8 civilians were killed in Pauk Township; Myawaddy-Kawkareik Asia road reopened; Shooting gold mining rafts with aircraft

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – January 05 Scenes
MoeMaKa, January 06, 2022

8 civilians were killed in Pauk Township; Myawaddy-Kawkareik Asia road reopened; Shooting gold mining rafts with aircraft

On the morning of Independence Day, January 4, after PDFs attacked the military council’s security gate at the ‘Yay Pyar Bridge’ on the highway connecting Pakokku to Pauk, 8 civilians were killed by armed groups in Nagarbwet Village near the bridge, according to news reports.

According to reports from some news outlets, the groups that attacked the ‘Yay Pyar Bridge’ entered Nagarbwet Village on their way out and killed civilians. It has not yet been revealed which group did it, but it seems to have been committed by PDF forces. A total of 8 women and men died, including a 4-year-old child. These incidents, which can be called war crimes, started around the middle of the year after the military coup, and there were many incidents in 2022 and are still happening. Most of them were committed by military council troops, and a few cases were committed by PDF armed groups. There have been many incidents where one civilian was killed, and there are also many incidents in which fewer than ten people or dozens have been killed in the past two years. The incidents of people being killed in the village of Montaingpin, people being burned to death along with a car near Moso Village in Hpruso Township, and 13 people, including a child, being killed in the shooting of a school in a monastery in Leyetkone Village in Depayin Township are well-known incidents that have been repeatedly reported in the news media. Similarly, in a few killings by the armed forces fighting against the military council, there were incidents of killing 24 among more than 48 bridge construction workers on suspicion of being spies in the Wale region of Karen State, the killing of a family and its neighbors in a village by the Yaw PDF last year, and some other incidents in Sagaing. There have been hundreds to thousands alleged killings of civilians as members of the PDF, as supporters of the PDF, and as informers from the other side by one side over the past two years.

It must be assumed that the military council is intentionally allowing killings of civilians by mere suspects was a tactical move to keep civilians from engaging with the PDFs at all. The military has been committing such war crimes continuously since the military coup. On the other hand, the armed groups have killed civilians and village administrators believed to support the military council and USDP supporters with suspicion of junta informants. Killing civilians for whatever reason is an unacceptable war crime.

Another piece of news for today is the news that the Thai-Myanmar border trade road, Kawkareik-Myawaddy Road, which was closed for 2 weeks, has been reopened. The joint forces of the KNU, PDF and the armed group that has divided from the DKBA have been fighting with junta troops on Asia Road around Kawkareik Township since the third week of December, and the road was closed. It is natural for the armed groups to want to block the military council’s logistics route according to their military strategy, but it is believed that Thailand will apply partial pressure because it will cause economic damage.

Another special news item for today is that there was an airstrike on gold mining rafts in the Irrawaddy River in Myitkyina Township, Kachin State. This is the first incident of firing heavy weapons from the air against civilians working in this illegal gold mining business that damages the environment as if they were attacking armed forces. This action cannot be excused by any legal procedure and is a sign that the military council can no longer rule on the ground and it has also become a case of unnecessary and excessive use of weapons.