDPs who were displaced yet again. It also informed that in Shan State (South), approximately 500 people from Hsihseng Township were displaced, and in Tanintharyi Region, ongoing conflict in Palaw Township displaced about 630 people.
On 7 February 2023, the UK Embassy in Myanmar has posted a news release that the UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly met Daw Zin Mar Aung from the National Unity Government of Myanmar in London. It stated that during the meeting, the Foreign Secretary reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to the people of Myanmar. He stressed that the UK will continue to drive international action to apply pressure on the military regime in Myanmar. The news also quoted the words of Foreign Secretary James Cleverly: "I pay tribute to Daw Zin Mar Aung's extraordinary bravery, in standing up for the right of the Myanmar people to democracy and freedom."
According to the news, during the two-day official visit to Thailand, while giving the keynote speech at the Malaysian-Thai Chamber of Commerce, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar stressed that the Myanmar junta must end atrocities committed against its people and ASEAN members have to be courageous enough to try and resolve the crisis in Myanmar. He also said that Myanmar has every right to have its own domestic policies and priorities, but no country in these times should ever continue with discriminatory policies, marginalization of their people or intimidating, or worse, perpetrating violence against its own people. The news also reported that he has stressed that ASEAN will have to promote, suggest new mechanisms to make sure that these atrocities committed, perpetrated against their own people must end. He underlined that the regional grouping should be courageous enough to try and resolve this, because it should not tolerate such abuses and because the crisis drives large numbers of refugees to seek safety in other countries in the region, including Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. He also said that it would be ideal if we have a strong consensus and give a strong message to the Myanmar Regime.
Date: 12 February 2023
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York