Southeast Asia
Burma

Burma: army accused in village massacre

Burmese junta soldiers reportedly killed at least 75 civilians in an attack on a village in Rakhine state, where the regime is facing a fierce insurgency by the rebel Arakan Army (AA). The AA said in a statement that it has¬†a list of 53 victims, including two teenagers and five women. Over 100 soldiers entered Byian Phyu, near state capital Sittwe, forcing residents into a communal area in the center of the village, where scores of were summarily gunned down, survivors said.¬†Burma’s military government has denied the accusation.¬†(Map: PCL)

Southeast Asia
Burma

Burma: new warnings of Rohingya ‘genocide’

Twenty-eight non-governmental organizations representing Burma’s Rohingya Muslim minority issued a joint statement¬†warning of the risk of a new “genocide” and urging the international community to take action. The NGOs, including the Free Rohingya Coalition and Burmese Rohingya Organization UK (BROUK), said that this time the threat comes from the Arakan Army, a predominantly Buddhist ethnic armed group that is waging an insurgency against the ruling junta. According to the statement, the Arakan Army has ordered Rohingya residents to evacuate the town of Buthidaung, Rakhine state, where many internally displaced during the 2017 genocide carried out by the Burmese armed forces have taken refuge. The evacuation order is being backed up by a campaign of threats, violence, and arson. (Map: PCL)

Southeast Asia
Burma

Burma: Karen rebels seize strategic border town

The Karen National Union (KNU) said that it will establish its own administrative mechanism in territory recently captured from Burma’s military in and around the critical trade hub of Myawaddy, on the border with Thailand. The KNU has several departments in its governance structure, including those for health, education, foreign affairs and defense, in territories it controls in seven districts¬†across southeastern Burma, including in Karen (Kayin) and Mon states and Bago and Tanintharyi regions. The junta has lost control of several towns on the border with China to other rebel armies in recent months, but the loss of Myawaddy is a special blow, as it is the transfer point for most of Burma’s overland trade with Thailand. (Map: PCL)

Southeast Asia
Montagnard Support Group

Vietnam lists Montagnard groups as ‘terrorist organizations’

Vietnam announced¬†that it has listed two pro-separatist Montagnard groups based in the US as “terrorist organizations.” The term Montagnard refers to various highland ethnic minorities, also collectively known as the Dega, that are distinct from the country’s majority Viet population. Under the “terrorist” designation, anyone found by Vietnamese authorities to have engaged with or aided the organizations may face criminal charges. The Montagnard Support Group and Montagnards Stand for Justice both call for an independent Dega homeland in what are today the Central Highlands of Vietnam. (Photo: Montagnard Support Group)

Southeast Asia
Burma

Burma: investigate killing of journalist Myat Thu Tan

The New York-based¬†Committee to Protect Journalists¬†called for the Burmese military government to investigate the killing of journalist Myat Thu Tan and prosecute the perpetrators. The journalist’s remains were¬†found buried in a bomb shelter at a military camp in Rakhine state. The body, bearing signs of torture, was discovered along with six other political detainees after the camp was overrun by the insurgent Arakan Army.¬†Since September 2022, authorities had held Myat Thu Tan in pre-trial detention. At the time of his death, he had not been tried or convicted of any offense. He was accused of disseminating¬†“defamatory material” on social media, in violation of the Burmese Penal Code. According to Human Rights Watch, the offense is used “to target those speaking critically of the military” following the coup of February 2021. (Map: PCL)

Southeast Asia
South Thailand

Thailand: southern insurgency accepts peace plan

Muslim separatists in Thailand’s Deep South agreed in principle¬†¬†to an “improved” peace plan with the government. The agreement, facilitated by Malaysia, follows years of abortive talks. The Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), the main separatist organization, announced a unilateral ceasefire in 2020 in response to the COVID 19 pandemic. More than 7,000 people have been killed in 20 years of intermittent fighting between government forces and separatists in the country’s three southernmost provinces¬†of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, whose populations are overwhelmingly Malay Muslim.¬†(Map: Wikipedia)

Southeast Asia
Burma

Burma junta extends state of emergency again

Burma’s ruling military junta announced¬†that it has extended the country’s state of emergency period for another six months. The junta last¬†extended the state of emergency by six months in July 2023 and postponed an election it had promised to hold that August. The state of emergency was first declared after¬†the February 2021 coup, and has been continuously extended since then.¬†While Article 425 of the Constitution stipulates that a state of emergency may only be extended twice at maximum, the junta stated that the extension was necessary as Burma is in an unusual situation. The junta blamed opposition organizations for keeping the country from conducting multi-party democratic elections. (Map: PCL)

Southeast Asia
Burma

Burma: key border city falls to rebels

Burma’s ruling junta acknowledged that it withdrew its forces from a key city on the border with China after it was seized by an alliance of ethnic rebel armies. The fall of Laukkai is the most significant defeat the junta has suffered since the self-declared Three Brotherhood Alliance¬†launched its offensive in northeastern¬†Shan state in October. Days earlier,¬†at least 150 junta soldiers fled across the border into India’s Mizoram state, driven from their outposts in Burma’s northwestern¬†Chin state by the rebel Arakan Army. The soldiers turned themselves over to a detachment of India’s paramilitary Assam Rifles, and had to be flown back to Burmese territory.¬†(Map: PCL)

Southeast Asia
Shan State

Podcast: the Burmese struggle in the Great Game

The US uses its veto on the UN Security Council to protect its client state Israel amid the criminal bombardment of Gaza, while Russia and China pose as protectors of the Palestinians. In Burma, the situation is precisely reversed: Russia and China protect the brutal junta on the Security Council, while the US and UK pose as protectors of the pro-democratic resistance. Yet another example of how a global divide-and-rule racket is the essence of the state system. Bill Weinberg dissects the mutual imperial hypocrisy in Episode 206 of the CounterVortex podcast. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Burmese resistance fighters pose with armored vehicle seized from a captured junta outpost. Via Myanmar Now)

Southeast Asia
Burma

China seeks ceasefire in Burma border zone

China’s government announced that it has mediated a short-term ceasefire to the conflict between the Burmese junta and rebel armies of ethnic peoples in the northeastern region near the Chinese border. The conflict has been escalating since the Arakan Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) launched Operation 1027 in Shan state in late October. The rebel armies have joined as a self-declared Three Brotherhood Alliance seeking control of Burma’s northeast. None of the parties to the conflict have commented on the supposed ceasefire. China, a major backer of the junta, continues to conduct live-fire military exercises on its side of the frontier. (Map: PCL)

Southeast Asia
NDFP

Philippines: agreement with rebels to reset peace talks

In a joint statement, the Philippine government and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) announced an agreement to reset peace negotiations in an attempt to end a 54-year-long conflict. The agreement, facilitated by Norway, was signed in Oslo by representatives of both President Ferdinand Marcos Jr and the NDFP. The statement cited “socioeconomic and environmental issues,” as well as “foreign security threats facing the country” as reasons for the re-opening of negotiations. Talks last stalled in 2017 when then-president Rodrigo Duterte broke off a peace process and declared the NDFP-affiliated New People’s Army a “terrorist organization.” (Image: NDFP flag via Wikimedia Commons)

Southeast Asia
NTF-ELCAC

UN call to disband Philippine ‘counter-insurgency force’

The UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change, Ian Fry,¬†called for the disbandment of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), which he called a “counter-insurgency force” in the Philippines. In a press conference held after his 10-day trip to the Philippines, Fry stated that the NTF-ELCAC has “operated with impunity” and that an independent investigation into the group is necessary. The trip, which was meant to assess how climate change is impacting human rights in the Philippines, began to focus on the NTF-ELCAC as several local rights groups brought attention to its involvement in violence against land defenders and opponents of extractive industries. The group is accused of “red-tagging,” in which those resisting projects are accused of being fighters or supporters of the communist insurgency, effectively making them targets. (Photo:¬†Ryomaandres/Wikimedia Commons)