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Burma coup resistance notes June 3, 2023
Evidence of junta militia falling apart; Chinese meddling gets no result; major battles & junta losses in Karen, Karenni, Chin regions; Sagaing revolutionary forces establish a forum.
Defecting junta soldiers say that increasing numbers of their comrades are fleeing the front lines due to battle fatigue, mistreatment by officers, and a sense that their cause is lost. Even those who believed at first are losing faith, and suicide and alcoholism are increasing. Battalion commanders are joining the exodus. (The Irrawaddy 6/2)
Resistance attacks on the junta’s air force are proving effective, forcing the regime to move its operations toward Naypyitaw from bases that suffered missile strikes. Air terror campaign operations that were previously run out of Hmawbi air base, north of Yangon, got moved to the Dandah Oo near Mandalay in late April after Revolution forces fired missiles that destroyed some Russian-supplied attack jets there. Threats on Dandah Oo then convinced the fearful junta to further move the operations to the base closest to the military capital Naypyitaw.(Ayeyarwaddy Times 5/28) Basing the jets further from their civilian targets means the regime requires more aviation fuel to continue its air terror campaign. The regime operates within a shrinking perimeter of security.
The Karen army-------------------
Karen army Brigade 1 attacked junta police at a bridge on June 1 in Kawthoolei Doo Tha Htoo District on the Thaton-Pa-an road. The junta then sent reinforcements from both sides, troops from the west and junta-proxy BGF from the east. The Karen army had planned for that, and blew up the reinforcements coming from both directions using roadside bombs. Counting the bridge and both roads, a Karen commander says more than 40 junta/BGF troops/police were killed and 19 wounded, while a junta source says 25 were killed. At least one officer was among the dead. Two Karen soldiers died. Some weapons were captured. (People's Spring, Salween Press 6/2) This large battle happened only 30 minutes from what had been the heavily-militarized capital of Karen State, Pa-an town; even there the junta’s strength is waning.
In Kawthoolei’s Taw Oo District, Karen army Brigade 2 attacked a junta patrol near Thandaung on May 29 using roadside bombs, killing 13 troops including an officer, and wounding others. Five days previously, the Karen had attacked the junta police barracks at Thandaung. (Mizzima 5/31)
Karen army Brigade 5 and the Federal Wings drone PDF attacked junta-proxy BGF troops at a gas station in Kawthoolei Mutraw District on May 28, killing 5 and seizing 6 military rifles, a grenade launcher, communications equipment, and ammunition. (Mutraw News 5/29)
In Dooplaya District, 200 junta troops attacked positions of the Karen army and its Cobra Column on May 29, but were beaten back with an unknown number of casualties. (Cobra Column 5/30) Also, Karen army Brigade 6 attacked junta administrative positions in Noh Ta Kaw town on June 2, and the junta responded with jet airstrikes on the town, killing 2 civilians and injuring 6. Karen forces then withdrew. (Myanmar Now 6/2) Noh Ta Kaw (Kyainseikji on Burmese maps) was another junta stronghold that is now up for grabs.
The junta’s so-called Monster Column has been redeployed from Sagaing and Magway Regions to Kler Lwi Htoo District of Kawthoolei (eastern Bago Region on Burmese maps). These 200 troops became notorious for massacres, rapes, and the destruction of dozens of farming communities through looting and arson. They are now in Mone Township of Kler Lwi Htoo. Karen army Brigade 3 is developing a plan to confront and contain the Monster Column. (Mizzima 5/27)
After Karen army Brigade 6 captured an area of northern Kaw T’Ree town in Kawthoolei Dooplaya District, the junta dropped two 500 pound bombs on a Buddhist monastery there on May 28, destroying a temple and a school. (Khit Thit Media 5/29) The junta has also bombed other Buddhist and Christian temples in Dooplaya District and in Karenni State.
In a staged propaganda stunt, junta troops deliberately fired 120mm mortars at the police stations and court house that they control in Naw Ta Kaw and Kyondoe towns in Dooplaya District (Kyainseikgyi on Burmese maps) on May 29-30. These were calculated acts of sabotage in order to accuse the Karen army of firing indiscriminately into a civilian community, something the junta alone does. (Khit Thit Media 5/29) The Karen army controls almost all the area around Noh Ta Kaw.
Thailand will cut off the electricity supply to the organized crime enclave funded by Chinese investors at Shwe Kokkol in Kawthoolei Pa-an District on the Thai border. While this appears to be a positive event, it turns out that the Chinese government is behind it. China’s envoy in Burma put pressure on its pet regime there, which in turn made a request to Thai authorities to cut off Shwe Kokkol from the Thai power grid. The Thais will comply on June 5. The Beijing government wants to stamp out Chinese organized crime that targets Chinese citizens on-line. Shwe Kokkol has its own power generation source, however. (The Irrawaddy 6/2)
In Kawthoolei Beit-Tavoy District, local PDFs in Ye Phyu Township intercepted a junta convoy on May 31, killing 10 troops and wounding at least that many. Two ambulances and 3 helicopters removed the dead and wounded. (People's Spring 6/2) Further south, junta troops in Tenasserim Township are firing mortars into villages, unprovoked, causing a flight of refugees into the jungle. (Than Lwin Times 6/2)
Karenni defense forces-------------------
An update to the fighting in Karenni State: Five junta troops were killed in Demawso Township on May 21 including a captain, in addition to the 40 already known to have died in the 10-day battle there that started May 14. Then on May 27 a junta lieutenant colonel battalion commander fled his unit, sick of the fighting, after seeing his comrades die and after being hit by a rocket-propelled grenade that failed to explode. He had not been allowed to visit his home in a year and a half. He was caught the following day, and his fate remains unknown. (Khit Thit Media 5/29) There is also fighting in Mobye, in which 4 Karenni medics were killed when jets dropped 8 bombs, also killing a 3-year-old child. (People's Spring 5/30)
In another extended battle, this one in Pekhon Township of Karenni area, at least 13 junta troops were killed and many others wounded in the 12 days May 20-31. Junta jets bombed repeatedly, killing 4 Karenni medics who were trying to extract wounded soldiers, also a 3-year-old child; 5 Karenni soldiers were wounded. The Karenni captured a junta drone and some ammunition. (Mizzima 6/2)
The Karenni say that captured junta troops are inexperienced, having been drafted as recently as a month ago. Forty battalions are attacking in northern Karenni area, including reinforcements brought from northern Shan State, but they are outnumbered by Karenni defenders and are making no headway at all. UN and other international aid for refugees only reaches regime-controlled areas, not the liberated areas where the refugees are. (The Irrawaddy 5/31)
Chin defense forces-------------------
A large battle started in Chin State on May 25 as 150 junta troops tried to re-invade Htantalan town from Hakha supported by air strikes, but were held back by Chin defense forces. At least 27 junta troops are known killed. Eleven Chin soldiers were killed as they tried to evacuate wounded comrades, and 8 more were wounded. (Ayeyarwaddy Times 6/2) Chin forces sabotaged that road last year and fought to prevent the junta from rebuilding it, and they overtook junta positions in Htantalan in March.
Chin defense forces teamed up with Kalay Township PDFs in Sagaing Region to attack a column of 80 junta troops who strayed from their safe area in the center of Kalay town into the southern part of the city on May 27. They laid roadside bombs and opened fire, killing at least 15 of the troops including a lieutenant and wounding about 30 others, with the death toll likely to rise. When reinforcements arrived, they too were attacked and 2 were killed. (Myaelatt Athan 5/29)
The junta has been attempting to capture a trade center in southern Chin State near Mindat, but on May 29 Chin defense forces intercepted a column of 200 troops and forced it to retreat. At least three junta troops are known to have died but total casualties aren’t known yet. Junta troops were also attacked on the Kyauktu-Mindat road on May 25 and 26. (Than Lwin Khet News 5/30)
Four intra-Shan clashes occurred May 20-27 in which the northern, anti-junta SSPP captured temporary camps and some weapons from the southern pro-junta RCSS. The SSPP accuses the RCSS of using junta-style tactics like placing landmines where civilians step on them and disguising themselves as civilians. The SSPP has offered to hold talks. (Ayeyarwaddy Times 5/30)
Junta scorched earth village terrorism campaign---------------
Junta troops and Pyu Saw Htee their Pyu Saw Htee sidekicks are still looting and burning villages in central Burma. They have been killing elderly people, often by burning them inside their houses. In Kani Township a helicopter gunship came to a village on May 31, shot two children at a school, then left again. The children are receiving medical attention. (People's Spring 5/31)
People’s Defense Forces (PDFs)-----------------
Over 200 Revolution groups in Sagaing Region held a 2-day forum May 30-21 to unify and coordinate their forces politically for the future. Sagaing Region is home to the most active fighting in Burma and has the most fighters and defense groups, but they have often acted separately and without coordination, reducing their effectiveness. The forum aimed to change that. Besides defending against junta terrorism, the groups provide services such as education, law enforcement, public works, and humanitarian assistance to the hundreds of thousands of refugees displaced by the war. The Kawthoolei government (KNU) sent a message of support to the Sagaing forum. (Mizzima 5/31)
Three PDFs in Monywa mounted a surprise attack on about 30 junta/Pyu Saw Htee terrorists who were extorting travelers at a check gate at the entrance to Monywa city on May 27. Eleven of the enemy were killed in the attack, which lasted an hour. The PDFs were unhurt. (Chindwin Yoma News 5/29)
PDFs detonated 7 roadside bombs on a convoy of 11 trucks carrying aviation fuel on May 28, damaging some of the trucks and causing ambulances to arrive, but the exact damage and casualties aren’t reported. (Myaelatt Athan 5/29) The resistance has been targeting the air force, its personnel, and its supply lines in an effort to reduce the bombing of civilians by the terrorist regime.
On May 28 junta troops raided 2 PDF camps in Ayadaw Township of Sagaing Region and Ngazun Township of Mandalay Region. During a terrorist raid on a village in Ayadaw, the troops took civilian hostages and found among them the mother of a Revolution policewoman; they cut her into pieces and burned her, then raided the PDF camp. The daughter was already captured in June 2022. In Ngazun a PDF soldier was caught and then killed in custody. The rest of the PDF soldiers evacuated safely, with the loss of a few weapons. (People's Spring 5/29)
A pro-junta entertainer was shot critically in Yangon on May 30. Daw Lili Naing Kyaw, a member of the radical nationalist Mabatha network, is on life support; she was shot in her car front of her house in Yankin Township. (People's Spring 5/30) This comes after another big regime proponent, Tint Lwin, was killed on May 26. Fascist supporters increasingly live in fear. Also, many bombs have been exploding in Yangon and Mandalay at night. (Khit Thit Media 5/30)
A Launglone Township PDF fired multiple rounds of 81mm mortars into the heavily-guarded residence of the junta’s “governor” of Kawthoolei Beit-Tavoy District in Tavoy city on June 1. (Tanintharyi Times 6/2)
Political and economic-------------------
Cyclone Mocha, which hit Burma on May 14, has turned into a huge bonanza for the illegal military regime. First, the storm hit Revolution strongholds like northern Arakan State, Chin State, Sagaing and Magway Regions, and Kachin State, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis deliberately created by the junta’s terrorist actions there. Then international donors like the UN, ASEAN, and India swooped in and dumped thousands of tons of food and other materials into the junta’s hands, to use as it sees fit, despite the NUG’s urging to work directly with civil society organizations for cyclone relief. In half a month the junta has hardly distributed anything. It will use most of the donations for itself, then give what’s left only to people in the areas it controls, leaving out most storm victims.
Meanwhile, the various ethnic homeland governments around Burma (Kachin, Ta’ang, Karen, Kokang, Shan, Mon) and the NUG have donated billions of kyat to the Arakan Army for relief in that state. (Tanintharyi Times 5/30)
China coerced 3 northern ethnic armies to send representatives for discussions with the illegal Naypyitaw regime in Maingla, Shan State on June 1. The Ta’ang, Kokang, and Arakan armies attended. At the meeting, the junta requested the ethnic armies to support a revival of its plan for sham elections; they refused, and the meeting broke up with no result. (Ayeyarwaddy Times 6/2) China has repeatedly meddled in Burma’s Revolution on behalf of the Naypyitaw regime. Also this week, China’s top military intelligence official visited and validated the regime in Naypyitaw to discuss “cooperation” on crime control such as drug trafficking and illegal gambling, both of which benefit the Naypyitaw regime financially. (Mizzima 6/1)
In a new report, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization warns of impending famine in Burma: “In Myanmar, the intensity of the conflict and ongoing, high numbers of displacement amid extreme constraints to humanitarian access – which are likely to further deteriorate in the outlook period – raise very high concerns over the potential level of people facing critical levels of acute food insecurity; 15.2 million people [are] expected to require food and livelihood assistance in 2023, including 2.2 million children and women.” (Mizzima 5/31)
The junta is using drones and missiles supplied by Iran, which also supplies the Russian invasion of Ukraine. During three visits to Naypyitaw in early 2022, Iran reached an agreement to sell these weapons to the illegal military regime. (Mizzima 5/30)
Twelve American timber companies are violating the sanctions against Burma and are enriching the rogue regime by illegally purchasing timber through intermediaries. The non-profit Environmental Investigation Agency documented the contraband and submitted a report to USA authorities. The 12 companies are named, with the amounts that each has purchased so far. The junta’s desperate need for cash has driven an illegal logging frenzy that has devastated the country’s shrinking forests, and these companies are complicit in that damage as well as the junta’s reign of terror. (Tanintharyi Times 5/27)
UN Special Ambassador for Myanmar Noeleen Heyzer resigned on June 1, before the expiry of her term. Her visits to Naypyitaw were exploited for propaganda value by the illegal regime. She never bothered to meet with the NUG representing the people of Burma, and never managed to extract a single concession from the terrorist regime. (People's Spring 6/1)
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