Myanmar Spring Chronicle – March 04 Scenes
MoeMaKa, March 05 2023
Sagaing region, with escalating military operative killings
On February 1st, after the military council extended their term for 6 months and declared martial law in 37 townships in the country, military operations in Sagaing Division and some parts of Myanmar intensified, and killings and house burnings increased.
The military council has been mobilizing their troops in Sagaing Division, Northern Magway Division, Tanintharyi and Karen State, where the PDF movement is strong. We see more and more news of raids, arrests and killings of supporters of the PDF forces, and the burning of houses, rice, beans and food belonging to local people in the villages.
Recently, in some villages in Wetlet Township, Sagaing Division, military council troops have raided and burned down houses, arresting and killing local residents. In the villages of Khin-U Township, there are also military council troops roaming around and attacking, and you can read the news of clashes with PDFs. There have also been reports that the junta troops have also burnt down many houses in Khin Mon Village in Chaung-U Township. In some parts of the upper part of Sagaing Division, there have been arrests and killings of local residents by the military council troops. Recently, there have been reports of the killing of 17 villagers in Tartaing Village in Sagaing Township.
Not only in Upper Myanmar’s Sagaing Division, but also in Tanintharyi Division’s Launglone Township, a village called Kaungwet was also reported in the news media that military council troops entered and killed 6 local residents. After the military council declared martial law in early February, these operations have been accelerated and it is becoming a situation where the PDF and the ethnic armed forces are likely to increase attacks in response to the military council’s operations. It is difficult to predict whether the military council’s operations will be the last flare-up of a torch that is about to be extinguished, or whether the area where the civil war broke out will widen and more townships and villages will continue to be affected by the escalation of intensified battles.
It can be seen from the news that when the military council troops are patrolling, they do not pay attention to the difference between the People’s Defense Forces and civilians, and they continue to arrest, torture and kill those suspected of being supporters or associates. In the current operation on demolishing the PDF, they are not just punishing individuals but giving general punishment village-by-village, burning houses and destroying property with only the goal of winning and paying no attention to human rights, mass killings, and war crimes. This is done in order to stop the local population from fully supporting the PDF and the ethnic armed forces.
At this time, war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity committed by the military council forces are not yet in a position to be punished immediately, but they will be recorded and collected for the purpose of holding the officials accountable at some point.
On the other hand, PDFs and ethnic armed groups fighting against the military council need to be very careful not to commit war crimes such as mass killings of civilians, minor children and women in connection with armed conflict. The news also reported that the UN human rights report on Myanmar, which was released recently, contains some statements about human rights violations committed by the armed forces fighting against the military council. There are also killings of civilians, including children and women, with suspicion or accusation of being junta informants or militia who support the military council, which could be documented as human rights violations and war crimes. Regarding these issues, there is a need for specific actions and punishments by the armed forces to prevent further occurrences.
During the revolution, the excuse can be made that such events cannot be taken as urgent and that the success of the revolution is the main thing. However, it is important for the organizations that oppose the military dictatorship and pro-democracy revolutionary forces not to commit the kinds of crimes committed by the military council troops, and to understand and follow the international rules for civilians and armed forces.