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Burma coup resistance notes August 26, 2023
Second attack in Naypyitaw Region; traitor endangers Magway PDFs; junta compounds its financial mismanagement and deepens the economic crash.
A second Revolution attack took place in Naypyitaw capital region on August 20. PDFs from neighboring Magway Region attacked junta troops that were extorting money from local citizens in Tat Kone Township, causing a half-hour battle that wounded 4 junta troops, of which some reports say one died. The PDFs captured his ammunition. (People's Spring 8/20) Though this attack was small, it took place northwest of the junta’s military capital city, while the August 10-13 battles were to its southeast. The Revolution is coming at the junta from multiple directions.
The Ta’ang ethnic army (TNLA) fought three battles on August 19 in Lashio and Kutkai Townships. They took place in the Lashio city area (Lashio being the main town in northern Shan State), Manpan village of Kutkai Township on the Chinese border, and on a Kutkai Township road where the Ta’ang attacked a supply convoy. In the 3 battles the Ta’ang say they killed 25 junta troops and inflicted damage on the convoy. The Ta’ang have now fought 16 times since July23, and say they have captured junta troops and weapons and ammunition. (Khit Thit Media 8/20)
The Karen army invaded the junta police barracks inside Papun town of Mutraw District on August 23 with mortars and gunfire, and burned it. Three junta police/troops were killed. During half an hour of fighting at least 1 Karen soldier was killed and 9 wounded. (Mizzima, local sources 8/25) Karen army Brigade 5 has been preparing to expel the junta from Papun town, and blew up six of its offices in the town on August 11. This is a major ground invasion of the town and weakens the junta’s control there.
In the August 18 bombing of a junta ammunition and food supply train in Kler Lwi Htoo District, and then two follow-up attacks the next day, it is now known that 8 troops including at officer were killed and 2 wounded, and trains have still not been able to roll again. The casualties were from the explosion and derailment, then a drone-bombing and gunfire where the troops from the broken train camped on August 19. Six rail cars were damaged. The junta then fired mortars into nearby civilian communities, causing some injuries. (Myaelatt Athan 8/20)
Then on August 21 in the same area, the Karen blew up another section of the railroad, where no train was passing, and also two electricity pylons that supplies power to Naypyitaw. (Myaelatt Athan 8/22)
The Naypyitaw junta is pressuring its Karen BGF proxy force to make another attempt to recapture the strategic Latkatdaung mountaintop camp near Myawaddy. The Karen army Cobra battalion captured the camp on July 21 and the junta has tried to get it back ever since. The BGF lost 15 killed and many wounded during the last attempt on August 15, without making any progress. Now the BGF soldiers are afraid to attack again, but are being forced by the junta, which has been bombing with jets and mortars and is planning to use its new Russian SU30 attack jets. Meanwhile, some BGF soldiers are defecting to the Karen army. (Ayeyarwaddy Times 8/23)
Karen army and allied PDF soldiers have been stopping traffic and inspecting vehicles at six checkpoints along the highway in Kyaikto Township of Doo Tha Htoo District to prevent junta infiltration. Drivers seemed happy to have Karen forces taking charge of the area instead of junta troops. (KNU 8/19) Karen forces are increasingly in control of roads all over southeastern Myanmar.
Pro-junta BGF senior Genernal Win Soe and his wife were assassinated by Karen army-led forces in Kyaikto Township of Doo Tha Htoo District on August 24. (Than Lwin Times 8/25)
The Karenni scored a victory in Shadaw Township on August 23 when they devastated a junta convoy coming from Shan State to try to resupply isolated camps in Shadaw Township near the Thai border. Thirty junta troops died including 2 officers, and the Karenni captured many weapons. Jets dropped bombs in response. The two remaining junta camps there are being cut off and starved out by the Karenni. (The Irrawaddy 8/25)
Karenni defense forces tried to recapture a former BGF base in Mese Township that they had captured in June but then lost again. The attack on August 17 was thwarted when jets bombed 25 times, forcing the Karenni to retreat for their safety. (Kantarawaddy Times 8/19)
The Karenni say that during two weeks of fighting along the Demawso-Hpruso road, 71 junta troops were killed including a battalion commander and deputy commander. A Karenni officer and two soldiers also died. A large number of guns, mortar rounds, and grenades was captured. (Myanmar Now 8/19) Fighting is still continuing as the junta tries to regain control of that road, which it needs to send supplies to its troops trying to regain control of Mese Township in the south. It is using jet bombing, 120mm mortars, missiles, and armored vehicles, but has suffered high casualties. (Than Lwin Times 8/21)
The Karenni Nationalities Defense Force handed out at least 60 new military rifles and some other weapons purchased through an on-line fundraising campaign called “The Fence”, begun in April and ending in May, that raised thousands of dollars. Four KNDF battalions benefited. Another fundraising campaign is currently in progress to push junta battalions out of Demawso Township. (People's Spring 8/25)
The Kachin army (KIA) continues to counter-attack the junta in multiple locations across northern Myanmar while the junta’s big offensive near the free Kachin capital Laiza remains at a halt. The Kachin and allied local PDFs intercepted a column of 60 troops in Htee Chaing Township of northern Sagaing Region on August 20 as the troops were going to commit terrorist attacks on villages. Fifteen junta troops were killed including the commander, and others were wounded. The Kachin army captured a junta officer alive. The junta killed a local woman and child and called in 2 jet bombers and kidnapped 4 local men as human shields. The troops are trapped by the Kachin-led forces and are now at half strength. (Mandalay Free Press 8/23)
The Kachin also intercepted a column of 100 troops in Hpakant Township on August 22 on the road toward Mogaung. Eight junta troops have been killed as well as a Kachin soldier. (People's Spring 8/23)
The junta has been supplying small arms to the Rohingya militant group ARSA, which is based on the Bangladesh side of the border, in order to mount attacks in Arakan Army-controlled territory. This is according to sources in both ARSA and the junta. Junta forces in Buthedaung Township passed 75 AK-47 rifles to ARSA on August 12 for use in northern Maungdaw Township, where the Arakan Army is in control. (Ayeyarwaddy Times 8/23) Ironically, the junta generals used ARSA as an excuse to commit genocide against the entire Rohingya civilian population in 2017, but now they are arming ARSA in order to undermine the Arakan Army, which thinks it has a truce with the junta.
People’s Defense Forces (PDFs)-----------------
On August 23-24 PDFs in Mindon Township of Magway Region intercepted a column of 120 junta troops that was going out to destroy civilian villages, cornering them on a hilltop and killing 15 with mortar fire, while wounding as many as 50. Afterward the surviving troops invaded a village, and the next day their trucks were hit with roadside bombs, killing another 8 troops and destroying a vehicle. There were no PDF casualties. (Khit Thit Media 8/25)
PDFs blew up 3 junta trucks in Ayadaw Township, Sagaing Region on August 20, killing 17 troops including an officer. (Chindwin Yoma News 8/23)
Seventy junta troops raided a PDF camp in Wuntho Township of Sagaing Region on August 18. The surprised PDF soldiers fought back, causing an unknown number of injuries. Two PDF soldiers were killed and one was wounded and caught; junta troops burned him to death. The PDF lost some equipment in the raid but saved their weapons. (Myaelatt Athan 8/19) During July there were several instances of junta troops taking advantage of lax PDF security.
As Pyu Saw Htee terrorists are being surrounded and starved out in southern Sagaing and northern Magway Regions, the junta sent 200 troops from Kalay town southward to open up the road toward Gangaw. They only got 5 km when they were stopped by PDFs who control the area. So instead, they went into the nearby village of Thasi and three others and started looting and burning homes, and continued for 8 days. Homes that wouldn’t burn were destroyed with a bulldozer. It is as if the junta’s inability to recapture the Gangaw road is driving it to insanity. Junta jets and helicopters have been bombing, more troops have arrived, and the villagers are on the run. (The Irrawaddy 8/21, Khit Thit Media 8/23)
A PDF in Salingyi Township arrested 14 Pyu Saw Htee men who came to work in the Chinese-owned Wangbao copper mine, which supports the illegal junta. All of them had received junta terrorist training in Irrawaddy Region. The PDF handed them over to the township civil government for prosecution. Wangbao recently stole the land from the whole village of Wet Hmaw and kicked out the residents, with help from junta troops. (Khit Thit Media 8/25)
PDFs fought junta troops in Kani Township of Sagaing Region August 18-20. About 10 junta troops died; some junta corpses were seen floating in the river, others were cremated by the troops, and one was found by the PDFs. (Khit Thit Media 8/21, Mizzima 8/23)
A well-connected PDF member has turned traitor and gone to the junta, compromising the security of numerous PDF camps. The culprit, Htet Wai Yan, known as Tattu, stole a gun and fled to the enemy in Pakokku Township of Magway Region on Aust 22. PDF authorities then advised camps and health staff in Myaing and Pakokku Townships to move quickly to the mountains after their locations were revealed by the traitor, who supposedly knew about 70 camps and had visited many of them. (Myaelatt Athan 8/22)
Also in Ayadaw Township, junta troops are wearing captured PDF uniforms when they conduct terrorist raids in villages. They are obvious, however, since they still arrive in junta military trucks. They extort money and rob villagers, claiming to be PDFs. The troops are both women and men. Recently troops have also put PDF uniforms on dead bodies of civilians they murdered, publishing in the junta’s propaganda media that they were PDF fighters. (Myaelatt Athan 8/21)
The NUG has acquired and distributed 400+ drones to Revolution forces around the country for use in surveillance and bombing against the junta. A statement said the drones were purchased with contributions from citizens. (Ayeyarwaddy Times 8/23) The NUG also requested funds from America to purchase drones.
Junta troops in Sagaing Township of Sagaing Region beheaded 5 PDF soldiers on August 19 as they tried to defend a village against a junta terrorist raid. The headless bodies were dumped in the open. (Khit Thit Media 8/25) PDFs in Sagaing Township suffered a series of deadly junta attacks during July in which they lost dozens of soldiers.
The junta arrested three more officers for refusing orders to fight. Three battalion commanders at the nearly 2-month-old battle of Namsanyang refused to attack the Kachin army there in early August, and after questioning they still refused, so they were arrested on August 15 and are being held in Bhamo. (Ayeyarwaddy Times 8/20) This is part of a trend. The overall commander of the northern military district, Gen. Koko Maung, and seven of his closest subordinates were arrested in Kachin State on July 13, and the commander and deputy commander of a junta light infantry battalion in Kawthoolei’s Dooplaya District were jailed when they refused an order to attack the Karen Cobra battalion near Myawaddy on July 21, considering it a pointless suicide mission.
After the large multi-day resistance attacks in Pyinmanah Township of Naypyitaw Region August 10-13, a junta police officer in Naypyitaw defected to the Minkin Township PDF with full weapons, and was given a financial reward by the NUG. The news was announced August 19. (People's Spring 8/19)
Also in the wake of the Pyinmannah attacks, the regime shifted 70 police from Zalun Township in the Irrawaddy Region to Naypyitaw to bolster its defenses as Revolution forces close in. About 100 pro-junta civilians were given Pyu Saw Htee training in Zalun to fill the gap. (Ayeyarwaddy Times 8/22) The use of police as junta troops has become standard practice since the coup. Only 50 police/troops are left in Zalun, leaving it vulnerable, but Revolution activity has been weak in that region.
Dictator Min Aung Hlaing blames the junta’s losses in a series of battles in eastern Naypyitaw Region on weakness and laxity on the part of local commanders. (Ayeyarwaddy Times 8/24) A Karen-Karenni-PDF coalition stormed a camp and ambushed junta troops August 10-13 and killed over 50 troops only 50 km from the junta’s capital.
Other fingers of blame are pointing within the junta for the losses in Mese Township of Karenni State and the Latkatdaung mountaintop stronghold in Kawthoolei’s Dooplaya District. In both cases the junta has tried to retake the lost positions for over a month with nothing but increased losses and no progress. Lt. Gen. Moe Myint Tun, the junta army’s chief of staff, is being blamed for forcing local commanders to continuously attack and retake those positions, even though they don’t have the means, resulting in the high losses. (Ayeyarwaddy Times 8/25)
NUG Prime Minister Mahn Win Khaing Than said on August 22 that nearly 500 junta troops have defected from April through July, and more than 50 more in August to date. (Khit Thit Media 8/23)
More than 100 local junta administrators in West Bago Region resigned their posts in the past two months, citing “health reasons”. The health reasons are that they fear assassination, which is bad for their health, since local PDFs have been killing junta administrators during that time. (Myaelatt Athan 8/25) Eliminating local junta administration, through assassination and resignation, is a first step in liberating areas.
In its jet and mortar bombing of civilian communities, the junta has recently killed a number of children and adults in Karenni State, Kawthoolei, Chin State, and other locations.
Political and economic-------------------
After another UN official, Martin Griffiths, honored the illegal junta with a ceremonial visit last week to try to pump more humanitarian aid into the junta’s hands, the Karen Back Pack Health Worker Team, a local non-profit organization in Kawthoolei, made a strident statement about how aid should be administered. Saw Win Kyaw, Director of BPHWT, said humanitarian assistance should be passed through organizations directly involved with helping the people, such as cross-border and ethnic organizations with a track record of contact with those in need. BPHWT called for a complete and immediate halt to international recognition of the rogue regime, such as Griffiths’ visit, and to letting aid be used by the regime for its own benefit, as the UN does. (Karen Information Center 8/20)
Likewise, a list of 514 national and international civil society groups criticized Griffiths’ pilgrimage to the terror regime capital, saying it served the junta with no benefit to the people, and failed to consult the NUG and the people of the country. They urged the UN to cooperate with the NUG, ethnic homeland governments, and civil society groups providing aid. (Ayeyarwaddy Times 8/24)
The UN’s complicity with and support for the genocidal Naypyitaw regime should qualify for some sort of punishment as an accessory to war crimes and human rights atrocities. (Editorial comment)
On August 22 the junta’s “central bank” complained that, despite its fiat controls, the prices of commodities and the exchange rate of foreign currencies are still rising and there is rampant black market trading, especially at the borders. The bank’s vice chairman, Lin Aung, blamed “greedy traders”, and chairwoman Daw Than Than Swe vowed again that the regime will clamp down on “illegal trade” and “illegal prices,” i.e. those carried on at floating rates rather than the regime’s declared rates. (Mizzima 8/23) The threats have convinced many gold and currency traders to cease operations. (Khit Thit Media 8/22) The regime also made it illegal for citizens to receive dollars or hold them for extended periods, because it wants to get all of them.
The NUG’s Spring Bank, meanwhile, advertised that citizens are perfectly free to hold dollars or trade gold at the going rates in its accounts. If you need banking services not controlled by the junta, you can open accounts at the Spring Bank by going to https://beta.springdevelopmentbank.com/register. For general information,
The junta has contacted Thai and Indian banks to try to open foreign currency accounts to replace the ones closed in Singapore and Bangladesh as a result of American sanctions. (Khit Thit Media 8/22) Meanwhile, the USA has sanctioned 3 more companies and 2 junta cronies involved in importing aviation fuel into Burma for the air terror campaign. (U.S. Treasury Home.Treasury.Gov 8/23) The regime’s financial situation is increasingly desperate.
The junta is also threatening store owners in Mandalay to install 4 surveillance cameras in each shop, at the owners’ expense, or be dragged off to prison. (Khit Thit Media 8/26) It is getting to the point where it isn’t worth the trouble to carry on business anymore.
The news around Myanmar is filled with reports of rampant crime, including robberies in broad daylight, home break-ins, murders, vehicle theft, drug trafficking, and other offenses. Junta police are no help, and are the last people that citizens would want to call on. The economic crash after the coup, along with the depreciation of the kyat currency and the growing scarcity and cost of necessities, is making people desperate, and some are turning on each other. (Than Lwin Times, Myanmar Now, Ayeyarwaddy Times 8/20)
The Thai foreign minister, on a visit to Beijing, is discussing with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi how to find “political solutions” to the Myanmar crisis. They are doing this without consulting the NUG, so it is presumed that they are plotting ways to prop up the doomed Naypyitaw junta. This is the same Thai foreign minister, Dom Pramudwinai, who recently lied about getting Aung San Suu Kyi’s approval for negotiations between the NUG and the illegal regime.
The Thai parliament elected a pro-military crony as the country’s new prime minister, despite the landslide victory of the progressive Move Forward party in the May elections. This dashes any hopes that the support of the Thai people for Burma’s Spring Revolution would change the pro-junta policy of the outgoing Thai military regime. In effect, Thailand has the same problem as Burma; the overturning of the popular election results by the army-controlled senate amounts to a military coup. (The Irrawaddy 8/22)
The regime abducted a Swiss filmmaker and 13 Myanmar actors and crew members because of a film called “Don’t Expect Anything,” which the regime says insults Buddhism. In fact it criticizes the regime’s cynical use of religion in its war against the population. (DVB English 8/21)