Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (9 January 2022)
Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
Almost a year has approached since the coup; the Myanmar military group is still ignoring the will of the people and putting the country into turmoil with disproportionate actions.
As of 8 January 2022, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a total of 1,447 people were ruthlessly killed by the military, whereas 11,421people have been arrested, 8,468 people have still been detained, and 1,966 people have been issued with warrants since 1 February 2021 when the military unleashed systematic and targeted attacks and violence against innocent civilians.
Military’s Airstrike Attacks in Kayah State
In the beginning of this year, the Myanmar’s military has intensified the offensive attacks against the people in Karenni State (Kayah State), and the fighting between the military troops and the local resistance forces accordingly has been escalating in the state of Kayah, suffering and injuring civilians, as well as forcing many innocent people to flee from their residential places. In accordance with the news reported by “Myanmar Now” on 8 January 2022, four men were killed and more than 1,000 civilians were forced to flee their homes during the clashes in Loikaw, Capital of Kayah State.
A spokesperson for the Karenni Democratic Front (KDF) said that one of the four civilians, who were killed, was struck by a military’s artillery shell at his home located in Maing Lone ward of Loikaw, and the other three were shot dead by the military forces, while they were walking near a stretch of railway track. In addition, seven civilians were injured in the fighting, whereas others remained trapped in their homes awaiting rescue. It is also said that one KDF member and one member of the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) member also died during the clashes. Though the military’s side suffered casualties, no accurate information regarding this has received.
Credible news reported that the military used tanks and helicopters, even fighter jets and fired heavy artilleries during their offensive attacks in Loikaw, other villages and wards within Loikaw, Milestone 5 Village, Milestone 6 Village, Daw Poe Sie, Mong Lone and Pankan and Demoso Township. The military forces also launched barbaric and horrible acts of shelling, bombing, and torching the houses. Furthermore, the military forces committed inhumane and shameless actions, such as raiding the houses and taking the properties of civilians from those houses.
Tension of clashes and military’s aerial attacks in Kayah State remains high, forcing people to flee from their residential areas. On the ground, the innocent people are facing more and more suffering. It is reported that the displaced people are trapped in the fighting, many are waiting in their homes to be rescued, and those who tried to flee from Loikaw are also trapped on their way out. It is estimated that around half of the population of Kayah State is currently displaced, and there are no more safe places in Loikaw City, as its wards are under attack by the military.
According to Karenni State Consultative Council (KSCC), deaths, injuries, casualties of the innocent people and the flow of displaced people will be highly increasing, as long as the military’s inhumane offensive attacks are continuing. Appealing the international protection for the innocent people of Myanmar, Karenni State Consultative Council (KSCC) called on the international community to support humanitarian assistances and to establish safe zones as quickly as possible.
Military’s Airstrike Attacks in Sagaing Region
The military reportedly carried out the airstrike attacks in Nyaungpingyitaw Village of Wetlet Township of Sagaing Region on 3 January 2022. According to the local sources, the military used helicopters to transport the soldiers to be stationed in the village.
According to the Myanmar Now news, the Wetlet People’s Defence Force (PDF) mentioned that four helicopters were used in the operation. Three helicopters airlifted the soldiers and the other one, helicopter gunship fired at the village in all directions. It is also learnt that no one was attacking the soldiers, but they used their machine guns to shoot at and dropped grenades on the villages.
The attacks in Nyaungpingyitaw Village were followed by the assault in Phayarlaykone village in Wetlet Township. On 31 December 2021, it is reported that around 70 members of the military-backed Pyu Saw Htee group entered Phayarlaykone village. According to the Wetlet PDF information officer, at least 12 Pyu Saw Htee members were killed during two hours of clashes. The military fired the heavy artillery at the PDFs and the clashes continued the next morning. The military’s Northwestern Military Command reportedly sent an MI-35 helicopter gunship to assist Pyu Saw Htee members.
According to the credible report, the military has deployed helicopters in many areas of Sagaing and Magway regions to knock down the resistance forces.
Using Civilians as Human Shields
In accordance with the Myanmar Now news, on 9 January 2022, around 130 soldiers arrived back to Nyaungbingyitaw village in Wetlet Township of Sagaing Region. The local PDF’s spokesperson said the soldiers were dropped off by a helicopter near a monastery outside of the village while others arrived on foot.
The troops then reportedly marched to the villages of SharKwe and Thit Saint and abducted civilians to use as human shields before raiding a base of the PDF. A local resident said many villagers fled their homes to avoid being captured because the military took every single person they saw. It is reported that the soldiers make the villagers sit in a line and showed them photos of PDF leaders and asked if they knew them.
The victims were released in the evening of the day. Those taken from Thit Saint Village were released unharmed but those captured in SharKwe village were beaten before the release. It is also reported that before freeing the captives, the two columns of soldiers raided a base of the Shwebo PDF which is 26 miles away from Nyaungbingyitaw, but the resistance fighters fled before the soldiers arrived. A Shwebo PDF member said the troops destroyed buildings and supplies at the base. While the soldiers raided the base, a helicopter was hovering above.
Shelling Heavy Weapons continued in Karen State
According to the Karen National Union (KNU), on 8 January 2022, the military shelled heavy weapons into different directions in Myohaung village in Kawnuaih village tract of Kawkareik Township in Karen State. Due to the heavy assaults by the military, a monastery and some houses were destroyed and, six women and one man were injured as well.
Karen State-based news agency Klo FM reported on 9 January 2022 that around 2,000 residents from 13 villages had been displaced due to battles in Kawkareik, and that they were in need of humanitarian aid.
Activities of the National Unity Government
On 4 January 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the National Unity Government released a Newsletter focusing on ASEAN 5-Point Consensus. The special issue can be available at https://mofa.nugmyanmar.org/2022/01/04/ministry-of-foreign-affairs-newsletter-volume-2-no-1/.
The Ministry of Human Rights of the National Unity Government issued a statement dated 5 January 2022 on the Christmas Eve Massacre in Karenni State. It stated that as many as 42 civilians were murdered in the massacre; preliminary medical analysis has far identified 26 males, including a man with a disability and two humanitarian workers, and 5 females including a girl. It stressed the Christmas Eve Massacre is just the latest in a chain of terror by the military and these terrorist acts are part of a widespread and systematic strategy in place across Myanmar and directed by the junta at the highest levels.
It welcomes the UNSC’s swift condemnation of the incident and its call for accountability. The Ministry also welcomes the statements issued by the UNICEF and by the Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. It calls on the UNSC to hold an immediate plenary meeting on Myanmar and adopt a resolution that blocks the flow of arms and cash to the junta and that refers the junta’s atrocity crimes to the International Criminal Court.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
In the New Year message of UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Myanmar Ms. Noeleen Heyzer gave on 31 December 2022, the UN Special Envoy acknowledged the courage and democratic aspirations of Myanmar people and the leadership by women and youth to the current crisis in the country. Honouring the principles of the founding leaders’ unity, democracy, equality, justice, and self-determination on the country’s Independence Day on 4 January 2022, she said that Myanmar people are not alone in the journey to shape a better future for all, and added that she has started and will continue to listen carefully to everyone affected, especially the most vulnerable.
On 1 January 2022, Thailand called for an end to violence in Myanmar, and the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand said that Thailand hoped all parties involved will hold talks and settle their differences as soon as possible, and they must restore peace and stability along the Thai-Myanmar border to ensure the safety of people.
In the Press Statement by U.S. Secretary of State Mr. Antony J. Blinken, on the Independence Day of Myanmar issued on 3 January 2021, it is stated that the U.S support for the people of Myanmar as they celebrate their Independence Day on 4 January, and honour the people who are striving for restoration of democracy and respect for human rights and the rule of law in the country. The Statement stressed that the United States remains committed to the people of Burma, who will not give up hope for a better future, and reiterated its call for the military to cease immediately the use of violence, release all those unjustly detained, and return the country’s path to a genuine and inclusive democracy.
On the Independence Day of Myanmar, the Embassy of Canada in Myanmar honored the courage and resilience of the Myanmar people and their commitment and aspirations to democracy on the occasion of their Independence Day on 4 January, and it is stated that Canada stands in solidarity with the people of Myanmar and will continue to work with partners towards lasting peace and inclusive democracy in the year ahead, including supporting efforts to end impunity and hold perpetuators into account. On this day, the Embassy of Denmark in Myanmar also issued that Denmark stands with the people of Myanmar on their country’s Independence Day and strongly supports the call of the Special Envoy for all parties to exercise the utmost restraint and to seek a peaceful solution in the interests of the people, calling for Myanmar to return to the path to democracy.
On 5 January 2022, the UN’s educational and cultural agency, UNESCO, urged the authorities in Myanmar to conduct a full investigation into the killing of a journalist last month reportedly during an army attack, and Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of the UNESCO, has denounced the killing of reporter named Sai Win Aung, also known as, A Sai K, in Lay Kay Kaw Myothit in Myanmar, near the border with Thailand on 25 December 2021. Director-General said, “media workers like Sai Win Aung risk their lives to keep the public informed, and their work deserves to be recognized and their safety protected in line with international humanitarian law, which forbids attacks on civilians.”
On 9 January 2022, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situations of human rights in Myanmar said through Twitter that Military Coup’s leader must immediately halt the air and ground attacks, which the military forces have unleashed on Loikaw of Karenni State. He called on the military to lift the blockade of those seeking to escape and allow access for those seeking to provide aid and shelter, urging the UN member states to join this call.
Date: 9 January 2022
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York