Tag Archives: Military coup

Myanmar Round-Up: October 2022

The month witnessed a rise in conflict between the military and the opposition forces, especially the air strikes as the rainy season was receding. The preparations for elections have started as the Union Election Commission called for bids for the supply of equipment. Internationally, the ASEAN special meeting was an event, to mark the developments prior to the 10-13 November meeting. During the month, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) put Myanmar on the ‘High-Risk Jurisdictions subject to a Call for Action’ category – commonly known as blacklist countries on 21 October.[1] India pushed further for speedier completion of the Kaladan Multi-Modal project and is also witnessing increases in refugees from Myanmar as well as the problem of drug supply is on the rise.

Political and Domestic Crisis

In the latest push for the general election, Myanmar’s military-appointed Union Election Commission called for bids to supply polling equipment i.e. plastic ballot boxes, voting booths, pens, envelopes, ballot papers, ropes, ink and badges. Holding an election is part of the military’s five-point roadmap released after the 2021 coup. In the process, the regime plans to replace the current first-past-the-post electoral system with proportional representation. The change is seen as favouring the military and its allied political parties.[2] It is also widely believed that Min Aung Hlaing wants to be “elected” president and will probably be nominated for the presidency by the military’s proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party. In early October, the USDP chose Khin Yi, one of Min Aung Hlaing’s right-hand men, as its new leader. The Myanmar military also plans to include a large number of retired officers, either as candidates or to help with campaigns.[3]

On the one hand, detained State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s last five remaining cases of corruption were filed at Naypyidaw Prison Court. She has been charged with 19 cases since the military coup and has been sentenced to a total of 26 years in prison for 14 of them.[4] On the other hand, the military released former planning and finance minister U Soe Win of the NLD government, singer Po Po and beauty blogger Win Min Than.[5] Further, the country’s scenario is marred by repeated fighting in Kachin (except in Chipwi, Panwa and Phimaw townships), Chin, Rakhine, Karenni, Karen and Mon states. There is currently no fighting in southern and eastern Shan State. Furthermore, as the rainy season is ending, the military has started increasing airstrikes. The regime has used helicopters, jet fighters and surveillance drones to indiscriminately attack civilians. The aerial bombing campaign is concentrated in Sagaing and Magway regions and Kayah, Karen and Chin states.

According to data collected by the Irrawaddy, a total of 28 aerial attacks were launched in five regions from 01-28 October, leaving 111 dead and injuring at least 126 civilians. Sagaing Region was worst-hit, suffering 18 of the 28 junta airstrikes this month. On the other hand, there are also reports that the military is losing its strength due to daily clashes and is vulnerable to mine attacks by resistance forces. There are also reports that the military is undermanned and has been forced to form companies out of combat support units. The military is struggling to recruit both officer cadets and privates, forcing the junta to field firefighters, police and administrative employees as security personnel, as well as the pro-regime Pyu Saw Htee militias. [6] Therefore, the regime is increasingly relying on aerial attacks. As a result, the NUG Defence Minister U Yee Mon warned the People’s Defense Forces to remain on high alert.[7]

Economic Crisis

In an attempt to gain foreign currency, military chief Min Aung Hlaing claimed that the domestic travel and inbound tour industries are re-starting in Myanmar. On the occasion to mark World Tourism Day, the military organised an event, which was attended by Russian and Japanese ambassadors and the heads of the diplomatic missions of a number of other countries, including India. Myanmar is also planning to launch direct flights to and from Moscow and arrange Russian-language courses. At the same time, regime-backed documentaries on Myanmar have been aired by a Thai military-owned broadcaster to attract travellers from the neighbouring country.

However, on the one hand, the regime is opening up its economy; on the other hand, the military is imposing pre-broadcast censorship on local and foreign television serials. The military-controlled Information Ministry stated that it will ban any content it deems politically or religiously dangerous, or that it believes undermines the culture and national solidarity or arouses sexual desire. In addition, the regime has banned the online news outlet The Irrawaddy and charged the outlet’s registered publisher for violating national security laws. Post the military coup, the Irrawaddy stopped operating from Myanmar and moved production and editorial staff outside the country. Therefore, the impact of the ban on The Irrawaddy was limited. However, before declaring the ban, the news outlets and their reporters faced immense harassment. [8] Furthermore, Myanmar’s military jailed Japanese filmmaker Toru Kubota for “seven years imprisonment for breaching an electronic communications law, and three years for encouraging dissent”. Kubota arrived in Myanmar in July 2022 and was filming a “documentary featuring a Myanmar person”.[9]

Amid the military shutdowns, the NUG’s communications minister U Htin Lin Aung asked Elon Musk to offer satellite internet firm, Starlink, to Myanmar. They asked the provider to give uncensored internet across the country. According to Access Now, at least 54 of Myanmar’s 330 townships have internet blackouts. Justice for Myanmar also reported that the military aims to build a digital dictatorship and is taking control of all mobile networks, directly and through proxies.[10]

Finally, as the country faces an upsurge in the prices of food and fuels, drug consumption has increased. In the months preceding the coup, Chinese triad groups operating in the Greater Mekong region began expansion in narcotics production. Recent entrants, Wan Kuok-kui’s 14K Triad and She Zhijiang’s Yatai International, have spread the reach of Chinese organised crime deeper into Myanmar’s borderlands. These chemicals “disappear into eastern Shan State under the control of the [United Wa State Army] and other insurgent groups,” Mr. Michael Brown, former US Drug Enforcement Administration attaché to the Myanmar government from 2017 to 2019, told Frontier. The UWSA is Myanmar’s most powerful ethnic armed group, which controls two autonomous enclaves on the Thai and Chinese borders, and has long been accused of involvement in the narcotics trade.[11]

International Engagements

The United States added another round of sanctions on Myanmar’s military government, targeting three individuals and one entity. The reason for this round of sanctions was “their roles in the procurement of Russian-produced military arms from Belarus for the Burmese regime.”In his statement, Blinken also referenced the military government’s execution in July of four political prisoners and the 16 September helicopter attack on a school in the Sagaing Region that killed at least 11 children. [12] The EU had last imposed sanctions seven months ago, and Justice for Myanmar (JFM) called upon the EU to take concrete steps and impose sanctions on 31 companies, that have procured weapons for the regime since the 2021 coup. Currently, only the Htoo Group of Companies is facing EU sanctions. All of the businesses have been sanctioned by the US and UK, and some face sanctions from Canada. [13]

On 27 October, a Special meeting of ASEAN was held in Jakarta, because Indonesia will take on the chairmanship of ASEAN in November 2022. The meeting was held ahead of the ASEAN and East Asia Summits in Cambodia from 10-13 November. There have been increasing calls for Jakarta to take decisive steps to address the Myanmar political crisis. On 26 October, Cambodia issued a statement about the airstrike in Kachin State and other airstrikes in Karen State. However, the statement fails to identify the military directly but instead notes that “all parties concerned, in particular, one with significant power on the ground” must commit to an “immediate cessation of violence.” During the month, a military airstrike unlawfully killed at least 60 people at a music concert in Kachin State. From the meeting, Malaysian foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah, one of the strongest advocates on pressing ASEAN to take firmer measures on Myanmar was absent from the meeting as Malaysia is due for a general election in November.[14]

However, Myanmar was not invited following its failure to honour the peace plan. The military’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded that as the meeting was held without Myanmar, it would not be bound by its outcomes. The regime also said renewed pressure from ASEAN to implement a peace plan would “create more negative implications.” While a renewed push to bring about reforms within ASEAN is being pursued, Human Rights Watch expressed “huge disappointment”, stating that ASEAN had remained committed to the stalled consensus. [15] Further, NGO Fortify Rights, noted that the ASEAN should scrap the “five-point consensus” on Myanmar and enact emergency measures such as forming an agreement on protecting Myanmar refugees, authorising cross-border humanitarian aid, and coordinating with other UN member states to deprive the Myanmar military of weapons, aviation fuel, revenue, and political recognition.[16]

As the conflict continues in Myanmar, an estimated 70,000 have fled to neighbouring countries and more than one million have been internally displaced, according to the High Commissioner’s Office, OHCHR. Yet, regional actors are forcing Myanmar refugees and other nationals back. For instance, Malaysian authorities accelerated deportations to Myanmar, returning over 2,000 people since April. Thai authorities have similarly pushed asylum seekers back without verifying their protection needs.[17] Following Malaysia’s latest round of deportations on 06 October, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk called for a moratorium on the forced returns of refugees and migrants to Myanmar. In addition, UN Special Envoy Noeleen Heyzer also said she would continue to urge the ASEAN to develop a regional protection framework for refugees and forcefully displaced persons. [18]

As international organisations get criticised for their limited actions and normalising relations with Myanmar’s military regime, various agencies have made an effort to justify their actions. Using social media, they deployed infographics and other tools to demonstrate how international aid organisations are working in the country.On 03 October, for instance, the Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU), which operates under the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), published a map that shows areas covered by “projects under implementation” by international nongovernmental organisations (INGOs) and the Red Cross. Another graphic tweeted by OCHA Myanmar on 06 October, claims that its “partners reached 3.1 million people with assistance at least once in the first half of 2022”. However, a closer look reveals that these figures do not provide an accurate picture of the actual situation on the ground. For instance, the disclaimer from MIMU: “This map shows the presence of organisations and does not indicate the volume of assistance, the number of beneficiaries, or the extent to which needs are met or unmet.” In short, these facts and figures are highly misleading.[19]

Following weeks of border tension caused by Myanmar military operations across the border regions, on 26 October, a three-member delegation of the Myanmar military met Bangladesh Army in Dhaka. The two sides discussed working on regional peace and security, the exchange of training and relevant information and the quick repatriation of the Rohingya. The Myanmar delegation led by Lt Gen Phone Myat, Command Bureau of Special Operation, also made a courtesy call to Bangladesh Army Chief Gen SM Shafiuddin Ahmed. The Myanmar delegation reiterated that they are interested in enhancing friendship and communication with Bangladesh and solving bilateral problems. [20] In another development on Rohingya, Tom Andrews, the UN Human Rights expert on Myanmar, said that the extremist Rohingya organisation Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) was involved in the massacre of Hindus in Myanmar and should be held accountable. An Amnesty International investigation confirmed that “up to 99 Hindu women, men, and children” had been massacred by ARSA fighters, who also abducted Hindu villagers in August 2017 in Rakhine State.[21]

Finally, another major giant sold its operations to a locally owned company. Switzerland’s Trafigura’s Puma Energy, the main supplier of aviation fuel in Myanmar, announced that it had sold its operations in the country to a locally owned company. The company agreed to sell its stake in Puma Energy Asia Sun (PEAS) and its minority share in National Energy Puma Aviation Services (NEPAS). NEPAS was a joint venture between Puma Energy and the state-owned Myanmar Petrochemical Enterprise under the military’s Ministry of Energy. Puma had initially suspended its operations following the military coup but later resumed distribution for civilian purposes.[22]

India’s Engagements with Myanmar

During the month, the Indian government earmarked a corpus of Rs 17.8 billion to complete the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project in Myanmar. The remaining part is a two-lane highway measuring 109 km from Paletwa in Chin State to Zorinpui at the border of the two countries. The other parts of the project have been completed in Myanmar, including the construction of the Sittwe Port, a river terminal at Paletwa and the dredging of the Kaladan River. A new agreement was inked by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs with IRCON International Limited as the project implementing agency (PIA). According to the agreement, the highway will be constructed by local sub-contractors to be decided by IRCON and completed within 40 months. The project was commenced 12 years ago and the next deadline is 2023. But completing the highway in the existing circumstances could be challenging for the implementing agency.[23]

In another push to India’s Act East Policy, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia announced that flights would soon begin between Manipur’s capital Imphal and Mandalay in Myanmar under the UDAN scheme.[24] In addition, a Myanmar delegation led by its Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Minister Tin Htut Oo visited the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, to acquire seeds for a variety of beans and pulses, including green gram (mung beans). The delegation met with representatives of the India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) and the Overseas Agro Traders Association (OATA) to discuss the addition of green gram to Myanmar’s bean and pulse export list, and to invite more Indian investment in Myanmar. They also met with other private companies to buy seeds for cotton and sunflower.[25]

At present, more than 30,300 Myanmar nationals have taken shelter in different parts of Mizoram since the coup. To accommodate the people, the Young Mizo Association (YMA) urged the Mizoram government to establish relief camps in a “compact” area. According to the Home Department, as of 22 October 2022, 30,385 Myanmar nationals, including 10,013 females and 11,650 children, have taken shelter across all 11 districts of Mizoram. Of them, 13,210 people have been lodged in 160 relief camps, while 17,157 people live outside the relief camps.[26] During the month, India also successfully rescued 45 of its nationals trapped in fake job rackets in Myanmar. Out of them, 13 Indian citizens reached Tamil Nadu.[27]

The month witnessed the continuation of the seizure of drugs smuggled from Myanmar. The Assam Rifles troopers seized 92,550 highly addictive Methamphetamine tablets worth around Rs 31 crores and arrested one person in this connection in Mizoram.[28] Further, sources in Assam Rifles said more than 20 Myanmar nationals had been arrested in the past few months in Mizoram. The security agencies in the region have been recently claiming that rebel groups of Myanmar are using Mizoram to arrange and transport arms and equipment to aid their fight against the military.[29]

Conclusion

Since the coup, the UN reports that more than one million were displaced, and 28,000 civilian properties were razed. According to data collected by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) as of 4 October 2022, there are 12,563 political prisoners are being held by the Military Council in Myanmar.[30] On 30 October, global protests against the Myanmar military were recorded. In the US there was a demonstration in support of those fighting the military in Myanmar. There was also an anti-Myanmar military demonstration led by the Buddhist monk, Daegu Sayadaw, in South Korea.[31] Even organisations such as Progressive Voice, Kachin Women’s Association Thailand and Women’s League of Burma raised concerns and called upon UNSC to stop evading its responsibility in Myanmar.[32] Further, Fortify Rights believes that constructive engagement with the Myanmar military is impossible at this stage, and ASEAN must isolate the military and engage the NUG, Myanmar civil society, and ethnic armed organisations. However, to conclude, any constructive resolution to the current crisis must involve all stakeholders, the military, NUG and the EAOs.

Endnotes :

[1]https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/fatf-called-for-enhanced-due-diligence-on-myanmar-following-blacklist-rbi-122102701123_1.html
[2]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-junta-invites-bids-for-election-equipment.html
[3]https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Myanmar-Crisis/Myanmar-s-Gen.-Min-Aung-Hlaing-set-sights-on-presidency-sources
[4]https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/corruption-suu-kyi-10182022060206.html
[5]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-junta-frees-nld-finance-minister-and-two-political-prisoners.html
[6]https://www.irrawaddy.com/opinion/analysis/myanmar-military-unable-to-fight-without-air-and-artillery-support.html
[7]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/losing-the-ground-battle-myanmar-junta-takes-to-the-skies.html
[8]On 29 September, the news agency’s former director, Thaung Win, was arrested and charged with violating the Publishing and Distribution Act. Further, local reporters from two media outlets, BBC Burmese and The Irrawaddy online news journal, went into hiding. https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/irrawaddy-10312022181138.html
https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/journalists-in-hiding-10172022174501.html
[9]Kubota is the fifth foreign journalist to be detained in Myanmar, after US citizens Nathan Maung and Danny Fenster, Robert Bociaga of Poland and Yuki Kitazumi of Japan — all of whom were later freed and deported. https://www.rfi.fr/en/international-news/20221006-myanmar-jails-japanese-filmmaker-for-10-years-diplomatic-source
[10]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/elon-musk-asked-to-provide-satellite-internet-for-myanmar-fight-against-junta.html
[11https://www.frontiermyanmar.net/en/they-use-it-to-find-some-relief-drug-use-on-the-rise/
[12]The sanctions target the Myanmar businessman Aung Moe Myint, the son of a military officer whom the US Treasury Department claims “has facilitated various arms deals and weapons purchases on behalf of Burma’s military.” The Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has also targeted Aung Moe Mying’s company, Dynasty International Company Limited, and two of its directors: Hlaing Moe Myint, his twin brother, and Myo Thitsar. https://thediplomat.com/2022/10/us-announces-sanctions-on-myanmar-military-linked-arms-broker/
[13]Few of the groups are Dynasty Group and its subsidiaries founded by Aung Moe Myint, KT Group, Ky-Tha Group and its subsidiaries owned by Jonathan Kyaw Thaung, Mega Hill General Trading, Miya Win International Myanmar Chemical and Machinery (MCM) run by Aung Hlaing Oo, International Gateways Group, Star Sapphire Group of Dr. Tun Min Latt, Sky Aviator and Synpex Shwe. https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/asia/thai-court-rules-suspended-pm-prayut-can-resume-office.html
[14]https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3197734/will-asean-norms-absence-malaysias-top-diplomat-doom-myanmar-peace-plan
[15]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/the-world-myanmar/myanmar-regime-rebuffs-asean-pressure-to-implement-peace-plan.html
[16]https://www.mizzima.com/article/fortify-rights-asean-five-point-consensus-myanmar-should-be-scrapped
[17]https://asianews.network/indonesia-told-to-prioritise-myanmar-indo-pacific-analysts/
[18]https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/10/1129907
[19]https://www.myanmar-now.org/en/news/un-agencies-myanmar-pr-campaign-raises-more-questions-than-it-answers
[20]https://www.thedailystar.net/news/bangladesh/armed-forces/news/myanmar-army-delegation-pays-courtesy-call-bangladesh-army-chief-3154231

Myanmar Generals Welcomed by Bangladesh Military Chiefs


[21]https://thecommunemag.com/un-special-rapporteur-says-rohingya-extremists-should-be-held-accountable-for-massacre-of-hindus-in-myanmar/
[22]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmars-main-supplier-of-aviation-fuel-withdraws-from-country.html
[23]Early in 2022, the Indian government terminated the contract with a joint venture of Engineers Projects India Limited (EPIL) and C & C Construction Co. Ltd, which was tasked to construct the highway in Myanmar. In 2019, 10 people, including four Indians and a Myanmar lawmaker, were abducted by the Arakan Army from two boats between Paletwa and Kyauktaw. https://www.irrawaddy.com/opinion/guest-column/challenges-await-new-contractor-as-india-rejigs-plan-for-completion-of-kaladan-project-in-myanmar.html
[24]https://www.deccanherald.com/national/east-and-northeast/tripura-manipur-to-get-international-flights-to-bangladesh-myanmar-under-udan-scheme-1157910.html
[25]https://www.irrawaddy.com/specials/junta-watch/junta-watch-coup-leader-woos-tourists-tv-censorship-revived-and-more.html
[26]https://indianexpress.com/article/north-east-india/mizoram/yma-mizoram-govt-compact-camps-myanmar-nationals-8236400/
[27]https://newsonair.com/2022/10/06/india-rescues-45-nationals-trapped-in-fake-job-rackets-in-myanmar/
[28]https://hubnetwork.in/smuggled-drugs-from-myanmar-worth-rs-31-cr-seized-in-mizoram-1-held/
[29]https://www.deccanherald.com/national/east-and-northeast/myanmar-rebels-moving-arms-via-mizoram-to-fight-junta-say-security-forces-in-northeast-1158287.html
[30]https://mizzima.com/article/myanmar-army-brutally-arrest-civilians-mandalay
[31]https://www.mizzima.com/article/global-protests-against-myanmar-junta
[32]https://www.mizzima.com/article/ngos-call-un-security-council-stop-evading-its-responsibility-myanmar

Myanmar Round-Up: August 2022

In a dismal turn of events, Myanmar’s military chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing extended the state of emergency by another six months. The violence and conflicts continue in the country, especially in the central and western regions. The month also marked the 55th anniversary of ASEAN nations and the nations conducted several meetings from 31 July to 06 August. However, there was no representation from the side of Myanmar. During the month, the Russian Foreign Minister also visited the country to strengthen ties between the two countries. Several international organisations published reports on the deteriorating conditions in the country with increasing violence, arrests and detentions and conditions of journalists and prisoners. The following article highlights the major events during the month of August 2022.

Political and Domestic Situation

During the month, Myanmar’s military chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing extended the state of emergency by another six months and stated that elections could only take place when there was “stable and peaceful”. He had previously stated that the state of emergency would be lifted by August 2023 and thereby the elections would be held. He also stated that there is the possibility of introducing “reform” to the electoral system, including combining the first-past-the-post system with proportional representation.[1] Further, since the takeover in February 2021, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has repeatedly insisted that his action last year was not a coup, but the takeover was in line with the law. However, during a press conference, the military spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun departed from that line and stated that the National League for Democracy (NDL) had forced the military into staging a coup.

On 11 August, the regime introduced further restrictions on political parties by barring them from speaking with international organisations or foreigners without permission from the electoral body. Earlier, it required foreign organisations to report to the regime’s foreign ministry through their embassies if they are to meet a political party in Myanmar. The UEC had accused the foreign embassies, international NGOs and domestic organisations of intervening in the 2020 general election. If the political parties fail to follow the instruction, the parties may face dissolution under Articles 407(c) and 408 of the 2008 Constitution, and Article 6(f) of the Political Parties Registration Law.[2]

As the Chairman of the State Administration Council (SAC), Senior General Min Aung Hlaing conducted Second Peace Talks in Naypyidaw. The peace delegation was led by Chairman of Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO) Khun Thurein, Chairman of Lahu Democratic Union (LDU) Kyar Solomon and Vice-Chairperson of the Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) Saw Mra Razar Lin. The SAC Chairman briefed the participants on the regime’s efforts to exercise the multiparty democracy system, building the Union based on democracy and federalism, and the need for more ethnic representatives to join the political platform. The Senior General also discussed efforts in fulfilling the development of the ethnic regions, the development of the Union State and most importantly, the allotment of Ks 330 billion from the State economic enhancement fund for the development of the ethnic regions.[3]

The Myanmar military has filed an incitement lawsuit against eight residents in Arakan State’s Mrauk-U Township under Section 505(a) of the Penal Code at the Mrauk-U District Court; according to family members of the accused. The Arakan Army has detained multiple junta soldiers, police and security personnel in Arakan State over recent weeks. The Myanmar military has also arrested some residents of Kyauktaw, Ponnagyun and Sittwe on suspicion of having ties to the Arakan Army, charging some detainees with various counts.[4]

Myanmar junta naval fleet attacked by PDFs in Katha, Sagaing

On the other hand, the violence in the country is rising from both sides. For instance, on 18 August that a Myanmar army fleet sailing upstream from Sagaing Region to Kachin State was attacked by missiles, according to Katha PDF. The attack was led by the All Burmese Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF) and was carried out by local coalition forces of the Katha Township PDF and other local defence forces.[5] While, the Myanmar military burned down 28,434 houses in 645 locations since last year’s coup, with Sagaing Region suffering the heaviest damage, according to the ‘Data For Myanmar’. They have also committed arson attacks in 11 states and regions, with Sagaing and Magwe regions and Chin State bearing the heaviest brunt against civilians. The research is based on reports from the media, rights groups and refugee organisations. However, there are chances that the actual number of houses burned down may be higher than the reported figures.[6]

There are also reports that the military has been restricting the transport of humanitarian assistance. The internally displaced people (IDPs) are receiving much fewer relief supplies from donors, with food prices soaring and unemployment also rising. For instance, since three months the regime’s Arakan State Disaster Management Department has not supplied rice to a few IDP camps. On 20 August, the police stopped the Sittwe-based Metta Yaungchi philanthropic foundation from collecting donations to provide emergency supplies to people displaced.[7]

The military is also expanding the use of facial recognition technology to increase its public surveillance capabilities. The cameras are sourced from Chinese tech conglomerates – Huawei, Dahua and Hikvision. The cameras are equipped with artificial intelligence technology that scans faces and vehicle license plates and alerts the authorities regarding those on wanted lists. The expansion of surveillance has raised fresh concerns about the safety of activists and resistance groups in Myanmar. In March 2022, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report warning serious threat to human rights with regard to Myanmar’s use of Chinese-made facial recognition systems. Earlier, in 2020, Myanmar launched a security initiative, a “safe city” in Naypyidaw, even before the military took power in a coup.[8]

The military also gave orders to form “public security forces” on 10 August, during the meeting between Min Aung Hlaing, Vice Chair Soe Win and several chief ministers. Currently, the orders are to form such units in the Rakhine State. Following this, there were records of meetings conducted by local administrators issuing directives to every village or ward to form a seven-member security team. Since March, the military has been forming public security forces across the country.[9] Whereas, the parallel National Unity Government (NUG) offered cash rewards to soldiers who would defect with anti-aircraft weapons. The price of a Chinese-manufactured FN-6 portable air defence system missile was estimated at USD 75,000-90,000 on the international weapons market in 2019. Earlier, the NUG also offered huge monetary incentives to regime soldiers who desert the military in order to encourage more defections.[10]

Economic Situation

On 27 August, the value of the Myanmar Kyat (MMK) to the US Dollar (USD) hit a record low at 3,400 MMK/USD1. The change in the monetary regulation, the printing of money in Myanmar and the dwindling supply of foreign currency cannot keep up with the demand. On 05 August, the military changed the kyat to the dollar exchange rate from 1,850 to 2,100 and instructed traders to change 65 per cent of their export earnings into kyats. Further, on 26 August, the US Federal Reserve stated that it will raise the interest rates, which could mean that the exchange rates could go as high as 5,000 MMK. On 27 August, the major gold market players were summoned to meet with authorities tasked with monitoring gold and currency prices.[11]

Even the merchants who trade goods across the border with China stated their miseries as they are no longer able to stay in business due to the depreciating value of kyats. The traders reported that the yuan was valued at around 420 kyats. The declining value of the kyat is making Chinese goods too expensive to acquire, and many traders say they are now facing losses. Khun Thein Maung, the Shan State economic minister, told RFA that he is having talks with Chinese and Myanmar district-level officials regarding the exchange rate at the border and other trade issues.

On 17 August, during a press conference, the military spokesman Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun stated that the Central Bank’s financial policies aim to address the issue of high commodity prices and economic development. He also added that traders failed to keep up with the military council’s changing systems and its monetary policy to help economic growth.[12] The price of basic commodities has increased, such as the price of rice went to 3,900 kyats per viss, almost a rise of 44% from before the takeover. The loss of currency value has also pushed the prices for imports. For instance, the price of Palm oil has jumped to 9,500 kyats per viss (equivalent to 1.6 Kg) at the wholesale level, more than triple what it was before the takeover. Further, from January 2021 to early August 2022, cooking oil prices rose 3.2 times and prices for household goods such as mosquito coils and candles jumped 2.4 times and toiletries 2.2 times. [13]

Amid serious fuel shortages, the military regime formed a committee to import fuel from Russia. The committee will be led by former Lieutenant General Nyo Saw, chairman of the military-owned conglomerate Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC), and will look into the purchase, storage and distribution of Russian fuel to the domestic market.

The regime also plans to ban Facebook and replace it with a homegrown social media platform. Since 2018, Facebook has barred Min Aung Hlaing and also took down the official page of the Myanmar military. Following the coup, the accounts of senior military leaders have also been taken down. Military-owned businesses were also barred from advertising on Facebook. As a response, the Myanmar military shut off the internet and cut access to major social media sites including Facebook. It also amended the Cyber-security Law to include a punishment of three years in prison for using a virtual private network (VPN) to access the internet. Moreover, the regime checks phones for VPNs or any content deemed to be anti-military. [14]

International Relations

On 17-18 August, Ms Noeleen Heyzer, Special Envoy of the United Nations on Myanmar visited the country and met Chairman of the State Administration Council (SAC) Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. The visit aimed to make a request to the leaders to halt the aerial bombing and to stop burning the villages and houses of the people. However, Min Hlaing dismissed the allegations and clarified that the military targeted the location of the insurgents only, who attack security forces and countered them.[15]

However, Myanmar’s shadow NUG and more than 850 civil society groups called on the United Nations to remove its appointed envoy to the country after her visit last week. The opponents warned that it risked giving legitimacy to the regime. Soon after the visit, the military resumed setting fire to homes and conducting airstrikes and shelling attacks on civilian targets. The groups also urged the UN to transfer the Myanmar case from the Security Council to the International Criminal Court and called for the formation of a special tribunal to carry out an investigation of the situation in the country.[16]

The month also witnessed the conduct of ASEAN’s 55th Foreign Minister Meeting in Phnom Penh from 31 July to 06 August. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen raised concerns about the worsening situation in Myanmar with the military failing to adhere to the Five Point Consensus and the 25 July execution of four democracy activists. Nevertheless, Cambodia, as the chair of ASEAN, assured its continuous willingness to continue to work and find a solution acceptable to all parties.[17] Furthermore, at the ASEAN’s 55th anniversary, Amnesty International urged the regional bloc to acknowledge the failure of its five-point plan and increasing human rights violations in Myanmar. Amnesty International’s Indonesia office was joined by a number of Indonesian civil society groups as the message was projected onto the organisation’s Jakarta HQ.[18]

However, Myanmar’s foreign ministry issued a statement objecting to a reference in the ASEAN joint statement about the “lack of progress” in implementing the 5PC because “it neglects Myanmar’s efforts on its implementation.” They also justified the recent executions by stating that the four were “found guilty of masterminding, inciting, supporting, arming and committing terrorist activities which caused tremendous loss of innocent lives.”[19]

On the sidelines of ASEAN-related foreign ministerial meetings, Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi met the Cambodian Prime Minister and stated that Japan will support efforts by the ASEAN nations to improve the situation in Myanmar. In response, Hun Sen stated that Cambodia will work together with Japan to break the deadlock in Myanmar.[20]

The month also saw the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Myanmar. Russia backs the Myanmar military’s efforts to ‘stabilise’ the crisis-ridden country, foreign minister Lavrov said during talks. The Russian foreign minister also met the foreign ministers of the ASEANin Cambodia.[21] The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also attended the foreign ministers’ meeting of the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh.[22] Blinken urged the international community to reject the Myanmar military’s “sham elections” planned for 2023.[23]

The Myanmar military was invited to the four-day Tri-Service Asian Defence and Security Exhibition, Conference and Networking Event (Defense & Security 2022) in Bangkok. The event is supported by Thailand’s Ministry of Defence. Countries such as Australia, the Czech Republic, Canada, Japan, France, Spain, Germany, Poland, and South Korea also participated. The US has a “partnership pavilion” at the event. Justice for Myanmar (JFM), reported that the event was organised by a joint venture of the London Stock Exchange-listed company Informa Plc and thereby demanded that Informa ban the Myanmar military from all of its events. Earlier in 2019, Myanmar leader Min Aung Hlaing personally attended the event.[24]

During the month, the Myanmar military detained a Japanese video journalist Toru Kubota while covering a protest against military rule inYangon. He has been charged under section 505 (a) and under immigration law. Japan’s foreign ministry immediately released a statement appealing to the Myanmar authorities for the early release of the Japanese man. Last year as well a Japanese freelance journalist was freed in Myanmar after being arrested. The release was in recognition of the close relations between the two countries.[25]

Amnesty International in its report ’15 Days Felt like 15 Years’ reported how the prison authorities and interrogation centres subjected detained individuals to torture and other cruel or degrading treatment. The organisation conducted 15 interviews in March 2022 with former detainees, lawyers of prisoners and experts, and also reviewed over 100 news reports and briefings. Since the 2021 coup, Myanmar’s military has arrested more than 14,500 people and killed more than 2,000, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP). The report also suggested that the United Nations Security Council must increase the pressure on the Myanmar military and further refer its case to International Criminal Court.[26]

During the month, Justice for Myanmar (JFM), called on Singapore to take action against 116 companies based in Singapore who have brokered the supply of weapons and other equipment worth many millions of US dollars to around 78 Myanmar-based companies. JFM called on Singapore to impose immediate sanctions to ban the use of its territory, including its banks and ports, for the supply of arms and equipment to the Myanmar military.[27] Even the Western nations have imposed sanctions on Myanmar’s top generals and arms brokers; however, they have left the most lucrative of those companies, the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise. Projections by the World Bank and Norway’s international aid agency Norad before the coup, using Myanmar government data, pegged annual oil and gas revenues at some USD 1.5 billion. It is said those revenues accounted for about a tenth of the government’s total income. However, a few energy companies have started their exits, such as US energy giant Chevron and Total Energies of France. However, a lot is still out of the purview[28]

On the one hand, the UK announced the imposition of more sanctions on Myanmar and also stated its willingness to join the case against Myanmar in the International Court of Justice. On the other hand, the Myanmar military detained the UK’s former ambassador to the country. Vicky Bowman, who runs the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB), and her artist husband Htein Lin were detained in Insein prison. Bowman was the British ambassador to Myanmar from 2002-2006. Her husband Htein Lin was also a veteran activist who spent almost six years in prison for opposing an earlier junta. She urged him to let her take the paintings for his own security.[29]

In Australia, the struggle has begun to recognise Myanmar’s democratically elected national unity government (NUG). A shadow embassy has been set up in Yarralumla with the NUG’s representative, Dr Tun-Aung Shwe. The Labour MP Peter Khalil, Greens senator Jordon Steele-John and new independent MP Zoe Daniel joined officials at the opening. The Burmese diaspora in Australia donated huge amounts to the embassy, as well as rent and office furniture.[30]

During the month, a bomb attack took place in Muse town, a Myanmar-China border town, along with a spate of shootings. However, no group has so far claimed the attacks. Muse is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which involves a proposed USD 8.9 billion high-speed rail link from China’s Yunnan province to Myanmar’s west coast. But the same region is also inflicted with problems of drugs and arms trade and EAOs.[31] Furthermore, many Chinese-speaking people were being kidnapped from Thailand to Myanmar for scam activities. Many victims are kept in Myawaddy, Karen State, which is controlled by the Karen Border Guard Force (BGF) affiliated with the Myanmar military. [1] In the turn of dismal situations, Myanmar’s ambassador to China, Ambassador U Myo Thant Pe, died on 07 August, according to diplomatic sources. He was appointed ambassador to China in late 2019 and continued to serve even after the coup.[32]

Across Indian borders, the Assam Police arrested three persons and drugs worth of Rs 15 croreat Dillai in Karbi Anglong district. The official has reported that the drugs were smuggled from Myanmar, which shares an unfenced border with India’s northeastern states.[33] Furthermore, the Mizoram Police detained two persons and rescued nine exotic wildlife animals which are suspected to have been smuggled from Myanmar. A case has been registered under the Wild Life Protection Act. A similar incident was also reported during the month when the city police arrested two persons on the charge of smuggling elephant tusks. A case was registered against them under various sections of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.[34]

And finally, the Rohingya still await justice and protection since the attacks in northern Rakhine State on 25 August 2017. Human Rights Watch claimed that more than 730,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh, while about 600,000 remain under the oppressive rule in Myanmar.[35] Numerous organisations and countries issued statements in this regard. Meanwhile, Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected the statements issued on the anniversary of the August 2017 incidents and stated that the contents and facts in their statements lack authenticity and are based on unverifiable sources. The Ministry also accused the statement of presenting just one-sided views and interfering in the internal affairs of Myanmar.[36]

The Way Forward

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Michelle Bachelet, reported that Myanmar’s military continues to escalate operations against civilians, especially with the use of air power. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners has listed that around 2,138 civilians have been killed by the security forces and 14,917 arrested since the military takeover. Myanmar’s United Nations representative, Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, appointed during the previous NLD government National Unity Government (NUG), called on the international community for “concrete help” to fight the military. He gave certain solutions, such as suspension of all international representation of the military, cutting off the revenue streams for the military, its leader and affiliates, and stepping up efforts, especially by ASEAN. The UN High Commissioner also said that the UNSC will act swiftly with all possible measures by adhering to the principle of R2P. He also proposed immediate recognition of the NUG as a legitimate partner.[37] To conclude, it is important to have all the stakeholders on board to bring out a resolution to the current crisis in Myanmar.

Endnotes :

[1] https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-junta-extends-state-of-emergency.html
[2] https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-junta-imposes-new-restrictions-on-political-parties.html
[3] https://elevenmyanmar.com/news/sac-chairman-holds-second-peace-talks-with-ethnic-peace-delegation-in-npt
[4]https://www.bnionline.net/en/news/myanmar-military-charges-eight-mrauk-u-men-incitement
[4] https://www.mizzima.com/article/myanmar-junta-naval-fleet-attacked-pdfs-katha-sagaing
[5] https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/over-28000-homes-torched-by-myanmar-junta-forces-since-coup.html
[6]https://www.bnionline.net/en/news/idps-arakan-state-call-regime-lift-restrictions-aid-delivery
[7] https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/myanmar-s-junta-using-chinese-face-recognition-tech-to-eliminate-opponents-122080300096_1.html
[8] https://www.myanmar-now.org/en/news/junta-orders-formation-of-militia-in-southern-rakhine-state
[9]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/nug-offers-rewards-for-myanmar-regime-defectors-with-anti-aircraft-weapons.html
[10]https://www.thaipbsworld.com/myanmar-kyat-exchange-rate-reaches-record-low/
[11]https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/currency_woes-08232022174208.html
[12]https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Myanmar-Crisis/Myanmar-inflation-crushing-consumers-since-military-takeover
[13]https://www.irrawaddy.com/specials/junta-watch/junta-watch-plans-for-facebook-substitute-unveiled-military-admits-coup-and-more.html
[14]https://elevenmyanmar.com/news/sac-chair-denies-military-burning-civilian-homes
[15]https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/heat-08232022184518.html
[16]https://asianews.network/asean-five-point-consensus-achieves-little-in-myanmar-hun-sen/
[17]https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/08/myanmar-asean-approach-requires-a-reboot-to-end-horrific-crimes-by-the-myanmar-military/
[18]https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/asean-special-envoy-myanmar-warns-executions-88026237
[19]https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/08/06/national/politics-diplomacy/yoshimasa-hayashi-hun-sen-myanmar/
[20]https://nenow.in/neighbour/myanmar/russian-foreign-minister-sergei-lavrov-myanmar-backs-junta.html
[21] https://morungexpress.com/stopping-myanmar-violence-tops-meeting-of-asian-diplomats
[22]https://www.mizzima.com/article/us-urges-rejection-myanmar-junta-sham-elections
[23]https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/international/india-running-out-of-options-in-myanmar-as-a-civil-war-rages-and-china-backs-the-junta
[24]Law 505 (a) criminalises encouraging dissent against the military and carries a maximum three-year jail term. Kubota is the fifth foreign journalist to be detained, after US citizens Nathan Maung and Danny Fenster, who worked for local publications, and freelancers Robert Bociaga of Poland and Yuki Kitazumi of Japan, all of whom were eventually expelled. https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/japanese-video-journalist-detained-myanmar-protest-march-87702713
[25]https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/08/myanmar-detainees-tortured-to-crush-opposition-to-coup/
[26]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/singapore-told-to-clampdown-on-companies-supplying-myanmar-military.html
[27]https://www.voanews.com/a/myanmar-s-sanctions-hit-junta-still-netting-vast-oil-gas-profits/6697189.html
[28]https://www.telegraphindia.com/world/myanmar-arrests-former-united-kingdom-ambassador-reports/cid/1882382
[29]https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/aug/07/myanmar-shadow-embassy-opens-in-canberra-to-champion-aung-san-suu-kyis-ousted-government
[30]https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/3187518/myanmar-china-border-town-hit-bomb-blast-and-shootings?module=perpetual_scroll_0&pgtype=article&campaign=3187518
[31]https://thediplomat.com/2022/08/as-myanmar-coup-intensifies-regional-human-trafficking-how-will-china-respond/
[32]https://www.channelnewsasia.com/asia/myanmar-ambassador-china-died-sunday-sources-2866271
[33]https://www.mangalorean.com/drugs-smuggled-from-myanmar-seized-in-assam-3-held/
[34]https://www.timesnownews.com/mirror-now/crime/mizoram-2-held-for-smuggling-exotic-animals-from-myanmar-article-93785667
[35]https://www.hrw.org/video-photos/video/2022/08/23/myanmar-no-justice-no-freedom-rohingya-5-years
[36]https://elevenmyanmar.com/news/myanmar-strongly-condemns-and-rejects-statements-issued-on-the-anniversary-of-august-2017
[37] https://www.bnionline.net/en/news/myanmars-un-rep-calls-resistance-aid-fight-junta

Myanmar Round-Up: July 2022

On 25 July, the military carried out executions of four political prisoners, making it the country’s first use of capital punishment in decades. This led to widespread condemnation both domestically and internationally. The fighting continues within the country in major regions, and investigations by Amnesty International and BBC highlight the continuing crisis prevailing in the country. Internationally, the ASEAN Special Envoy, Prak Sokhonn’s visit marked significant development along with the visit of Chinese Ambassador Wang Yi, for the first time since the coup. Relations with India faced a new challenge with the killing of two of Indian origin people in Myanmar’s Tamu region.

Domestic and Political Situation

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Chairman of the State Administration Council (SAC) said at the Union Government Meeting that political situations have arisen due to improper use of political outlets. He stated the five-point roadmap and nine objectives to implement a multiparty democratic system and to build a Union based on democracy and federalism.[1]

In addition, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) the proxy party of Myanmar’s military convened its annual central committee meeting in Naypyitaw. There was heightened security as there have been attacks on the party leaders. According to a May 24 article by a pro-junta media outlet, more than 1,600 individuals affiliated with the USDP, including party members and supporters have been killed by anti-junta guerrilla groups since last year.[2]

The month witnessed the execution of the National League for Democracy (NLD) lawmaker Ko Phyo Zeya Thaw, pro-democracy veteran Kyaw Min Yu, widely known as ‘Ko Jimmy’, Ko Hla Myo Aung and Ko Aung Thura Zaw, which led to widespread condemnation.[3] As a reaction, the opposing forces vowed to eradicate the military and bring justice for the execution of four activists. The Karen National Union, Karenni National Progressive Party, Chin National Front and All Burma Students’ Democratic Front released a statement with the National Unity Government (NUG).

They condemned the executions as acts of terrorism and vowed to fight the fascist dictatorship by all means in the people’s revolution. The Kachin Political Interim Coordination Team also condemned the executions. However, the United Wa State Party, the New Mon State Party, the Restoration Council of Shan State and the Shan State Progressive Party remained silent. Several people’s defence forces conducted revenge attacks on regime forces and informants, which killed about 20 junta personnel.[4]

The military also increased its attacks, especially via airstrikes. For instance, the military carried out airstrikes on an AA outpost in the territory of the Karen National Liberation Army’s Brigade 5 killing six members of the Arakan Army. In reaction, the AA has vowed retaliation for the attack.[5] In a show of its valour and defence capabilities, the Myanmar Navy conducted a naval exercise, Sea Shield -2022, on 06 July, in the seas off Rakhine State. The training included the participation of naval ships, including two submarines and helicopters.[6]

In addition, the month marked an increase in arrests and detentions by the Myanmar military under The Myanmar Police Act. Especially in the Arakan State, the military arrested many residents.[7] Furthermore, the military also transferred a number of political prisoners to different sites for undefined reasons. More than 30 other political prisoners in the Mon State detention centre were relocated to Thayawady, where the living conditions are worse. Such a trend was also practiced by prison authorities before the coup.[8]

The month also recorded an increase in landmines explosions. Within the two months, at least seven landmines exploded in six Rakhine townships and Paletwa township of Chin State.[9] Amnesty International investigated the indiscriminate use of antipersonnel landmines in villages in Kayah (Karenni) State. From 25 June to 08 July, Amnesty International researchers interviewed 43 people in Kayah State as the state has been at the centre of fighting between the military and Karenni armed groups since May 2021. The Karenni Human Rights Group (KnHRG) also documented at least 20 civilians killed or seriously injured by landmines in Kayah State since June 2021.[10]

As the military is losing its legitimacy, there has been a decrease in the number of people joining the military institutes. Therefore, the military has decreased its age limit to increase the number of recruiters. Previously, applicants to the military’s Defense Services Academy, Defense Services Technological Academy and Defense Services Medical Academy could not be older than 18. But the regime recently announced in newspapers that it had loosened the age limit to 18 years and six months.[11]

On the other hand, the biggest challenge that anti-military armed groups face is the lack of funds and weaponries. The NUG’s acting President Duwa Lashi asked the international community to provide weaponry, technological assistance and financial aid to the revolution. Further, U Htin Linn Aung, the NUG’s Minister of Communications, Information and Technology during a press conference on 22 June stated that the resistance groups not allied with the NUG typically don’t receive any funds directly from the NUG to support their activities. Certain groups have distanced themselves from the National Unity Government. For instance, the Anti-Dictatorship People’s Revolutionary Army formed in April 2021 mostly operating in the Sagaing Region has distanced itself from the NUG. Another such group is the Bamar People’s Liberation Army.[12]

Economic Situation

Fitch Solutions, in its latest Myanmar Outlook, projected a shrink of 5.5 per cent in the current financial year, which ends in September 2022. The negative growth projection is due to the ongoing post-coup conflict and compounded impact of high global commodity prices, and it forecasts no immediate end to the country’s economic travails. The group said that it predicted real GDP growth would return to positive growth of 2.5 per cent in FY2023, as global commodity prices and inflation begin to ease, “reducing some of the pressure on real household disposable income.” But given the low statistical base, it described this projected recovery as “meagre.” [13] Many real estate development projects in the country also stand incomplete because of the post-coup conflicts.[14]

Myanmar’s central bank ordered companies with up to 35 per cent foreign ownership to convert foreign exchange into the local currency, extending a rule aimed at relieving pressure on the kyat to include more businesses.[15] The new restrictions on US dollars have come as a blow to businesses already struggling in an economic recession. The new restrictions saw the bank revoking the exemption from mandatory currency conversion given to companies with a minimum of 10 per cent foreign ownership.

Further, according to Bloomberg, companies in Myanmar have at least USD 1.2 billion in outstanding dollar-denominated loans. Business owners said the CBM’s capricious directives are making it difficult for them to continue their business operations. The exchange rate was further hit by more than 2,400 kyats per dollar. Many foreign firms have stalled their operations in Myanmar since the coup amid international pressure. And it is predicted that many more firms will likely be forced to leave Myanmar because they are no longer commercially viable in the current business environment. [16]

International Responses

The military executions led to widespread international condemnation. A joint statement from the European Union, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Britain and the United States called the killings “reprehensible acts of violence that further exemplify the regime’s disregard for human rights and the rule of law”. The United Nations also condemned the executions, with human rights chief Michelle Bachelet calling them “cruel and regressive”.

The United States State Department spokesperson Ned Price urged China to do more to rein in Myanmar’s military after its execution of four people. US secretary of state Antony Blinken, who met activists from Myanmar in Bangkok in July, also raised voice saying that the killings would not hinder the country’s democracy movement. The remarks came after China, a longtime ally of Myanmar’s military, refused to comment on the executions.[17] However, in response, China pushed back efforts to intervene in Myanmar, saying Beijing adheres to a “policy of non-interference.”[18]

Earlier during the month, on 02 July, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Myanmar for the first time since the military seized power. He attended the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation group meeting with his counterparts from Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The grouping is a Chinese-led initiative that includes the countries of the Mekong Delta. The region is crucial as an increasing number of hydroelectric projects are altering the flow and raising concerns of ecological damage. China has built 10 dams along the upper stretch of the Mekong, the part it calls the Lancang. The meeting was held under the theme “Solidarity for Peace and Prosperity” in the central city of Bagan, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Military government spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun announced that the attendance of the foreign ministers at the meeting was a recognition of Myanmar’s sovereignty and its government. However, the foreign minister of Myanmar’s NUG, protested against the Bagan meeting, saying any such efforts in partnership with Myanmar’s military violate the will of the people as well as is in direct opposition to a peace plan by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).[19]

During the month, Senior-General Min Aung Liang met Lieutenant General Apichet Suesat of the Royal Thai Army in Myanmar where the two discussed the issues of border stability. The Thai delegation was in the country to attend the 34th meeting of the Thailand-Myanmar Regional Border Committee in the Shan State, and later he was invited to meet Min Aung Hlaing in Naypyitaw. However, the subsequent day a MiG-29 from the Myanmar Air Force intruded into Thai airspace while attacking Karen EAOs on the border. In response, the Royal Thai Air Force responded by initiating two F-16 fighter jets to patrol the border district. Later, Myanmar’s Air Force Chief, General Htun Aung, apologised to his Thai counterpart.[20]

Australia received criticism from human rights organisations, such as Justice for Myanmar. The organisation revealed Australia’s embassy expenditure of more than USD 750,000 at a Lotte hotel in Yangon which has links with the country’s military. The Lotte Hotel is built on land owned by Myanmar’s Defence Ministry Quartermaster-General Office, which has been sanctioned by the US, UK and Canada. Further, the activists say Australian taxpayer dollars should not be spent at the hotel, which is built on land owned and leased by the country’s military. Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) released invoices under Freedom of Information disclosures to activist group Justice for Myanmar. Lotte investors pay USD 1.87 million annually in rent, which goes to the Ministry of Defence.[21]

During the month, a BBC investigation was published, which recorded confessions of members of the armed forces. The investigation reveals narratives of defecting soldiers. It also recorded crimes against women. The BBC spoke to some of the women who were attacked, and they attest to the violence they suffered. The investigation also points out the new alliances formed since the military seized power. Members of minority ethnic groups, including in Shan and Rakhine states, ally with and train the PDF in its battle with the military. However, the military denied the BBC report and declared that they didn’t attack the civilian population, and rather fought the “terrorists”.[22]

Fortify Rights and the Schell Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School also published a detailed report on the first six months of military rule. The report argues that those acts amount to crimes against humanity. Meanwhile, the atrocities continue. More than 100 children have been killed by the military. And, more than 1.1 million people have been displaced in the country, according to the UN’s latest humanitarian assessment, including nearly 760,000 since February 2021.

ASEAN and Myanmar

The Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair on Myanmar, Prak Sokhonn, visited Myanmar from 30 June to 02 July. This was his second visit to the country, and he met SAC chairman Senior General Min Aung Hlaing to discuss Myanmar’s progress in implementing the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus. Sokhonn also met with Uko Ko Hlaing, the SAC-appointed Minister for International Cooperation and chairman of the Myanmar Task Force on ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance. The Myanmar Task Force on ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance welcomed Cambodia’s willingness to dispatch vaccination teams to administer Covid-19 vaccines to its population. However, he was denied meeting with former civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi due to unspecified “judicial procedures”.[23]

Sokhonn also welcomed the State Administration Council (SAC) declaration of Myanmar’s Year for Peace in 2022. After this meeting, Sokhonn had another talk with the representatives of seven ethnic armed organisations, which have signed the NCA with the SAC. They exchanged views on the political situation in Myanmar. Sokhonn also met with the foreign diplomats from France, the US, the EU and Australia to exchange views on the progress of 5PC, including the provision of humanitarian assistance to the people of Myanmar.[24] Furthermore, in Bagan, the Chinese foreign minister met Sokhonn and expressed his support to help encourage the process of democratisation in Myanmar.

However, ASEAN also took strong steps to ensure the military takes course to the five-point consensus. For the second time, the Myanmar military Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin was barred from attending ASEAN-related meetings in Cambodia because there has been little progress on a “Five-Point Consensus (5PC)”. Earlier this year, Wunna Maung Lwin was barred from attending the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat (AMM Retreat) held in February. Cambodia hosted the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM), ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC), 12th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (12th EAS FMM), 29th ASEAN Regional Forum (29th ARF) and related meetings from 31 July to 06 August in Phnom Penh.

Though the invitation was sent and they had asked the military to send a “non-political representative” instead. However, on the first day of the series of meetings, Skhonn called Sen Gen Aung Hlaing in Naypyidaw, where the two sides exchanged views on situational updates and challenges in implementing some key documents.[25] Moreover, the ASEAN leaders strongly reacted to the military executions. ASEAN chair Cambodia has called the timing of the Myanmar junta’s execution of four activists “highly reprehensible” and said it had presented a gross lack of will to support the bloc’s peace efforts in the country.[26]

India-Myanmar Relations

In a shocking incident, two Indian citizens were shot dead in the Tamu area of Myanmar, bordering Manipur. They were identified as P Mohan and M Iyarnar. [27] According to reports, the members of the pro-military Pyu Saw Htee militia shot them. Due to the incident, protests arouse in India demanding the return of bodies. The protestors further attacked the border checkpoint. One of the mobs from Manipur entered Myanmar and torched a small army sentry post.

As a result, security was heightened, and the authorities in India’s Manipur State temporarily closed the Indo-Myanmar border. Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh demanded the return of the bodies on humanitarian grounds and stated that no innocent Indians should be killed in Myanmar.[28] The Myanmar military has also tightened security checks on locals and travellers.

Furthermore, Assam Rifles apprehended two cadres of a Myanmar-based Maraland Defence Force (MDF) with ammunition in south Mizoram’s Siaha district near the Myanmar border. Earlier on 06 July, Assam Rifles in a joint operation with state police had apprehended a top leader of the outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) in Aizawl.[29]

Economically, the Indian Government has announced an increase in import of Tur and Urad pulses from Myanmar, Malawi and Mozambique. In a bid to ease the supply side pressure amid rising inflation, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry issued a notification stating that India will import 2,50,000 MT of Urad and 1,00,000 MT of Tur of Myanmar origin through private trade over the next five financial years (2021-22 to 2025-26).[30]

Conclusion

According to data compiled by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, around 12,000 people have been imprisoned, and more than 1,200 had been convicted and sentenced. The four executions have created outrage in the country, and the resistance forces have vowed to overthrow the military. The military on the other hand aimed to increase its presence and control law and order situation via force. This has resulted in human rights violations, as reported by various organisations. It is important that the world countries stand in support of the people and address their concerns of the people with the involvement of all stakeholders.

Endnotes :

[1]https://elevenmyanmar.com/news/political-situations-have-arisen-due-to-improper-use-of-political-outlets-sacs-chairman
[2]https://www.myanmar-now.org/en/news/myanmar-militarys-proxy-party-convenes-central-assembly
[3]https://www.vifindia.org/article/2022/july/28/what-lies-ahead-of-the-military-executions-in-myanmar
[4]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-anti-regime-resistance-vows-to-step-up-attacks-after-executions.html
[5]https://www.bnionline.net/en/news/vox-pop-reactions-arakan-state-deadly-junta-air-raid-aa-camp-near-thai-myanmar-border
[6]https://www.thestar.com.my/aseanplus/aseanplus-news/2022/07/06/myanmar-conducts-naval-exercise-off-rakhine-coast
[7]bnionline.net/en/news/juntas-imprisonment-two-sittwe-men-under-controversial-law-draws-criticism
[8]https://www.myanmar-now.org/en/news/myanmar-army-soldiers-defect-to-knu-to-side-with-anti-coup-protesters
[9]https://www.narinjara.com/news/detail/62bf0bc621f2d423422dc77c
[10]The organisation interviewed landmine survivors and other witnesses, as well as health professionals who treated landmine injuries and people who had discovered and deactivated landmines in villages. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/07/myanmar-militarys-use-of-banned-landmines-in-kayah-state-amounts-to-war-crimes/
[11]https://www.irrawaddy.com/specials/junta-watch/junta-watch-military-bends-rules-to-fill-ranks-loyal-monk-promoted-and-more.html
[12]https://www.frontiermyanmar.net/en/the-pdfs-marching-to-their-own-tune/
[13]https://thediplomat.com/2022/07/military-ruled-myanmar-facing-second-year-of-negative-growth/
[14]https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Myanmar-Crisis/Myanmar-building-projects-worth-1.3bn-frozen-since-army-took-power
[15]https://www.channelnewsasia.com/world/yellen-vows-tough-us-measures-against-countries-abusing-economic-order-2820026
[16]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/regimes-foreign-currency-restrictions-push-myanmar-towards-bankruptcy.html
[17]https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jul/26/myanmar-executions-us-presses-china-to-rein-in-junta-saying-it-cannot-be-business-as-usual
[18]https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/china-says-no-interference-in-myanmar/2646205
[19]https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/7/3/chinas-top-diplomat-arrives-in-myanmar-on-first-trip-since-coup
[20]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-regime-sorry-for-junta-jet-intrusion-into-thai-airspace.html
[21]https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-07-21/australian-embassy-myanmar-foi-spending-hotel-linked-to-military/101247374
[22]https://www.eurasiareview.com/27072022-myanmar-regimes-brutality-began-long-before-the-coup-analysis/
[23]https://asianews.network/myanmars-sac-refuses-to-allow-sokhonn-to-meet-aung-san-suu-kyi/
[24]https://www.khmertimeskh.com/501108353/asean-chairs-special-envoy-welcomes-myanmars-year-for-peace-in-2022/
[25]https://www.khmertimeskh.com/501107914/barred-again-myanmar-junta-fm-not-allowed-to-attend-upcoming-asean-meetings/
[26]https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/asean-chair-calls-timing-myanmar-executions-highly-reprehensible-2022-07-26/
[27]https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/two-indians-shot-dead-in-myanmar-near-border-report-101657056012723.html
[28]https://www.telegraphindia.com/north-east/protest-over-indian-youths-death-in-myanmar/cid/1873479

Manipur : Security Tightened In Moreh; After Mob Torches ‘Myanmar Army Sentry Post’ Over Killing Of 2 Tamils 


[29]https://nenow.in/north-east-news/mizoram/mizoram-mdf-rebels-held-siaha-myanmar.html
[30]https://www.zeebiz.com/india/news-india-signs-mous-with-myanmar-other-countries-to-increase-pulses-import-190121

VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: March 31, 2022

Afghanistan
Central Bank Holds Street Demonstration to Free Foreign Assets: Tolo News

The Central Bank held an exhibit on a street in Kabul city displaying photos and banners to encourage the international community and particularly the US to release the Afghan assets that remain in the US banks. Click here to read…

China, US, Russia, Pakistan to Hold Talks on Afghanistan: Tolo News

A top US diplomat will meet this week in China to discuss issues in Afghanistan with his Chinese, Russian and Pakistani counterparts, the Chinese foreign ministry and the State Department said on Tuesday. Click here to read…

Prosperous Afghanistan is in interest of regional countries, international community: President Xi: The Khaama Press

China’s President Xi Jinping said a prosperous, peaceful, and stable Afghanistan is not only a hope of the Afghanistan people but also in the interest of the countries in the region and the world community. Click here to read…

Bangladesh
Indo-Bangla ties vital for South Asia’s stability- The Daily Star

Constructive Bangladesh-India ties could be a major stabilising factor for South Asia, said State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, insisting on resolving the irritants and harnessing the potentials of the two countries. Click here to read…

UNGA vote on Russia: Dhaka stood for humanity- The Daily Star

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said Bangladesh abstained from voting on the UN General Assembly resolution reprimanding Russia for invading Ukraine as it was against a particular country. Click here to read…

Malaysia’s role in Rohingya issue lauded- The Daily Star

Malaysia’s strong support to Bangladesh in the Rohingya crisis was lauded at a webinar that focused on shared heritage and good relations between the two countries. Click here to read…

Misuse of law stifles press freedom- The Daily Star

The country’s newspapers have made significant contribution to the Liberation War struggle, creating a nation as well as establishing democracy, said speakers yesterday. Click here to read…

Border deaths a major stain on bilateral engagement with India: Shahriar- The Daily Star

The death toll of Bangladeshis on the border has become a major stain on bilateral engagement with India, along with the thorny water-sharing issue of transboundary 54 rivers, said State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam today. Click here to read…

PM enjoys concert while public struggle to buy food: BNP- The Daily Star

BNP today slammed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for joining a gala concert that was organised by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) spending crores of taka, while they claimed that common people are struggling to cope with skyrocketing prices of daily essentials. Click here to read…

The biggest joy: PM breaks down in tears in parliament- The Daily Star

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today broke down in tears in the parliament while stating that providing land and houses from the government to the destitute in Bangladesh has been one of the biggest joys of her life. Click here to read…

Bangladesh Embassy gives reception to diplomats in Egypt marking Independence Day- The Daily Star

On the occasion of the Independence Day and National Day of Bangladesh, the Embassy of Bangladesh hosted a reception and dinner in honour of foreign diplomats in Egypt. Click here to read…

Bhutan
Foreign Ministers of Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal meet Sri Lankan President: Colombo Page

The Foreign Ministers of Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal who are in Sri Lanka to attend the BIMSTEC Summit called on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the President’s House in Colombo this afternoon (30). Click here to read…

Maldives
MMPRC launches campaigns to market Maldives in Southeast Asia: Raajje Mv

Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) have launched campaigns to promote Maldives in the Southeast Asian market. Click here to read…

Myanmar
Response to Ukraine underscores foot-dragging on Myanmar crisis- Frontier Myanmar

But in Myanmar, where the military seized power in a coup more than one year ago, the expressions of support for the Ukrainian people are all the more moving because of the terrifying risks implicit in the very act of gathering – being shot by soldiers or police officers, or arbitrary arrest, torture and death in custodyClick here to read…

Response plan launched to support 1.4 million Rohingya and Bangladeshis – UN News

“Humanitarian agencies are seeking more than $881 million to support approximately 1.4 million people, including over 918,000 Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char, and around 540,000 Bangladeshis in neighbouring communities,” UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch told journalists during a press briefing in Geneva. Click here to read…

Myanmar’s rebellion, divided, outgunned and outnumbered, fights on – Washington Post

Nearly seven months after Myanmar’s parallel government declared a “people’s defensive war” against the military junta, pro-democracy rebels are hanging on — not winning, but not losing either — using explosives, black market weapons and widespread popular support to keep junta soldiers out of key territories. Click here to read…

Misreading the room: Why Hun Sen is failing on Myanmar – Aljazeera

When Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen became the first head of state to visit Myanmar since the military seized power in a coup last year, he seemed to think he would be able to bring the generals back into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) despite the country’s worsening humanitarian crisis. Click here to read…

Damning report exposes atrocities committed by junta forces in Myanmar – People’s Dispatch

The 193-page report accuses army chief General Min Aung Hlaing of creating a special command that deployed snipers to kill unarmed protesters. It also identifies 61 military and police officials from the junta forces who it recommends must be investigated for committing crimes against humanity Click here to read…

Nepal
Nepal PM Deuba’s visit to India: How New Delhi can drive Kathmandu’s policy of strategic diversify: Daiji World

Nepal PM Deuba’s visit to India: How New Delhi can drive Kathmandu’s policy of strategic diversific. Additionally, it has also been reported that Deuba and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi are likely to inaugurate the Kurtha-Jayanagar Railway Project. Click here to read…

Milestones in India-Nepal development partnership: ANI

Recent initiatives and milestones in India’s development cooperation with Nepal are likely to be highlighted during the upcoming visit of Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to India, his first official trip since his appointment as PM in July last year. Click here to read…

Pakistan
Editorial: Fait accompli: Dawn

THE prime minister is as good as gone. With the MQM’s departure, the coalition government has lost the sliver of a margin it stood on. There is at the moment not much that Prime Minister Imran Khan can do politically to prevent further desertions. The mysterious foreign letter he had hoped would rehabilitate his misfortunes seems now to have been of limited utility. Click here to read…

PM discloses contents of ‘threat letter: Dawn

The government confirmed on Wednesday that its allegation about a foreign conspiracy against the prime minister was based on a diplomatic cable received from one of the country’s missions abroad. Click here to read…

No-trust vote: Sindh nationalist parties unhappy with PPP, MQM-P pact: The Express Tribune

Hours after Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leadership reached written agreements, Sindhi nationalist parties on Wednesday expressed “serious concerns” over it. Click here to read…

China agrees to fresh rollover of $2.5bn commercial loans: The News

Out of the approximately $21 billion in outstanding official loans, including commercial, bilateral and safe deposits, China has agreed in principle for granting a fresh rollover of $2.5 billion in commercial loans to Pakistan for one year. Click here to read…

Sri Lanka
Explained: Sri Lanka economic crisis and India’s $2.5 billion line of credit: Hindustan Times

Sri Lanka economic crisis: India has lent over $2.5 billion in credit so far, in addition to $500 million for a shipment of diesel. Click here to read…

Sri Lanka: No medicines, 10-hour power cuts as economic crisis worsens: Business Standard

Ceylon Petroleum requested the public not to queue for diesel on Wednesday and Thursday after the state-run refiner failed to unload a shipment of 37,500 metric tonnes of the fuel. Click here to read…

Africa Now – Weekly Newsletter (Week 8, 2022)

Welcome to Africa Now, your weekly newsletter for Africa, presenting the most important developments in the continent – news that matters.

COMMENTARY

Israel’s Africa Conundrum: Bilateral Relations, Multilateral Opposition

In the first week of February, the annual summit of the African Union (AU) took place in Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, the headquarters of the African Union. The principal objective of the meeting was to evaluate AU’s achievements over the past one year. Click here to read…

NEWS

African leaders head to Brussels for 6th EU-AU Summit

African Heads of State and Government are expected in Belgium this week to meet their European counterparts at the 6th European Union-African Union Summit. Click here to read…

France announces military withdrawal from Mali

France and its allies in the anti-jihadi operation in Mali have announced a “coordinated withdrawal” of their forces. A joint statement cited “multiple obstructions” by the country’s ruling military junta. Click here to read…

Burkina Faso’s junta sworn in as president

Burkina Faso’s junta leader, Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba, was sworn in as president Wednesday, less than a month after mutinous soldiers seized control of the West African country in a coup. Click here to read…

Mauritius formally challenges Britain’s ownership of Chagos Islands

Britain’s ownership of the Chagos archipelago has been formally challenged after the Mauritian ambassador to the UN, Jagdish Koonjul, raised his country’s flag above the atoll of Peros Banhos. Click here to read…

Kenyan Elections Will Struggle to Meet the Moment

Kenya’s August elections will undoubtedly be among the most consequential political events in Africa in 2022. In a turbulent region, Kenya’s stability, economic muscle, and diplomatic leadership are more essential than ever before. Click here to read…

Sudan: Burhan dismisses sanctions threats, lauds ties with Israel
Sudan’s military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has made comments in which he dismissed Western threats of sanctions tied to protests in the country and discussed meetings between Sudanese and Israeli officials he said were for security cooperation, not politics. Click here to read…

Will Libya have two prime ministers again?

Libya is facing political turmoil again. On February 10, the country’s parliament, the House of Representatives, voted to sack the current Prime Minister Abdulhamed Dbeiba and appoint Fathi Bashaga, the interior minister in the previous government and main architect of the resistance against General Khalifa Haftar’s attack on Tripoli in 2019. Click here to read…

Combat troops patrol in Kinshasa after failed coup attempt

Republican Guard combat troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo marched through the streets of the capital Kinshasa on Saturday, following a failed coup and the arrest of the alleged perpetrators. Click here to read…

Ethiopia parliament votes to lift state of emergency early

Ethiopia’s parliament has voted for an early end to a six-month state of emergency, declared last November when rebel Tigrayan forces were threatening to march on the capital, Addis Ababa. Click here to read…

Guinea-Bissau: Government critics under increasing pressure

After what authorities said was a coup by drug dealers aiming to kill President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, a new spate of violence against critics of the government is compounding the feeling of insecurity in Guinea-Bissau. Click here to read…

Terror Attacks Surge as Elections Drag in Somalia

A senior African Union official said Tuesday that while al-Shabab continues to be the main security threat in Somalia, the AU is also monitoring a possible resurgence of Islamic State. Click here to read…

Does new decree mark the end of judicial independence in Tunisia?

President Kais Saied’s new decree establishing a temporary judicial authority to replace the dissolved Supreme Judicial Council continues to draw widespread criticism in Tunisia in a setback for the rule of law. Click here to read…

Nigeria: 365 Days to Presidential Election, Aspirants Begin to Emerge

Today makes it exactly a year to the 2023 presidential election and aspirants in the two main political parties – the All-Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) – as well as some other parties, are positioning for the most coveted office in the land. Click here to read…

“We were born free and we will stay free”: Somaliland is resisting pressure from China

Last week, a delegation from Somaliland went on a five-day tour of Taiwan, a trip that elicited a negative reaction from China. Click here to read…

Algeria’s fate is tied to the Ukraine crisis. Will a war extinguish hope for the country’s popular movement?

With international attention concentrated for weeks on Russian forces amassed at Ukraine’s borders, fewer resources have been spent anticipating the many second- and third-order effects that conflict between these two countries could trigger worldwide. Click here to read…

Guinea Must Put Justice At the Heart of Its Transition

The September coup was domestically popular. The junta can build on this and send a signal to the region by prioritising accountability. Click here to read…

Report finds rampant abuse of women in African parliaments

A study by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the African Parliamentary Union has found that acts of sexism, harassment, and violence against women are common in African parliaments. Click here to read…

56 African heritage sites threatened by extreme coastal events: Study

Around 56 heritage sites in Africa are vulnerable to extreme coastal events and erosion, according to a new study. They are at the risk of being damaged by these factors and the number of exposed sites may more than triple by 2050, the report added. Click here to read…

Malawi Detects Polio, First Wild Case in Africa in Over 5 Years

Malawi has declared a polio outbreak after a case was detected in a young child in the capital Lilongwe, the first case of wild poliovirus in Africa in more than five years, the WHO said. Click here to read…

EU praises vaccine cooperation with Africa at summit

Speaking on the first day of an EU-Africa summit in Brussels, the head of the European Commission said the EU will continue to focus in the short term on the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines. Click here to read…

Egypt lengthening two-way portion of Suez Canal by 10 kilometres

Egypt is working to improve the Suez Canal by making an additional 10 kilometres accessible to two-way traffic, while widening and deepening another 30 kilometresClick here to read…

Amnesty Accuses Tigray Forces of Atrocities in Ethiopia’s Amhara

Rights groups Amnesty International says Tigrayan fighters have committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity as they were withdrawing from Ethiopia’s Amhara region. Click here to read…

No school In Zimbabwe after government suspends 90% of teachers

A strike by Zimbabwean teachers that has crippled learning entered a second week on Monday, with no resolution on sight after the government suspended 135,000 teachers for failing to report for work. Click here to read…

After Mali exit, Niger accepts foreign forces to secure border

President Mohamed Bazoum says Niger has accepted that French and European special forces will be deployed into its territory from Mali to boost security near the border with its neighbouring country. Click here to read…

Cameroon’s Rival Separatist Groups Clash, Kill Fighters

Rival anglophone separatist groups in Cameroon have clashed this month, causing an undetermined number of casualties. The fighting was triggered by power struggles within the separatist movement. Click here to read…

Applause in Tanzania After President Meets Exiled Opposition Leader in Belgium

Tanzanian political figures are applauding after President Samia Suluhu Hassan met in Brussels Wednesday with opposition leader Tundu Lissu. Lissu has lived in Belgium since a 2017 assassination attempt. Click here to read…

Zimbabwe teachers go on strike days after schools’ resume classes

A teachers’ strike has paralyzed learning at many Zimbabwean schools, which opened this week after a prolonged closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to read…

INDIA IN AFRICA

Modi meets ex-Kenyan PM, expresses commitment to strengthen ties

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met former Kenyan premier Raila Amolo Odinga on Sunday and expressed his commitment to further strengthening the India-Kenya relations. Click here to read…

Defexpo 2022 India-Africa ministers’ meet from March 10

The second edition of the India-Africa Defence Ministers Conclave, will be one of the highlights of the 12th edition of biennial defence exhibition — Defexpo 2022, which will be held from March 10 to 13, at three different venues in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. Click here to read…

NATHEALTH and African Health Federation organised second India Africa Health Summit

With an objective to strengthen the efforts towards the vaccination drive in Africa and share best practices, and exchange knowledge NATHEALTH – Healthcare Federation of India in collaboration with Africa Healthcare Federation organised the Indo-Africa Vaccine Summit on Friday – 11th February 2022 virtually.Click here to read…

Indian Railways exports Cape Gauge Diesel Locomotives to Mozambique

The Indian Railways has exported the four powerful Cape Gauge Diesel Locomotives, manufactured at Banaras Locomotive Works, to Mozambique now. Click here to read…

MOZAMBIQUE: India grants $10 million for water in Cabo Delgado

The Indian High Commissioner to Mozambique, Ankan Banerjee, has signed a memorandum of understanding worth $10 million with the Mozambican government. This funding supports a drinking water supply program that will benefit the populations of the Mueda district, in the Cabo Delgado province. Click here to read…

Africa applauds India’s technology inspired rapid vaccination drive

Healthcare Federation of India in collaboration with the Africa Healthcare Federation organised the Indo-Africa Vaccine Summit virtually. The summit saw participation from key dignitaries from both India and Africa to deliberate and to offer a framework to build resilience towards future emergencies and pandemics. Click here to read…

India’s Homegrown Direct Selling Brand Vestige Announces Foray into Ghana to Expand Global Footprint

After gaining a stronghold in India and several international markets, Vestige Marketing Pvt Ltd. has announced its foray into Africa by launching operations in Ghana. In the initial phase, the company will offer a range of health and wellness products from its bestseller categories – health supplements, personal care, home care and oral care. Click here to read…

Indian govt to partner Bono East become tourism hub in W/A

The Indian government says it would partner the Bono East Regional Coordinating Council (BERCC) to make the region a tourism hub in West Africa. Click here to read…

Airtel Kenya to pay local regulator $17.5 mn in out-of-court settlement

Under the settlement pact terms, Airtel Kenya will pay $17.5 million to the Kenyan telecom regulator for its licence renewal. The payment will happen over the next two years. Click here to read…

South African Tourism Kickstarts Travel Recovery Efforts in India

Reigniting its travel recovery efforts in India, South African Tourism launched its ‘More & More’ campaign today. Localized for Indian audiences, this campaign aims to highlight the variety and diversity of experiences that South Africa has to offer, ranging from 3000+ adventure activities to exciting culinary experiences and more, across its 9 provinces. Click here to read…

‘Will take Ayurveda to Africa’: Ex-Kenya PM Raila Odinga after daughter’s eyesight recovery

Raila Odinga, former Prime Minister of Kenya, who was in Kerala for his daughter’s eye treatment expressed his happiness and satisfaction from Ayurveda treatment. Click here to read…

India delegation heads to Namibia to discuss cheetah translocation

A delegation from India left for Namibia on Thursday to discuss cheetah translocation logistics with the Namibia government, according to people familiar with the development. Click here to read…

Africa Now – Weekly Newsletter (Week 7, 2022)

Welcome to Africa Now, your weekly newsletter for Africa, presenting the most important developments in the continent – news that matters.

COMMENTARY

Africa has had eight coup attempts in recent months. What’s behind the ‘coup epidemic’?

Last week, soldiers in Guinea Bissau surrounded the government palace, attacking President Umaro Sissoco Embaló during a cabinet meeting. Although the coup attempts ultimately failed, the firefight resulted in numerous fatalities. Only a week earlier, widespread mutinies in Burkina Faso prompted army officers to depose another competitively elected African president. Click here to read…

NEWS

African Union postpones debate on Israel’s observer status

The African Union (AU) has suspended a debate on whether to withdraw Israel’s accreditation as an observer to the bloc, avoiding a vote that risked creating an unprecedented rift in the 55-member body. Click here to read…

African Union to Establish Permanent Mission in Beijing

Following a heads of state meeting in Addis Ababa, the African Union has announced it will open a permanent mission in Beijing this year. The proposal had been set forth by the Council of Ministers in an effort to engage more directly with Africa’s largest trading partner and diplomatic-ally. Click here to read…

Guinea-Bissau arrests ex-navy chief linked to drug trade over failed coup

Guinea-Bissau’s President Umaro Sissoco Embalo on Thursday accused a former Guinean navy chief with links to the drug trade and two accomplices of being behind a failed coup in the west African nation on February 1. Click here to read…

UN Security Council calls for release of Burkina Faso President

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has expressed grave concern about Burkina Faso’s “unconstitutional change of government,” and has called for President Roch Marc Christian Kabore and other government leaders to be released and protected. Click here to read…

Sudan’s military rulers step up crackdown, arrest activists

Amira Osman, a Sudanese women’s rights activist, was getting ready for bed a few minutes before midnight when about 30 policemen forced their way into her home in Khartoum last month. Click here to read…

Guinea transitional assembly holds first post-coup session

Guinea’s transitional assembly has held its first session, five months after the military overthrow of democratically elected President Alpha Conde. Click here to read…

Diplomatic flurry as crunch time on Western military role in Mali nears

Western foreign ministers will hold crunch talks on their countries’ future presence fighting Islamist militants in Mali on Monday, four European sources said, with three saying regional and international leaders will also meet on Wednesday. Click here to read…

Libyan parliament elects new PM to replace interim government

The Libyan House of Representatives, on Thursday unanimously voted for Fathi Bashagha as the country’s new prime minister. Click here to read…

Libyan PM survives assassination attempt as car shot: Sources

Assailants struck Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah’s car with bullets early on Thursday but he escaped unharmed, a source close to him said, amid intense factional wrangling over control of the government. Mauritius Presses Claim for Indian Ocean Islands Under ‘Unlawful’ UK Administration

A delegation from Mauritius is set to sail Tuesday to the Chagos Islands to press the country’s claim for the strategically important Indian Ocean archipelago, which is also claimed by Britain and is home to an American military base. Click here to read…

Taiwan to host Somaliland ministers in Africa diplomacy push

Taiwan will host a high-level delegation from Somalia’s breakaway Somaliland region this week, the government said on Monday, as the island pursues diplomacy in Africa in the face of Chinese pressure to limit its international footprint. Click here to read…

Several killed in attack targeting Somalia election delegates

A suicide bomber targeting a minibus full of delegates involved in Somalia’s parliamentary elections killed at least six people in Mogadishu, the ambulance service said, as the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab armed group claimed responsibility for the attack. Click here to read…

Central Africa PM fired amid tensions over Russia-France tug of war

The Central African Republic’s prime minister has been sacked, the presidency confirmed Monday, against the backdrop of tensions between pro-Russian and pro-French factions within the government of the poor, unstable country.Click here to read…

US aims to thwart China’s plan for Atlantic base in Africa

The Biden administration is intensifying its campaign to persuade Equatorial Guinea to reject China’s bid to build a military base on the country’s Atlantic Coast. Click here to read…

AfCFTA Adjustment Fund agreement signed in Cairo

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat and African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), signed the $10bn AfCFTA Adjustment Fund on Wednesday in Cairo. Click here to read…

EU unveils €1.6 billion investment in Morocco

It is the first African scheme in the EU’s €300 billion “Global Gateway” infrastructure plan, the bloc’s response to China’s Belt and Road strategy.
https://www.dw.com/en/eu-unveils-16-billion-investment-in-morocco/a-60710607″ target=”_blank”>Click here to read…

French president voices support for Egypt’s regional development and anti-terror efforts

French President Emmanuel Macron said that his country remains committed to the continued enhancement of joint cooperation with Egypt in a number of fields, and to supporting Cairo’s efforts to achieve comprehensive and sustainable development, and combat terrorism and extremist ideology in its region. Click here to read…

Tanzania: Victory for media freedom as ban on four newspapers lifted

The lifting of ban on four newspapers that had been barred from publishing since 2016 and 2017 for exposing alleged corruption and human rights violations is a positive step, but the Tanzanian authorities must do more to guarantee media freedom going forward, Amnesty International said today. Click here to read…

Ethiopia’s telco battle will take place in the mobile money arena

Safaricom opened an office in Ethiopia last month, as Kenya’s largest mobile operator aims to take on one of Africa’s most sought-after telecoms markets. Click here to read…

‘Fragile Five’ Indebted Africa Nations Flagged by Top Lender

Five key African economies will face debt risks over the next two years, according to the continent’s biggest bank, as an era of extraordinary pandemic-induced stimulus and relief for poor nations draws to an end. Click here to read…

UN’s top court orders Uganda to pay $325 million to DR Congo

Delivering its judgement, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) broke down the compensation, awarding the DRC $225 million for damage to persons, which includes loss of life, rape, recruitment of child soldiers and displacement of civilians. Click here to read…

E-levy Ghana: Ghanaians hit streets of Accra to protest against electronic transactions tax way government want to introduce

Protestors for Ghana hit the streets of Accra to register their displeasure with the new electronic transactions tax way government want to introduce. Click here to read…

Deaths Rise To 92 In Madagascar Cyclone, 112,000 In Need of Assistance

The death toll from Tropical Cyclone Batsirai has risen to 92 in Madagascar, authorities said Wednesday, as humanitarian organisations ramped up aid efforts with more than 110,000 people in need of emergency assistance. Click here to read…

Zimbabwe teachers go on strike days after schools’ resume classes

A teachers’ strike has paralyzed learning at many Zimbabwean schools, which opened this week after a prolonged closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to read…

Demand for traditional Chinese medicine in Africa sparks fears for endangered species

Amid the rise in demand for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) products in African countries has sparked fear for poaching of endangered species. Click here to read…

Nigeria Islamic police destroy nearly 4 mn beers

Religious police in northern Nigeria’s city of Kano have destroyed nearly four milllion bottles of beer, on grounds that sale and consumption of alcohol is prohibited in the predominantly Muslim region. Click here to read…

‘White Malice’: How the CIA Strangled African Independence at Birth

In her latest book, historian Susan Williams ruthlessly reveals through factual evidence the unsavoury machinations of the CIA in Africa during the Cold War until the late 1960s. Click here to read…

Explained: Why Africa embraces Huawei tech despite security concerns

Huawei is popular across Africa, but its systems could also appeal to authoritarian regimes hoping to cling to power. Click here to read…

Should Bangladesh Lease Land from South Sudan?

For a long period of time, Bangladesh has been striving to ensure food security at home by planning to shop farmland abroad. Recently, South Sudan, an African country, has expressed interest in leasing a vast area of its fallow land to Bangladesh in order to collaborate in agricultural production, processing, and marketing in the central African countries. Click here to read…

U.S. reaches out to foreign producers in Algeria on gas options -sources

The U.S. government has asked to meet Eni, Total Energies (TTEF.PA) and other energy companies operating in Algeria to see if more gas can be sourced from the country, sources familiar with the matter said. Click here to read…

WHO Chief visits South Africa’s mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub

World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus today visited the groundbreaking mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub in Cape Town and also met with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to discuss progress in making Africa self-sufficient in the production of COVID-19 vaccines and related treatments. Click here to read…

China’s StarTimes injects 1.76 mln USD to boost local content in Kenya

Chinese pay television firm, StarTimes on Thursday announced injection of an additional 200 million shillings (about 1.76 million U.S. dollars) to boost development of indigenous content in Kenya. Click here to read…

Zambia on course to launch satellite in 2023

Zambia on Friday said it is on course to launch a satellite in 2023. According to a statement by Science and Technology Minister Felix Mutati, moving to digital technology will enhance digital economic activities and help the government plan ahead in meeting challenges such as climate change, flooding, and health issues. Click here to read…

INDIA IN AFRICA

Indian envoys hold virtual meeting with Comoros FM to review progress in bilateral ties

Indian envoy to Moroni Abhay Kumar held a virtual meeting with Comoros Foreign Minister Dhoihir Dhoulkamal and reviewed the progress made in bilateral ties between the two countries. … Recently INS Kesari visited Comoros in January 2022 to help repair a Comorian shipClick here to read…

Liaison officer from Mauritius posted at Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre

A liaison officer from Mauritius was on Thursday posted at the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre (IFC) which has emerged as a key hub in tracking developments in the Indian Ocean. Click here to read…

Tanzania set to export avocado to India

Tanzania is set to begin exporting avocado to India, as the country seeks to strengthen bilateral trade ties and enable farmers to get higher returns for their produce. Click here to read…

Here is Why this Former PM of Kenya is Grateful to an Ayurvedic Hospital in Kerala

Former Prime Minister of Kenya, Raila Odinka, who was in Kerala recently, thanked Sreedhareeyam Ayurvedic Eye Hospital and Research Centre in Kerala for restoring his daughter’s eyesight. She had become blind after a stroke in 2017 and had spent two years in total darkness. Click here to read…

Ramaphosa’s hope of making S Africa major cell phone producer dashes as factory owned by Indian-origin entrepreneur shuts

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s hopes of the country becoming a major producer of mobile phones or Africa have been dashed with the closure of a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility owned by a Rwanda-based Indian-origin entrepreneur. Click here to read…

Mozambique: Harare, Maputo Deepen Economic Ties

Zimbabwe and the rest of SADC countries are set to benefit from infrastructural development being undertaken by Mozambique, with President Mnangagwa and President Felipe Nyusi committing to facilitate the emancipation of their people through economic development. Click here to read…Stranded in Mali: Relieved, say workers on their return to Jharkhand

Weeks after their distress calls, the first batch of seven Indian workers out of the 33 who were stranded in Mali without their earnings and their passports returned to the country on Saturday. Click here to read…

Africa Now – Weekly Newsletter (Week 6, 2022)

Welcome to Africa Now, your weekly newsletter for Africa, presenting the most important developments in the continent – news that matters.

COMMENTARY

Eight Priorities for the African Union in 2022

The African Union’s twentieth anniversary in the coming year gives it a chance to assess its achievements as well as reinvigorate its work to safeguard peace and security on the continent. This briefing points to eight conflict situations needing the organisation’s urgent attention. Click here to read…

NEWS

Burkina Faso restores constitution, names coup leader president

Burkina Faso’s military government said it has restored the constitution a week after taking power and has appointed the coup’s leader as head of state for a transitional period. Click here to read…

Burkina Faso junta lifts nationwide curfew in force since coup

Burkina Faso’s junta lifted Wednesday a nationwide curfew they imposed after seizing power in a coup last month, the military announced. Click here to read…

Guinea Bissau president survives W. Africa’s latest coup attempt

Cheering crowds welcomed Guinea Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo’s election victory in 2020, but his opponent’s alleged fraud. Click here to read…

French ambassador expelled from Mali

Mali’s military leaders are expelling the French ambassador over what they called “outrageous” comments made by the French foreign minister about the transitional government. Click here to read…

Germany mulls end of military mission in Mali

German troops have been stationed in Mali for nearly nine years. But the Bundeswehr’s mission might soon be over. Critics in Berlin are questioning its purpose. And Mali itself is looking out for new allies. Click here to read…

Guinea-Bissau’s failed coup attempt may have been linked to drug trafficking

In a Facebook post on Feb. 1, Umaro El Mokhtar Sissoco Embalo, president of Guinea-Bissau, reassured citizens that their country was calm and that his government had not been overthrown by an armed groupClick here to read…

Guterres asks for immediate cessation of hostilities in Ethiopia

The United Nations’ Secretary-General on Tuesday made the “strongest possible appeal” for all parties in Ethiopia to immediately end the fighting in Tigray and other areas, in the spirit of the General Assembly’s Olympic Truce which began just a few days ago. Click here to read…

Sudanese security forces fire tear gas as protesters defy ban

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters have marched in Sudan’s capital and other cities, the latest demonstration to denounce military rule since the army seized power in October 2021Click here to read…

Somalia election on track, official says

Organisers of Somalia’s much-delayed elections say the polls have picked up the “right pace”, assuring citizens that they will meet the February 25 deadline to conclude voting. Click here to read…

US launches third military training project in Mozambique

The US government has launched a third Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) programme with Mozambique, to enhance the military’s readiness to contain rising insecurity.Click here to read…

DR Congo: At least 50 dead following militia attack on camp

According to the UN Mission in the country (MONUSCO), the attack was carried out by members of the so-called Cooperative for the Development of the Congo (CODECO) – a loose association of various Lendu militia groups.Click here to read…

South Africa’s Afrigen makes mRNA Covid vaccine using Moderna data

South Africa’s Afrigen Biologics has used the publicly available sequence of Moderna Inc’s mRNA Covid-19 vaccine to make its own version of the shot, which could be tested in humans before the end of this year, Afrigen’s top executive said on Thursday. Click here to read…

Mix of differences, challenges delays Arab summit until further notice

The Arab summit to be held in Algeria is facing many obstacles that could lead to its cancellation. This comes in the light of the mounting differences between the host country on the one hand and the Arab League on the other. Click here to read…

Kenya to Inject $176 Million Into Struggling National Airline

Kenya plans to inject 20 billion shillings ($176 million) of capital into the country’s cash-strapped national airline, which is battling to survive after years of losses and a mounting debt pile. Click here to read…

Tunisia elected to African Union’s Peace and Security Council

Tunisia has been elected to the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council for the term 2022-2024. Click here to read…

Wrangle over interim Libyan government intensifies

The speaker of Libya’s eastern-based parliament said on Monday the chamber would choose a new interim prime minister next week, but the current incumbent rejected the move. Click here to read…

Kenyan, Rwandan leaders discuss trade and security issues

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday hosted his Rwandese counterpart Paul Kagame for talks in Nairobi, focusing on a wide range of areas of cooperation. Click here to read…

African Experts Argue Prospects for China’s New $300 Billion Agreement

A Chinese official in Nigeria says Beijing plans to invest over $300 billion in Africa to increase African exports and help close the large trade gap with China. China’s plans for more investment in Africa have been welcomed by some, but critics worry about Africa’s growing debt with Beijing. Click here to read…

Private military contractors bolster Russian influence in Africa

Russia’s geopolitical ambitions in Africa have in recent years been backed by private military contractors, often described as belonging to the “Wagner group” — an entity with no known legal status. Click here to read…

Russian diplomat, African Union official discuss preparations for Russia-Africa Summit

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the meeting was held on the sidelines of the 35th session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union. Click here to read…

Egypt inks $1.6 billion deal for South Korean howitzers

South Korea on Tuesday said it signed a $1.6 billion deal to sell arms to Egypt a week after US President Joe Biden’s administration approved another massive arms sale to the Middle Eastern nation. Click here to read…

Explosion at Nigerian oil vessel sparks fears of major spill

A vessel with a storage capacity of two million barrels of oil has exploded off the coast of southern Nigeria’s Delta state, raising fears of an environmental disaster and concerns about the fate of its crew. Click here to read…

South Africa’s 10-yearly population census kicks off

South Africa on Wednesday launched its once-in-a-decade population census to collect data that will help the government’s policy formulation and planning, the statistics agency has said. Click here to read…

Shell Is Betting Big on Namibia’s Oil Boom

While all recent oil exploration attention has been on Exxon’s massive string of discoveries in Guyana, another giant player and a junior explorer are shifting to focus toward what may be the next up-and-coming oil hotspot It’s Namibia–a country that’s never produced a barrel of oil. Click here to read…

Zambia aims for IMF debt deal in May – FinMin

Zambia expects an International Monetary Fund (IMF) debt health check to be finalised this month, to strike a restructuring deal with creditors by April and get a formal agreement with the fund signed off in May, its finance minister said. Click here to read…

Russian paramilitary ‘saviours’ star in films on Africa conflicts

Paramilitary fighters from the Russia-linked Wagner group star in a new film singing their praises for interventions against rebels in the Central African Republic and elsewhere on the continent. Click here to read…

INDIA IN AFRICA

Raila starts week-long trip to India, Ethiopia

ODM leader Raila Odinga has left the country for a week-long trip to Ethiopia and India. Click here to read…

Belagavi firm to build 6,000 houses in Rwanda

The Department of MBA at KLS Gogte Institute of Technology organised an online international conference on Indo African Businesses-Strategic Perspective in Belagavi recently. Click here to read…

Kebbi sponsors 117 indigenes to study in India

Kebbi State has awarded no fewer than 117 indigenes scholarship to study Medicine, Engineering and related courses in India. Click here to read…

‘India-Africa Relations: Changing Horizons’ review: An eye-opener on Africa

With China taking a lead, India should deepen its political commitment in the continent, set aside sizeable financial resources, and increase the capability of project execution, says a new bookClick here to read…

Zambia, India ties vintage

INDIA’S Republic Day, January 26, is a gazetted holiday celebrated throughout the world. It is a day to remember when India’s constitution came into force on January 26, 1950, completing the country’s transition toward becoming an independent state. Click here to read…

Mahindra sets record for monthly vehicle sales in South Africa

Mahindra South Africa has set a new record for monthly sales since it first started selling its range of automotive vehicles in the country 18 years ago. Click here to read…

Made-in-India Nissan Magnite exports expanded to 15 nations

The made-in-India Magnite is now sold in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Brunei, Uganda, Kenya, Seychelles, Mozambique, Zambia, Mauritius, Tanzania and Malawi. In the second half of 2020, Nissan managed to ship out a total of 6,344 units of the Magnite. Click here to read…

Airtel Africa Q3 results: Net profit up 54% to $180 mn

Telecom operator Airtel Africa reported a 54.4 per cent increase in profit after tax (PAT) to $180 million for the December 2021 quarter. The company had posted a PAT of $116 million in the same period a year ago. Click here to read…

MONDIACULT 2022 | Africa Regional Consultation January 31 – February 1, 2022

The Regional Consultation on Cultural Policies for the African region will be held on January 31 and February 1, 2022. For two days, 47 Ministers of Culture are invited to meet online, with international and non-governmental organizations, with all the key actors of the Arts and Culture sector to discuss and present the voice of the continent on the issues of culture and development. Click here to read…

Africa Now – Weekly Newsletter (Week 5, 2022)

Week 5, 2022Welcome to Africa Now, your weekly newsletter for Africa, presenting the most important developments in the continent – news that matters.

COMMENTARY

Burkina Faso is the site of Africa’s latest coup. How many more are coming?

The African continent was rattled by another military coup Monday—its fourth in less than two years—after Burkina Faso’s military ousted President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré from power. Click here to read…

African Politics: Return of The Military

The military seized power in Burkina Faso on Monday, ousting the country’s democratically elected President, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré. I was in a conference on security in the Sahel last November and already at that time, the conversation was that the military had decided to seize power in the country and the only question was when not if they would. Click here to read…

NEWS

Burkina Faso crowd celebrates West Africa’s latest coup

More than 1,000 people gathered in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou on Tuesday in support of a military coup that a day earlier ousted President Roch Kabore, dissolved the government and suspended the constitution. Click here to read…

Denmark pulls troops from Mali as military gov’t swipes at France

The decision comes amid rising tensions after several countries imposed sanctions on Mali for failing to organise elections following two military coups. Click here to read…

Ethiopia PM open to talks with Tigray forces

Ethiopia’s prime minister has said there will be negotiations on a cease-fire between his government and the rival Tigray forces who have been waging war for almost 15 months. Click here to read…

Senegal ruling coalition suffers setbacks in key cities

Senegal’s ruling coalition suffered crushing defeats in the capital and other major cities in Sunday’s local elections, local media reported, in a vote seen as a key test for the president. Click here to read…

US envoy for Horn of Africa to visit Turkey to discuss Sudan crisis

The newly appointed United States special envoy for the Horn of Africa will visit five countries, including Turkey, to discuss Sudan and regional peace, the State Department said Tuesday. Click here to read…

Egypt sceptical of Ethiopia call for cooperation on Nile dam

Egypt sees Ethiopia’s latest call for cooperation over its controversial Nile dam as mere ink on paper, as Cairo continues to insist on resuming the negotiations to reach a legally binding agreement. Click here to read…

Sudanese protest against UN talks to resolve post-coup crisis

Sudanese pro-military demonstrators have taken to the streets of the capital, Khartoum, to protest against a UN attempting to resolve a political crisis that has been marred by a wave of bloody protests since a military coup in October. Click here to read…

Shell hits oil and gas in Namibian offshore well

Shell (RDSa.L) has made a significant oil and gas discovery at an closely-watched offshore well in Namibia which could spark a wave of investment in the southern African country. Click here to read…

The Republic of Congo to Receive $455 million IMF Loan

The board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a $455 million loan for the Republic of Congo with the objective of extending fiscal relief and stimulating re-growth for the hard-hit economy of the central African country. Congo’s economy has been adversely impacted by the pandemic and the loan is vital for the country with a 52.5% poverty rate. Click here to read…

China writes off $25.3m of debt owed by Mauritania

Mauritania and China yesterday signed an agreement under which China wrote off part of its debts owed by the Mauritanian government. Click here to read…

Beijing puts Djibouti at odds with West by helping equip its army

Beijing is pushing ahead with its policy of providing military equipment by donating 160 Dongfeng trucks to the army, having already supplied two vessels to the Djibouti navy last year. Click here to read…

Uncertainty shrouds Arab League summit in Algeria

The Arab League is facing a third year without a meeting, as the summit due to be held in Algeria in March is set to be delayed. Click here to read…

Libyan parliament committee urges change of interim PM

A Libyan parliament committee has said the chamber should choose a new interim prime minister, a move that could set major factions against each other in the wake of a failed election. Click here to read…

Zambia’s president visits South Africa to discuss trade and security

Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema arrived on Wednesday in South Africa to discuss security and trade between the two nations. Click here to read…

Kenya on High Alert After France Warns of Impending Terror Attack

The French Embassy in Kenya has issued a terror alert to Western nationals, urging them to avoid places this weekend where foreigners gather, such as hotels and shopping centers, especially in the capital, Nairobi. Click here to read…

Rwanda to re-open border with Uganda as relations thaw

Rwanda will re-open on Monday a border crossing with Uganda that was shuttered nearly three years ago, even as tensions rise between the central African neighbours, fuelled by accusations of espionage and support for each other’s dissidentsClick here to read…

Death Toll from Tropical Storm Ana in Mozambique, Malawi Rises to 12

The death toll from tropical storm Ana has risen to at least 12 in Mozambique and Malawi, authorities said, although officials and aid agencies are still assessing the full impact of the storm that swept through southern Africa on Monday. Click here to read…

Book Review: Politics of Change in Middle East and North Africa since Arab Spring

After decades of suffering and deprivation under authoritarian regimes, the incident motivated the Arab masses to take their anger and frustration to the streets and demand justice, freedom and democracy. Click here to read…

Where Is Pan-Africanism Today?

Kwame Nkrumah foresaw a period when Africa would be unified and coined the term ‘pan-Africanism’ in the 1960s. He thought that African unification was essential for the continent’s economic, social, and political growth. Click here to read…

INDIA IN AFRICA

Shri G. Balasubramanian appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Shri G. Balasubramanian (IFS: 1998), presently Joint Secretary in the Ministry, has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Click here to read…

India-South Africa trade exceeds USD 10 billion target set by leaders

Trade between India and South Africa has exceeded the USD 10 billion target set by the leaders of the two countries, Consul General Anju Ranjan announced at a reception here on Wednesday to celebrate India’s 73rd Republic Day. Click here to read…

Tanzania, India agrees on new areas of cooperation

Tanzania and India have expressed readiness to open up new areas of cooperation to ensure sustainable development for mutual benefits. Click here to read…

Nigeria, India Deepen Ties to Boost ICT, Renewable Energy

The federal government and the Republic of India have mapped out ways through which they can strengthen the existing bilateral relations between both countries to enhance development in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and renewable energy. Click here to read…

India calls for countering terror in Africa’s Sahel and Libya

India has called on the international community to focus its attention on the threat of terrorism in Africa, in particular the Sahel region. Click here to read…

PM Modi thanks Zambian President for R-Day greetings, says ‘India greatly values its friendship’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday thanked Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema for his greetings on the occasion of India’s 73rd Republic Day on January 26. Click here to read…

Indian community marks 75th independence anniversary in Accra

The Indian High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Sugandh Rajaram, has called for the strengthening of the bilateral relations between Ghana and India.
According to Mr Rajaram, the achievements chalked by his country had been possible due to the help of its global partners of which Ghana was tops. Click here to read…

Indian embassy in Madagascar celebrates 73rd Republic Day by unfurling national flag

Indian ambassador in Madagascar inaugurated the event by unfurling the Indian flag.Click here to read…

73rd Republic of India: Prime Minister inaugurates the Ashoka Stambh in Ebène

The Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Home Affairs and External Communications, Minister for Rodrigues, Outer Islands and Territorial Integrity, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, inaugurated the Ashoka Stambh to mark the 73rd Republic Day of India, this evening, at the High Commission of India, in Ebène. Click here to read…

Tanzania’s avocados now hit Indian markets

Efforts to find international markets for Tanzania’s avocados achieved a milestone after a maiden consignment was exported to India on Friday. This is good news to smallholder growers, traders and the government alike.Click here to read…

Made-in-India Nissan Magnite is now exported to 15 global markets

The Made-in-India Nissan Magnite is now on sale in 15 countries across the world. They are: India, Indonesia, South Africa, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Brunei, Uganda, Kenya, Seychelles, Mozambique, Zambia, Mauritius, Tanzania, and Malawi. Click here to read…

NeoCov: India to monitor deadlier Covid variant found in South Africa

India is keeping an eye on reports of a Chinese study on coronavirus type NeoCov, which spreads among bats in South Africa. Click here to read…

Bharti Airtel’s subsidiary Airtel Africa to be added to FTSE 100 Index

Telecom major Bharti Airtel on Thursday informed that its subsidiary Airtel Africa has been made a part of the FTSE 100 Index with effect from Monday, 31 January, 2022. Click here to read…