Myanmar Spring Chronicle – March 29 Scenes
MoeMaKa, March 30 2023
Some villages in Sagaing Division were invaded by junta columns, resulting in civilian deaths. Fierce battles in Tanintharyi
Today’s news includes the news that two civilians were killed in Saing Pyin Village in Tabayin Township of Sagaing Division after being raided by junta columns; the news that the villagers fled due to the raiding of the villages near the Letpadaung Copper Project area in Salingyi Township by junta troops; and the news of intense fighting on the Tanintharyi-Mawdaung road in Tanintharyi Division. There have been no further news reports of the fighting around Kyondoe, Kawkareik, and Myawaddy in Karen State, where the fighting took place in the last few days.
It has been reported in the news that 2 villagers were shot and killed by military council troops when they invaded Saing Pyin Village recently, a village near the area of the Tabayin incident in Sagaing Division.
In recent years, many villages in Tabayin Township have been raided and burned, and many civilians have been killed on suspicion of being PDF members or supporters. Many houses were lost, and foods such as rice and beans were burned and destroyed.
Another area in Sagaing Division where thousands of local residents fled due to the invasion of junta troops in today’s news, includes some villages in Salingyi Township. Villages near the Letpadaung Copper Project are being invaded, and thousands of local residents are fleeing. It is believed that these villages were raided after the recent drone attacks on the compound of the Letpadaung Copper Project, which is a joint venture between the Chinese company and Myanma Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL). The Letpadaung is an area where frequent protests, crackdowns and arrests have occurred due to opposing by the local residents against the agricultural and environmental impacts of the copper project in the nearby villages since U Thein Sein government before the coup. After the military coup, rather than protests like before, there have been attacks by the People’s Defense Forces and attacks on convoys transporting copper from the copper project.
After the declaration of martial law, it was also reported in the news that the military council troops are raiding villages in the townships of Sagaing Division with more forces and more frequently than before and are committing more atrocities. About 2 months after the declaration of martial law, the rule of the military council in Sagaing has not seen a significant improvement. What makes martial law so special is that civilians who are not members of the armed forces are at greater risk of being arrested for supporting, encouraging, and communicating with the PDFs, and will face excessive penalties. In the towns of Sagaing Division, restrictions and limitations have increased.
It appears that the Military Council is not able to fully control the Mandalay-Sagaing road, which is more than 80 miles long. A traveler who recently traveled to Mandalay from Monywa reported seeing hand-made mines laid close to the highway firsthand. Dozens of hand-made mines were noticed along the road, and car drivers were also aware of such mines. When military council convoys arrive, they are equipped to detonate them from a distance. These conditions are the conditions in Sagaing.
Another piece of news for today is news of an armed battle in Tanintharyi. A battle between the junta troops and the PDF broke out on the roadside connecting Tanintharyi to Mawdaung, Thailand’s border. The Tanintharyi region is the area of KNU Brigade No. 4, but rather than battles between the KNU and the military council, most of the battles are with PDF forces.