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Burma coup resistance notes September 9, 2023
Junta admin offices and police stations in urban centers all over Burma are under attack, killing officers, crippling administration, and aiming for Revolutionary take-over of towns.
Naypyitaw troops “invade” Thailand to attack the Karen army from behind. (Khit Thit Media 8/8)
About 80 junta troops “invaded” the Thai village of Lay Tong Ku in southern Tak Province on Sept. 2 to try to rescue troops trapped in border camps besieged by the Karen army. (Khit Thit Media 8/8) Such an invasion implies collusion on the part of the Thai military regime.
Over 80 troops were killed in Kler Lwi Htoo District, mostly by the junta’s own jets: Karen army Brigade 3 attacked in three locations in Moo and Ler Doh Townships of Kler Lwi Htoo District Aug. 29-Sept. 1, capturing a junta base at Thee Cha Sae in Ler Doh where 15 junta troops were killed and multiple weapons seized. In Moo Township the Karen attacked a junta bridge guard position, killing 11. In all, nearly 30 troops and Pyu Saw Htee were killed in the action, which lasted from before dawn till the evening. Then at least 50 more were killed by the junta’s own airstrikes. Casualties were confirmed by watermelon sources. Three Karen soldiers died. (Khit Thit Media 9/2, Ayeyarwaddy Times 9/3) Brigade 3 has been expanding its territory by pushing the junta back, and is getting closer to Naypyitaw and the junta’s vital supply routes.
This is a huge death toll that the junta can no longer afford. It will necessarily shrink the area that it is able to control.
On Sept. 3 the fighting continued as the Karen army battled 70 junta troops in 2 villages of Moo Township. Jets bombed in the afternoon. (Salween Press 9/3)
Also in Brigade 3 area, a tanker truck carrying jet fuel for junta airstrikes overturned and burned up on the old Yangon-Mandalay highway on August 27. While the wreckage was being guarded by junta police, a Yangon-area urban guerrilla group killed one of them on Sept. 3. (Khit Thit Media 9/3)
In Myawaddy border town, the Cobra Column and Federal Wings drone force of the Karen army’s Brigade 6 bombed the central junta police station on Sunday Sept. 3 in the evening when civilian staff would not be there. The police station was supposedly protected by drone jammers. Federal Wings then waited for the junta’s top area police commanders to come inspect the damage, and dropped 2 more bombs on them, killing two front line commanders and 3 other officers and injuring a police commander, two deputy commanders, and other officers, 11 of whom were sent to a hospital in Mae Sot, Thailand, just across the border. Four of those 11 died also, making 9 total fatalities from the bombing. Troops in Myawaddy fired off several mortar rounds this way and that after the bombing. (Cobra Column, Khit Thit Media, Ayeyarwaddy Times 9/4, 9/6) The police barracks in Kyondo was also attacked by drone on Sept. 6, causing at least one fatality. (Karen Information Center 9/7)
After the Myawaddy drone bombing, Federal Wings announced that it will attack junta offices and staff housing in Myawaddy, which caused junta staff and families to move hastily, trying to get out of Myawaddy. The junta promised to protect them using drone jammers, but staff are not confident and are applying for leave, but the junta isn’t granting it. (Khit Thit Media 9/7) Also, the junta is investingating the widespread leak of pictures and audio of the bombing aftermath, including dead police commanders. Troops are inspecting staff’s mobile phones at gunpoint. (Mizzima 9/7) This bombing and after-effects will seriously disrupt the junta’s ability to administer anything in Myawaddy or the small places it controls in Dooplaya District.
Karen forces including the Cloud Wings drone PDF used drones to bomb two helicopters that were trying to land in Notakaw town (Kyainseikgyi) on Sept. 1, forcing them to take off again after less than a minute. They left and didn’t return; Notakaw is now too dangerous for junta helicopters, and the roads are cut off by the Karen army. The same day, Cloud Wings dropped a 107mm bomb on the Notakaw junta police station. Troops in the town then fired mortars, but they didn’t know where the Karen were and didn’t hit any soldiers or civilians. (Khit Thit Media 9/3)
Karen army Brigade 5 captured another junta camp, at Kay Pu in Luthaw Township, on Sept. 6. The camp had at least 50 troops, some of whom were killed and wounded, then the rest fled the camp and were captured along with many weapons. That camp was hated for firing mortars into surrounding civilian villages. Jets then came and bombed nearby villages and Dae Bu Noh town, killing a teacher and three high school students. Also, Brigade 5 dropped a drone bomb into a meeting of junta officials in Kamamaung town on Sept. 7, killing the local junta administrator. (Karen Information Center 9/8)
A Karen PDF blew up a junta vehicle and reinforcements coming to its support in Tenasserim Township of Beit-Tavoy District on Sept. 6, killing a Major and 7 other soldiers. (Khit Thit Media 9/7)
Karenni defense forces pushed junta troops out of two villages in Demawso Township on Sept. 1, killing at least 30 of them and capturing many rifles, mortar rounds, grenades, boxes of rifle ammunition, a mortar launcher, uniforms, and other equipment. There were also Karenni casualties but numbers aren’t reported. The enemy had been entrenched there for more than a year. Afterward the junta bombed the area with mortars and aircraft. (Kantarawaddy Times 9/2) During July and August the junta unsuccessfully tried to retake Mese in the south, but this latest loss occurred in the north, so the junta is being pushed backward.
On Sept. 2 a Karenni group, the KRU, raided another junta camp at Kone Tha and captured weapons. (People's Spring 9/8)
The Karenni also attacked a large truck convoy trying to get through Hpruso Township the same day, blowing up at least one truck. Reports vary, there are between 45 and 85 trucks, and roadside bombs have caused casualties and destroyed trucks. (Khit Thit Media 9/2)
The Karenni say that 128 junta troops including 8 commanders defected from their units during July and August. The Karenni called it the “disintegration from the inside” of the junta army, which is engaging in a “suicide war.” (People's Spring 9/3) They also say that 110 junta troops were killed in about 50 clashes in Karenniland during August. (Khit Thit Media 9/6)
The junta and Arakan Army have been detaining each other’s officers again. It started Sept. 6 when junta troops kidnapped an Arakan officer who was having his phone repaired in Kyauktu, then the AA abducted a junta army officer and two police. (Khit Thit Media 9/8) These tit-for-tat abductions are how the AA ended up fighting battles against the junta during 2022, before stopping last November.
People’s Defense Forces (PDFs)-----------------
PDFs used large drone bombs to kill 19 junta/Pyu Saw Htee terrorists. On Aug. 29 they bombed a checkpoint in Wetlet Township of Sagaing Region where troops were extorting travelers, killing 3 and wounding 5. Three vehicles of reinforcements came and were blasted by roadside bombs, damaging one of them. From Aug. 30 to Sept. 1 a PDF in Santku Township of Mandalay Region dropped 42 bombs into a Pyu Saw Htee camp, killing 16 of them and wounding 8. One of the wounded, the commander’s wife, herself a Pyu Saw Htee, later died at the hospital. (Khit Thit Media 9/2)
PDFs attacked 5 junta positions inside Myaing town on Sept. 2 in what they said is preparation to capture the whole city. They attacked with automatic rifles, targeting the admin office, police barracks, two town gates, and an administrator’s house for 30 minutes. They gained entry to the administrator’s house, and he fled. They also arrested some non-CDM high school teachers, and released them with a warning to stop collaborating with the junta. Casualties aren’t reported. (Khit Thit Media 9/3)
PDFs attacked 8 junta supply boats that were guarded by 2 navy boats on the Chindwin River on Sept. 2. Aquatic mines caused one of the cargo boats to burn. Wounded troops were off-loaded from the boat. (Khit Thit Media 9/3)
The PDF in Maddaya Township of Mandalay Region is having a dispute with the NUG Ministry of Defense. The MOD fired three leaders of the PDF, so its members have resigned and re-established their group as an unaffiliated PDF, outside NUG authority. According to reports, there are no reports of malfeasance by the PDF, nor reasons given for firing the leaders. The PDF has gained control of more than half of Maddaya Township. (Mandalay Free Press 9/3) As the Revolution coalesces from an array of independent groups into a more centralized organization, there have been several disputes over local authority.
Almost 70 junta troops raided a PDF camp in Monywa Township of Sagaing Region on Sept. 6, capturing six people and torturing and murdering them. The camp was a manufacturing unit for locally-manufactured mortars. (The Irrawaddy 9/7)
A Yangon PDF fired mortars into the Yangon parliament building the morning of Sept. 9 before dawn. (People's Spring 9/9) Damage isn’t specified, but the fact that Revolutionary groups can now fire large weapons at central targets even in the junta’s most heavily-guarded cities is new.
The junta thinks of Irrawaddy Region as one of it biggest support bases because Revolutionary activity has been minimal there. So it has pulled most troops to send to the battle fronts elsewhere, and replaced them with aging veterans and hastily-armed government staff. Now it is drafting 60 people from each ward in certain townships to attend mandatory paramilitary training, including civilians from the pro-junta USDP political party. (Ayeyarwaddy Times 9/2) The junta has run out of soldiers and is taking warm bodies wherever it can find them for its last defense.
Junta officials stole five ambulances owned by a civil society group in Dandah Oo Township of Mandalay Region, removed their medical insignia, and is using the vans for its military purposes. Now there is no fast way to get patients to hospital. (Khit Thit Media 9/6)
Political and economic-------------------
On the 2nd anniversary of the NUG’s D-Day, its Ministry of Defense said 293 PDF regiments have been established in two years, and that 30,000 junta troops have been killed and 14,000 troops and police have defected to the Revolution since the Feb. 2021 coup d'état. He said it’s time to prepare for the end of the war. (Mizzima 9/8)
The ASEAN Public Forum, a participatory congress for people in ASEAN Bloc countries, officially declared the Naypyitaw junta a ‘terrorist organization.’ It also called for formal relations with the NUG and Burma’s ethnic homeland governments, and cross-border humanitarian assistsance for Burma’s nearly 2 million internal refugees. Unlike ASEAN’s diplomatic functions, which tend to represent Southeast Asia’s military-backed authoritarian governments, the Public Forum is an expression of popular sentiment in the region. (Khit Thit Media 9/4) People in authoritarian-ruled countries like Thailand and Vietnam showed that they identify with Burma’s democratic struggle, despite what their governments say.
ASEAN’s diplomatic congress voted to remove Myanmar from its chairmanship rotation in 2026 and instead designated the Philippines for that role. (Khit Thit Media 9/6) A democratic country, the Philippines is expected to be sympathetic to Myanmar’s popular Revolution.
The Naypyitaw junta is planning to host a conference of ASEAN air force commanders September 25-30, but Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, have already refused to attend. The Thai military regime will attend. Singapore, Brunei, Cambodia, and Vietnam haven’t decided yet. The NUG and the human rights group Justice for Myanmar are urging them to boycott the genocidal regime’s conference. (Khit Thit Media 9/8)
The junta’s disastrous foreign exchange and import rules are causing long lines of civilians waiting to buy cooking oil in Yangon and other cities. Last week the regime jailed major oil importers for selling above its price limits. As a result, private suppliers have stopped selling, because they would lose money at the regime’s mandated prices, and there are only limited supplies sold at subsidized prices by the regime itself, as in a communist country. This is causing food shortages.
Another consequence of those impossible foreign currency rules is their violation by many high-ranking officials within the regime itself, and their arrest by the junta. Over 30 officials have been arrested for holding or trading US dollars at market rates rather than the regime’s fixed rate, which is a little over half of the floating rate. The five state/region “governors” recently replaced are among them. (Myaelatt Athan 9/4) Added to the other recent arrests of high-level regime personnel, this is a pattern of internal purges during the junta’s final implosion. `
The junta’s official airline, MAI, initiated a new international route in early September – to Siberia. The junta still dreams of saving the economy with a tidal wave of Russian tourism, so it lobbied Russia for a direct air connection. Russia allowed a link from Yangon to Novosibirsk. Before the coup, 3,000 to 5,000 Russian tourists had been visiting Myanmar, a tiny number. After the coup that number dropped to fewer than 600 per year. So the new MAI route will serve the 1.6 Russian tourists coming to Myanmar per day on average, plus all the Myanmar travelers wishing to go to Siberia. (Tanintharyi Times 9/7)