Myanmar Spring Chronicle – April 07 Scenes
MoeMaKa, April 08 2023
The fighting continues near the new town of Shwe Koke Ko, and the number of people fleeing the war has increased; Former Kachin KBC president was sentenced for 6 years imprisonment
The fighting that started on April 5 around the new town of Shwe Koke Ko, north of Myawaddy, is continuing, and the number of people fleeing the war is increasing again. They mainly flee to the Thai side east of the Thaungyin River, and some reports say that there have been more than 8,000 people fleeing the war, and some reports say that there have been up to 10,000 people.
On the Thai side, there are reports that the IDPs have been placed in designated areas along the banks of the Thaungyin River, guarded by security forces to prevent them from going to other villages and towns on the Thai side, and those who want to give food aid are screened and approved.
For war refugees, they have to escape with the things they can carry on their own to escape the danger, and there is also the possibility that the houses and utilities they left behind will be damaged or lost.
Three members of a PDF column were arrested and deported by the Thai police and Immigration officials at the border gate controlled by the BGF. After the BGF troops shot and arrested them as they tried to escape and handed them over to the military council, the fighting broke out in the Shwe Koke Ko area.
Attacks on BGF camps under the military council occurred after PDF members were subjected to Thailand’s unexpected action.
There have been many casualties among military council and BGF forces in the current fighting, and a total of more than 80 soldiers have been killed, Karen armed forces have issued statements. A few days before Thingyan, on April 7, a statement was issued with the names and signatures of about 7 Karen convoys, asking civilians not to use the Kyondoe-Kawkareik-Myawaddy Asia Road at all.
It is not clear whether the main KNU armed group is involved in the current armed clashes or if the bottom columns, such as Albino Tiger, Cobra, Lion, etc., led by the Klo Htoo Baw armed group that broke away from the former DKBA, are fighting. Now that the events are happening, the KNU/KNLA (PC) group, which was formed under the leadership of the former commander Bo Htein Maung of KNU Brigade 7, known as To-Kawko region, issued a letter saying that one of its commanders and one of its strategists were expelled from the group. It is believed that the KNU/KNLA (PC), which signed the NCA with the military council and continues to adhere to the information contained in the agreement, has expelled the commander and strategist due to their involvement in the recent armed clashes with the military council in Kawkareik and Myawaddy Townships.
In Karen State, there is the KNU group as a large armed group, and there are other small armed groups such as KNU/KNLA (PC), DKBA, BGF, KTLA, KKO, etc., and there are clashes between groups depending on the joint activities with military council.
Another piece of news for today is the news that former president of the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC), Dr. Hkalam Samson from Myitkyina, Kachin State, has been sentenced to 6 years in prison under 3 sections: 2 years imprisonment under Section 17(1) of the Unlawful Association Act, 1 year under Section 505(a) of the Penal Code, and 3 years under Section 52(a) of the Terrorism Act, for a total of 6 years.
Former KBC chairman Dr. Hkalam Samson was arrested at the end of last year in Myitkyina after being stopped and checked while traveling abroad for medical treatment through Mandalay. He is one of the most influential people in the Kachin community, and is respected and recognized by KIO and KIA organizations. It is also believed that the military council has a grudge against him because he has good relations with western countries and has political influence in the Kachin community.