Tag Archives: UNSC

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

Myanmar Round-Up: May 2022

The country is reeling under political and economic crisis. The military initiated peace talks during the month in its efforts to meet the Ethnic Armed Organisations, but most of the armed groups that have been active in the fight with the military since the coup have refused participation. The National Unity Government (NUG), on the other hand, marked the celebration of the first anniversary of the People Defence Forces (PDF) on 05 May; they also called out to the international community to support them with funds and arms. Internationally, the United States-ASEAN summit was a landmark event, and the Malaysian Foreign Minister called upon the Myanmar military leaders for taking sufficient steps to resolve the crisis.

Economic Conditions

Myanmar is facing fuel shortages partly because of the Central Bank of Myanmar’s change in regulations in April 2022 and partly because of the regime’s orders that the fuel will be sold at fixed rates. The Central Bank of Myanmar announced that foreign earnings must be deposited with licensed banks and exchanged for kyats within one working day at the official rate. The restricted access to dollars has blocked fuel imports.[1]

The cash shortage is also starkly visible as the military regime has not been able to pay dividends from its businesses since the 2021 coup. The dividends are usually paid at the end of the financial year. It’s mandatory for all ranks to buy MEHL shares. For instance, a captain is required to invest 3 million kyats in MEHL and lower ranks 1.5 million kyats. In the past year, MEHL profits have tumbled amid boycotts of beer and cigarettes, the main income sources.[2]

Myanmar’s military regime has cancelled tenders invited under the previous National League for Democracy (NLD) government for 26 solar power projects. Chinese companies and their consortia won the bids to build 28 out of the 29 plants, but the military cancelled the tenders due to repeatedly post poking of signing power purchase agreements. However, only three solar projects are being implemented, and Chinese firms have stalled on the other projects. Just before the blacklisting of firms, the electricity and energy Minister U Aung Than Oo was replaced with U Thaung Han, the former chairman of the Mandalay Electricity Supply Corporation, amid severe power outages in Myanmar.[3] Further, on 11 May, the military charged Bo Bo Nge, former Central Bank’s deputy governor, with corruption offences. He was arrested on the day of the military coup.[4] The military has also removed Lt General Than Hlaing as chief of the military’s police force and deputy minister of home affairs, with Major General Zin Min Htet, the military’s Joint Adjutant General, since 2019.

Domestic and Political Situation

During the month, Aung San Suu Kyi was tried in a new corruption case, accusing her of receiving money from Maung Weik in 2019 and 2020. She is charged under the country’s Anti-Corruption Act with up to 15 years in prison and a fine. She has already been sentenced to 11 years imprisonment under different cases of corruption, sedition and violation of coronavirus restrictions. In another case of corruption, she was charged with receiving USD 600,000 and seven gold bars from Phyo Min Thein, the former chief minister of Yangon.[5]

During the month, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing held the first face-to-face peace talks since the military coup with Yawd Serk, chairman of the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS). Myanmar has 21 ethnic armed organisations, out of which ten have accepted the invitation to the peace talks. But there is scepticism that the talks will do much to advance peacemaking because none of the groups attending are currently in armed conflict with the government. The major ethnic minority groups, such as Kachin Independence Army, the Karenni National Progressive Party and the Chin National Front, currently in armed conflict with the military, have not attended the peace talks.

Regions such as Kachin, Chin, Sagaing and Karen continued to witness clashes. In the first half of the month, regular interceptions by the military were recorded in Chin State. Casualties were reported on both sides. The Chin Defence Forces, on the other hand, claimed success in several clashes with the military. In the Sagaing region, the regime launched air strikes as local resistance forces attacked an army camp in a pro-regime village in the township.[6] The military has further cut mobile phone service to eight townships in the Sagaing region.[7] The military has also increased security in Yangon as it remains a hotbed of anti-regime resistance. The military aims to wipe out the urban resistance groups.[8]

Further, the Karen National Union (KNU) stated that troops engaged in more than 500 clashes with regime forces in May 2022. In the statement released by the Union, they claimed to have killed around 356 junta forces and 194 injured.[9] During the month, however, the military reclaimed the Maw Khee base. Waw Lay and Maw Khee, in the KNLA’s Brigade 6 territory.[10] The KNU, on the other hand, is consolidating its control of Kyaukkyi and Mone townships in the eastern Bago Region.[11] In a march from Hpa-An Township in Kayin (Karen) State to Bilin Township in Mon State, the regime forces used more than 100 civilians as porters and human shields earlier this week.[12]

Major-General Tun Myat Naing, chief of the Arakan Army (AA) based in Rakhine State, issued a public warning about the prospect of renewed fighting in Rakhine. The military has attempted to counteract the AA with the increasing presence of regime troops inspecting villages and tightening security checks. Further, on 31 May, a submarine arrived at Kyauk Phyu Township.[13] The regime has also again started detaining and interrogating people it suspects of having ties to the AA, which was done before the 2020 ceasefire. The AA has also not responded to the regime’s proposal for peace talks. [14] The fight erupted between the military and AA near Abaung Thar village, Chin State.[15] Further, Major Aye Tun, an AA leader, warned through his social media posts to boycott military council products and not buy homes from the Shwe Yati beach project in Gwa township of Rakhine State.[16]

Overall, boths ides, the pro-military and anti-military, continued with targeted assassinations of the opposite sides. For instance, local military council members in the Mandalay Region were shot by unidentified gunmen. On the other hand, the pro-junta militia claimed responsibility for slaying opposition party members and threatened to kill journalists and their families. During the month, eight members of the NLD and their supporters were found brutally murdered. However, the military deputy minister of information, Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun stated that the military has no ties to the Thway Thank, the pro-junta militia taking responsibility for the murder. He also accused seven media outlets of being “destructive elements” in Myanmar, including RFA, Khit Thit Media, The Irrawaddy, Mizzima, DVB and The Irrawaddy Times.[17]

The NUG and PDFs

May 6 marked the PDF anniversary, a paramilitary group formed to protect Myanmar’s civilians against military forces. The NUG Ministry of Defense said the PDF has expanded to 257 units, with 80,000 and 100,000 PDF troops spread across 250 townships and maintains links with more than 400 local guerrilla groups. A statement claimed that around USD 30 million was spent on arms training and military equipment for the PDF since its formation.[18] However, PDFs are facing cash and arms shortages. Four local PDFs based in Sagaing publicly reported that they were struggling with insufficient arms and other logistics issues. These groups have so far relied on donations from local people.[19] Under such circumstances, the defence chief of NUG, Yee Mon, called for international help to arm its resistance forces. [20] On the other hand, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing urged the United Wa State Party (UWSP) not to supply arms to the PDFs. However, the UWSP liaison officer Nyi Rang denied discussing PDFs or Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at the meeting.[21]

During the month, the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), the legislative body of NUG, enacted its People’s Police Force Law to regulate law enforcement in areas controlled by resistance forces. Under the law, the People’s Police Force will be established under the civilian Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration to upgrade law enforcement from accepting complaints to prosecuting. The ministry has so far received more than 400 complaints against military atrocities against civilians. The CRPH said the law would take legal action against the military leaders who seized power illegally and expose the crimes committed by the regime against civilians.[22]

The National Unity Government (NUG) also conducted an online meeting with AA to engage with armed groups. The shadow government’s Alliance Relations Committee, its foreign minister Daw Zin Mar Aung and prominent ’88 Generation leader U Min Ko Naing spoke to AA chief Major General Tun Myat Naing and his deputy Brigadier General Nyo Tun Aung. The two sides discussed the political landscape and current situation in Myanmar. However, the AA has avoided direct involvement in armed revolt against the military regime; it supports the PDFs by providing training and weapons.[23]

International Responses

In yet another move to issue a statement at United Nations Security Council, China and Russia blocked the attempt to push the military leaders to take steps to resolve the crisis and express concern about the violence and humanitarian situation in the country. The proposed statement was drafted by the United Kingdom, which had expressed concern at the “limited progress” in implementing a five-point plan for ending the crisis.[24]

On 05-06 May, the ASEAN leaders held a meeting in Cambodia to discuss plans to deliver aid to Myanmar. The regime was represented by its Minister for International Cooperation, Ko Ko Hlaing. However, the military blocked the UN Special Envoy for Myanmar, Noeleen Heyzer, from attending the meeting. Though no reason was stated, her exclusion is believed to come after her recent discussions with the parliamentary body of Myanmar’s NUG and its relief and resettlement minister, Dr Win Myat Aye. However, the NUG criticised ASEAN’s decision to provide humanitarian aid to the Myanmar people via the military regime as it flouts the fundamental humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.[25]

The United States (US) hosted the two-day US-ASEAN Special Summit. A host of issues were discussed, from COVID to the current situation in Myanmar. Out of the total ten, eight ASEAN leaders attended the summit; the Philippines declined to attend due to the presidential elections, and Myanmar’s military chief, Min Aung Hlaing, was barred from the summit. At the summit, Malaysia slammed the military for refusing to engage with the country’s shadow government, NUG. Instead, the US State Department officials met with the foreign minister of the National Unity Government, Myanmar’s shadow government of deposed leaders and other junta critics working to regain control of the country.

Earlier in the month, Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah proposed that ASEAN engage informally with the NUG to discuss humanitarian aid. Still, the regime rejected the remark as “irresponsible and reckless”. Thereby, the Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah called out Myanmar military officials in a series of tweets for failing to honour the Five Point consensus and refusal to allow the United Nations special envoy to attend an ASEAN meeting on humanitarian aid to Myanmar.[26] He also became the first minister from the ASEAN to publicly meet a NUG minister.

Furthermore, the Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen urged Myanmar’s military to allow the ASEAN special envoy to visit and meet deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Hun Sen requested “further cooperation in facilitating the second visit to Myanmar by the ASEAN Chair’s Special Envoy, possibly at the end of May”. He also urged the military chief to release political prisoners, reduce excessive force use and facilitate humanitarian assistance delivery. [27] However, during the month, Cambodia organised a three-day meeting of senior defence officials, including Myanmar military representatives. This contrasts with the earlier decisions to exclude military representatives from ASEAN meetings.[28]

The advocacy groups Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Justice for Myanmar again called on the Government of Japan to cease training Myanmar military officers after it emerged that a Japanese-trained air force commander took part in bombing raids in the country. According to HRW, Japan accepted two cadets and two officers to participate in the training programme in 2021, after the coup. This was followed by a further two cadets and two officers in 2022. [29] In the month, Japanese energy conglomerate ENEOS Holdings said it would withdraw from the Yetagun gas project in Myanmar, which has been operational for two decades.[30] Also, to not legitimise the military regime, the Australian government said it would replace its ambassador to Myanmar, Andrea Faulkner, with a lower-ranked representative. Several western countries have downgraded their diplomatic relations since last year’s coup.[31]

Way Forward

The Institute for Strategy and Policy (ISP Myanmar) reported that at least 5,646 civilian deaths have occurred since the coup till 10 May 2022.[32] Given the humanitarian losses and the accompanying economic and political crisis, the military leaders must take steps to bring in all stakeholders and resolve the current situation. The country is sliding back into poverty, and there are cash and fuel shortages. Mainly Sagaing and Chin’s regions are suffering severe casualties in their fight against the military. Internationally, more efforts and concrete steps are required to address the crisis than mere statements.

Endnotes :

[1] https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-fuel-importers-blame-shortages-on-junta-dollar-controls.html
[2] https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/military-owned-corporation-fails-to-pay-dividends-to-myanmar-troops.html
[3]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-junta-cancels-chinese-backed-solar-power-projects.html
[4]https://www.centralbanking.com/central-banks/governance/people/7947586/myanmar-junta-brings-charges-against-former-deputy-governor
[5]https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/myanmars-suu-kyi-charged-bribery-trial-opens-84447854
[6]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-military-calls-in-air-strikes-to-keep-village-from-falling-to-resistance.html
[7]https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/phone-05242022160146.html
[8]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-junta-tightens-security-in-commercial-capital-yangon.html
[9]https://myanmar-now.org/en/news/resistance-forces-strike-myanmar-army-convoys-on-chin-state-roads
[10]https://www.myanmar-now.org/en/news/myanmar-military-reclaims-control-of-maw-khee-base-seized-by-karen-forces
[11]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/ethnic-karen-fighters-take-control-of-lower-myanmar-townships.html
[12]https://www.myanmar-now.org/en/news/knu-accuses-myanmar-military-of-abducting-civilians-for-use-as-as-human-shields
[13]https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/warships-06022022102800.html
[14]https://www.irrawaddy.com/opinion/analysis/military-tensions-rise-in-western-myanmar-as-arakan-army-chief-warns-regime.html
[15]https://www.narinjara.com/news/detail/62919b0721f2d423422dc735
[16]https://www.narinjara.com/news/detail/628878df21f2d423422dc720
[17]https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/threats-05022022233600.html
[18]https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/anniversary-05112022202816.html
[19]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/we-need-guns-myanmar-resistance-forces-tell-shadow-govt.html
[20] https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/myanmar-resistance-urges-west-provide-arms-fight-against-junta-2022-05-17/
[21] https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/clashes-expected-in-chin-state-as-junta-deploys-more-troops-to-western-myanmar.html
[22]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmars-civilian-government-passes-police-law-for-its-controlled-areas.html
[23]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmars-civilian-government-holds-talks-with-arakan-army.html
[24] https://www.dw.com/en/china-russia-reportedly-block-un-statement-on-myanmar-crisis/a-61961339
[25]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/aseans-plan-to-deliver-aid-to-myanmar-via-junta-condemned.html
[26] https://www.eurasiareview.com/13052022-myanmar-crisis-center-stage-at-us-asean-summit/
[27]https://www.rfa.org/english/news/cambodia/myanmar-talks-05022022220938.html
28]https://www.khmertimeskh.com/501077177/bucking-the-trend-asean-chair-cambodia-invites-myanmar-junta-reps-for-adsom/
[29]https://thediplomat.com/2022/05/japan-trained-myanmar-air-force-officer-took-part-in-bombing-raids-activists/
[30] https://dailytimes.com.pk/929547/japans-eneos-withdraws-from-myanmar-gas-project/
[31]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/australia-downgrades-diplomatic-ties-with-myanmar-junta.html
[32]https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/toll-05172022210115.html

Africa Now – Weekly Newsletter (Week 17, 2022)

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

COMMENTARY

Africa’s dilemma in the Russia-Ukraine crisis

On February 24, as Russia began its air and missile assaults in Ukraine’s Donbas area, it escalated into a full-fledged war. Most western countries condemned the attack, and economic measures were imposedClick here to read…

Hidden costs of Chinese projects in key African state of Kenya

Although Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has defended the country’s strategy, many Kenyans have alleged that the China-funded projects are secretive, high cost and debt creating. While these projects have put extra burden on the people, these assets are at risk due to failure in debt servicing. Click here to read…

NEWS

Ethiopia men queue up to volunteer for Russia’s fight in Ukraine

Ethiopians with military records line up outside Moscow’s embassy in Addis Ababa in the hope to join the Russian army amid rumours $2,000 will be paid to each volunteer. Click here to read…

Rwanda jails Chinese national for torturing mine workers

The Chinese embassy in Rwanda said in a statement that it had ‘taken note’ of the ruling. Click here to read…

Western Sahara: Algeria Sets Conditions for Ambassadors Return to Spain

Algeria is attempting to put further pressure on Spain after Sanchez’ government changed its position to favour Morocco’s Autonomy Plan. Click here to read…

Niger approves hosting more European forces amid Mali withdrawal

President Momahed Bazoum proposed hosting more troops, a move opposed by some groups weary of foreign involvement. Click here to read…

Denmark in talks with Rwanda on transfer of asylum-seekers

Denmark is in talks with Rwanda about setting up a new procedure for transferring asylum seekers to the East African nation, mirroring a similar move by Britain announced last week. Click here to read…

Nigeria: U.S. Approves $1 Billion Arms Sale Despite Human Rights Concerns

The United States has approved a nearly $1 billion weapons sale to Nigeria after lawmakers had put a hold on the deal over concerns about possible human rights abuses by the Nigerian government. Click here to read…

France says Russian mercenaries staged ‘French atrocity’ in Mali

Russian mercenaries buried bodies near a Malian military base to falsely accuse France’s departing forces of leaving behind mass graves, the French military has claimed. Click here to read…

De Mistura plans tour in new quest for Western Sahara settlement

UN envoy to Western Sahara Staffan de Mistura announced his intent to undertake a second tour in the region for talks with the parties involved in the Western Sahara dispute. Click here to read…

Italy Signs Gas Deals in Angola, Congo to Cut Russia Ties

Italy struck new deals to boost natural gas imports from Angola and the Republic of Congo as Mario Draghi’s government rushes to cut energy dependence on Russia. Click here to read…

Algeria struggles to meet rising demand for its gas after Russian invasion of Ukraine

This could have been Algeria’s moment: Europe’s efforts to wean itself off Russian gas should have provided the north African country with a golden opportunity to maximise exports and carve out a bigger share of the continent’s energy market. Click here to read…

Libya oil company says field closed amid political impasse

Libya’s national oil company said Sunday it was forced to shut down an oil field amid a political impasse that threatened to drag the North African nation back into armed conflict. Click here to read…

Tunisian President Saied seizes control of electoral commission

Tunisia’s president has seized control of the country’s election commission, saying he would replace most of its members in a move that will entrench his one-man rule and cast doubt on electoral integrity. Click here to read…

Cameroon signs agreement with Russia in further boost to military ties

Cameroonian Defence Minister Joseph Beti Assomo has signed a military cooperation agreement in Moscow with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Choigou, as Wagner mercenaries are boosting Russia’s influence in West Africa. Click here to read…

Sudan: Anti-coup voices being silenced to subdue the resistance

The international community should not turn a blind eye to the ongoing human rights crisis in Sudan. Click here to read…

Somalia: At least six killed in Mogadishu attack near beach

Six people have been killed in a blast at a seaside restaurant in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, an ambulance service official said. Click here to read…

Nigeria to hold 1st census in 17 years after security delay

Nigeria’s first census in 17 years will be conducted in 2023 in order to try to accurately survey its population, estimated at more than 200 million and the largest in Africa, the head of the national population agency announced Thursday. Click here to read…

MSF worker, dozens of civilians killed in fighting in South Sudan

Dozens of civilians, including a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) worker, have been killed in the ongoing fighting in South Sudan’s Unity state, the medical charity has confirmed. Click here to read…

South Africa’s EFF leads peaceful protests at Eswatini borders

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), South Africa’s third-largest political party, has organised peaceful protests along the country’s borders in the KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga provinces with the neighbouring Eswatini. Click here to read…

East African Nations Agree on Force to Fight Congo Armed Groups

Leaders from four East African nations and the Democratic Republic of Congo agreed to form a regional force that will fight armed groups in eastern Congo. Click here to read…

Africa’s Last Absolute Monarchy Revives Airline After 23 Years
Eswatini, Africa’s last absolute monarchy, is set to launch a flag-carrier airline almost a quarter of a century after the previous one ceased operation in the country formerly known as Swaziland. Click here to read…

South Africa allocates $67 mn in relief for Durban flooding; 443 dead

Declaring a national state of disaster, South Africa has allocated $67 million to help those hit by floods that have killed at least 443 people in the eastern city of Durban and the surrounding Kwazulu-Natal province. Click here to read…

Google to Set Up Its First Africa Product Development Centre in Kenya

Alphabet Inc’s Google is investing in its first ever Africa product development centre in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, it said, as it positions itself to serve a growing base of internet users on the continent. Click here to read…

Mali junta says sticking to two-year transition

Mali’s ruling junta has announced the launch of a two-year transition “process” before elections are held, in defiance of West African bloc partners. Click here to read…

Ivory Coast: Achi reappointed PM, regional bank chief named VP

President Alassane Ouattara accepted the resignation of his entire cabinet last week ahead of a government reshuffle. Click here to read…

Chad: How Much Longer Will the Military Council Stay

One year ago, Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno was killed in clashes between rebels and government forces in Western Kanem province. Click here to read…

Two Morocco, Japanese Trade Agreements Enter into Force on Friday

Morocco’s embassy in Tokyo, Japan, celebrated on Friday the official start of two trade agreements that Morocco and Japan had originally signed in January 2020Click here to read…

Former Guinea president Conde released from house arrest

Guinea’s deposed president Alpha Conde has been released from house arrest and can receive visitors, including family members, the ruling military government announced. Click here to read…

ICC entreat Guinea-Bissau Membership
The president of the International Criminal Court urges Guinea-Bissau to become a member as proof of the unstable West African nation’s commitment to peace. Click here to read…

Former Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki dies at 90

Former Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki, who led the country from 2002 to 2013, has died at 90. Click here to read…

Former Botswana president faces criminal charges

Former Botswana president Ian Khama was summoned to appear before a court on Thursday to face multiple criminal charges. Click here to read…

Malawi solar mini-grid shows promise as way of electrifying rural Africa

Development experts say village-level solar power is a more promising way of bringing electricity to Africa’s remotest areas than conventional grids, which often do not reach them, tend to prioritise more privileged neighbourhoods and are often powered by polluting fossil-fuel generation. Click here to read…

Egyptian students enjoy broader chances to learn Chinese

In Egypt, the ways to learn Chinese have become increasingly diverse and considerate towards local youngsters who are willing to challenge themselves with the language famed for profoundness and splendid culture. Click here to read…

The African Union Must Ask What Space Can Do for Africa

The African outer space programme is a means to meet the ends of other flagship programmes in Agenda 2063 and needs more attention from the African Union. Click here to read…

Chinese envoy arrives in Zambia as another debt crisis looms for Lusaka

Zambia’s debt troubles will be the biggest headache for the new Chinese ambassador to Lusaka, who arrived on Sunday with a promise to “strengthen the friendly ties the two countries have enjoyed over the years”.Click here to read…

Morocco, Mauritania Keen to Consolidate Diplomatic, Economic Relations

Morocco and Mauritania have reiterated their commitment to advance diplomatic and economic relations to address issues of shared interest. Click here to read…

Tanzania, US sign investment agreements worth Sh11.7 trillion

Tanzania and the US have on Friday April 22, signed Seven agreements for business projects which are set to be implemented in Tanzania by investors and companies from the United States of America. Click here to read…

New Ebola case confirmed in Congo’s west Equateur province

A new Ebola case has been confirmed in Congo’s northwest Equateur Province in the city of Mbandaka, Congo health authorities said Saturday, declaring an outbreak nearly four months after the last one ended in the central African nation. Click here to read…

Russian mercenaries accused of human rights abuses in Central African Republic

When reports emerged that mercenaries from the Russian security company the Wagner Group were being sent to Ukraine, the people of the Central African Republic knew just what that meant. Click here to read…

INDIA IN AFRICA

UP CM Yogi Adityanath and Mauritius PM meet in Varanasi, discuss areas of cooperation

In an almost hour-long discussion held between the two, the CM promised Jagannath cooperation in helping natives of Mauritius with Indian origins connect to their roots. He also invited Mauritian investors to invest in the state as well as participate in the Global Investors Summit proposed to be held in the state soon. Click here to read…

UP can play prime role in economies of India, Mauritius: Yogi to Jugnauth

Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath met Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, at Hotel Taj here on Friday. Click here to read…

EAM S Jaishankar calls on Mauritius PM Pravind Kumar Jugnauth

External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on Saturday called on the Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, who is on an eight-day visit to India to strengthen bilateral ties, in New Delhi. Click here to read…

Symbiosis School of International Studies launches M.A. programme in African Studies (Geo-economics and Foreign Policy)

Symbiosis School of International Studies (SSIS) has launched a Masters of Arts in African Studies (Geo-economics and Foreign Policy) that offers a holistic understanding of the African continent and its relation with major countries in the world. Click here to read…

Navy chief pays 3-day visit to Seychelles

Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar has held extensive talks with the top civilian and military brass of Seychelles to further boost bilateral maritime security cooperation in the Indian Ocean region. Click here to read…

Indian Navy Conducts Sail Training Capsule for South Africa Navy Officers

Indian Navy conducted a Sail Training capsule of three weeks duration for officers’ trainees (Sub Lieutenants) of Republic of South Africa Navy (RSAN) at Ocean Sailing Node (OSN) of Indian Navy at INS Mandovi, Goa from 28 Mar 22 to 16 Apr 22. Click here to read…

Chief Election Commissioner urges members of Indian Community to register as overseas voters

Chief Election Commissioner of India, Sushil Chandra urged Indian Community living in South Africa and Mauritius to register as overseas voters. Click here to read…

Kenyan Envoy Seeks Investment from India

Ambassador of Kenya, Willy Bet on Tuesday sought Indian investments to the African country in various sectors ranging from oil to healthcare. Click here to read…

Ghana Invites Indian Companies to Explore Investment Avenues In Mineral Refining

West African nation Ghana has invited Indian companies to invest in mineral refining capacity including gold, bauxite, lithium, diamond, crude oil and manganese. Click here to read…

At AYUSH summit, PM Modi tells how Ayurveda helped ex-Kenyan PM’s daughter regain eyesight

“It has been a struggle since I lost my vision in 2017. I have been to China and other countries and undergone various treatment modalities like acupuncture. Nothing seemed to have helped,” says Rosemary Odinga, daughter of former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga. Click here to read…

Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Hari Kumar visits the Seychelles to boost bilateral defence cooperation

Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral R. Hari Kumar, now on his maiden overseas visit since taking over the mantle of the CNS, visited the Indian Ocean archipelago of Seychelles on a three-day visit starting April 21. Click here to read…

Postal ballot facility for NRIs being contemplated: Chief Election Commissioner

Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra urged Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to register as overseas electors and told them about a proposal on postal ballots for NRIs being contemplated during a recent visit to South Africa and Mauritius, the Election Commission (EC) said on Friday. Click here to read…

Bolloré Africa Logistics acquisition expands MSC’s India presence

The acquisition gives MSC presence at Dakshin Bharat Gateway Terminal secures it a “growth-oriented” container-handling foothold on India’s east coast. Click here to read…

Watch video: How Indian Railways Modern Coach Factory is giving boost to Atmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India

The Modern Coach Factory got an order to manufacture as many as 90 rail coaches for Mozambique. Click here to read…

Tanzania: Mwinyi Appreciates India’s Support to Isles Development
President Hussein Mwinyi has commended the efforts taken by the Indian Embassy in Tanzania in supporting Zanzibar to implement its development projects, including the improvements of water supply for domestic use in the islands. Click here to read…

‘Earlier I couldn’t see, now I can’: Ex Kenya PM’s daughter praises Ayurveda

The comment came in the backdrop of the World Health Organisation launching its Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (GCTM) in Jamnagar in Gujarat a day ago. Click here to read…

African Swine Fever: Tripura to order culling of pigs in Sepahijala farm

After African Swine Fever cases were reported in a breeding farm in Sepahijala district, the Tripura government on Wednesday decided to go in for mass culling of infected pigs at the farm. Click here to read…

Indian Embassy in Madagascar holds plantation drive on Earth Day

Indian Embassy in Madagascar organised a plantation drive with over 200 saplings of native trees to mark the 52nd Earth Day on Friday. Click here to read…

Cheap Indian wheat faces quality checks, high freight cost for Egypt export

Indian wheat could offer a cheaper option for top importer Egypt but will have to overcome quality controls set by the country’s agriculture ministry as well as higher freight costs. Click here to read…

After her recovery, India repatriates Seychelles Coast Guard sailor who had mid-sea medical emergency

India has repatriated a woman sailor of the Seychelles Coast Guard, for whom India provided mid-sea assistance and medical evacuation during an emergency, while she was off India’s Western coast, near Lakshadweep. Click here to read…

Powering Electric Two- and Three-Wheelers with Rural Minigrids in Nigeria and India

Imagine a future where a restauranteur in rural Nigeria flips on her shop lights and pulls cold beers from the fridge as the evening crowd trickles inClick here to read…

Five held in Seychelles: Fishers want MEA to intervene

International Fishermen Development Trust (INFIDET) President P Justin Antony sent a representation to the Indian External Affairs Minister on Wednesday requesting a diplomatic talk between India and Seychelles for the release of five fishing captains and their vessels. Click here to read…

Africa Now – Weekly Newsletter (Week 16, 2022)

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

COMMENTARY

Africa’s dilemma in the Russia-Ukraine crisis

On March 2, the UNGA in New York voted on a resolution calling for the withdrawal of the Russian military from Ukraine; 141 countries out of 193 voted in favour of the resolution criticising Russia during the summit. Click here to read…

NEWS

UK to give illegal migrants a one-way ticket to Rwanda

British Home Secretary Priti Patel in the Central African nation to sign the controversial deal condemned by critics as shameful. Click here to read…

New Members of Somalia’s Parliament Sworn In

More than 80% of Somalia’s new parliament members were sworn in Thursday, following repeated poll delays and an ongoing feud between the president and the prime minister. Click here to read…

Ivory Coast prime minister and government resign

President Alassane Ouattara accepts resignation and says he plans to slim down the size of the cabinet, with appointments to be made next week. Click here to read…

DRC: M23 rebels ready to retreat from captured villages

The March 23 Movement (M23) rebellion announced on Sunday its withdrawal from the villages that came under its control at the end of the week in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Click here to read…

Germany tells Mali to halt work with Russian mercenaries

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also made continued German support contingent upon holding fresh elections during a trip to the crisis-ridden state. The military junta has postponed elections for at least five years. Click here to read…

Departure of second US envoy for Horn of Africa exposes Ethiopia and Sudan policy rifts

Disagreements within the State Department are understood to have hindered David Satterfield, making him the second ambassador to leave the position. Click here to read…

Algeria accuses Morocco of killing three in Western Sahara

Algeria accused its neighbour Morocco of killing three people in an attack on the edge of the contested territory of Western Sahara on April 12. Click here to read…

Gambia: National Assembly to Swear in Newly Elected Members Today

The National Assembly of the Gambia will today 14th April 2022, swear in the newly elected members, marking the beginning of the Sixth Legislature. Click here to read…

Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa is losing key allies who sanitised the military coup

After coming to power through a military coup that ousted long-time ruler Robert Mugabe in November 2017, President Emmerson Mnangagwa attracted businesspeople both at home and abroad with his mantra: Zimbabwe is ‘open for business’. Click here to read…

Uganda to be blacklisted over money laundering – Reports

Uganda’s financial industry risks being blacklisted by international systems for failure to put in place measures that can effectively prevent financial crimes like money laundering. Click here to read…

South Sudan President Kiir integrates rival’s officers into army

A unified army is a central pillar of the long-running peace process in the world’s youngest nation. Click here to read…

US approves arms sale to Nigeria despite human rights concerns

The United States has approved a nearly $1bn weapons sale to Nigeria after legislators had put a hold on the deal over concerns about possible human rights abuses by the Nigerian government. Click here to read…

Egypt steps up support to Sudan ahead of Nile dam third filling

Egypt sent aid and logistical and humanitarian support to Sudan as the two countries stress the need to continue consultations and mutual coordination on Ethiopia’s controversial Nile dam. Click here to read…

395 dead, dozens missing after ‘apocalyptic’ floods batter South Africa

“Sadly, the number of fatalities continues to increase with the latest figure standing at 395,” regional head of the disaster managing ministry Sipho Hlomuka said in a statement. Click here to read…

Democratic Republic of Congo invites Big Oil to world’s second-largest rainforest

The DRC government gave the green signal to auction 16 oil blocks in Cuvette Centrale, a sensitive ecosystem in the Congo rainforest, last week. Click here to read…

Draghi Bets on Africa for Italy’s Exit from Russian Gas

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is chasing a raft of natural gas deals in Africa as he seeks to cut energy ties with Russia. Click here to read…

Italy and Spain Hold Talks to Head Off Tension Over Algerian Gas

Diplomats from Italy and Spain are holding talks after Rome’s move to secure large volumes of Algerian gas stoked concerns in Madrid that its own access to the key fuel could be affected, according to people familiar with the situation. Click here to read…

Italy to Buy More Algerian Gas in Bid to Cut Russia Reliance

Italy will boost natural gas imports from Algeria as the European country seeks to reduce its dependence on Russian energy following the invasion of UkraineClick here to read…

Morocco considers onshore, offshore options for LNG import facility

Morocco is studying options at several ports to build a floating or land-based facility to import liquefied natural gas (LNG), Energy Minister Leila Benali said on Friday. Click here to read…

75 Years of Operations: A Brief History of Sudan Airways

Sudan Airways is one of the oldest African airlines in operation, but there’s a reason you don’t see it too often. Click here to read…

Tunisia offers to sell its shares in Nouvlair airline firm

Tunisia on Friday offered for sale its shares in the Nouvlair airline company confiscated from a son-in-law of late President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali who was toppled in the 2011 uprising, Karama Holding Company said. Click here to read…

Africa’s Narco-State: An Attempted Coup and Drug Trafficking in Guinea-Bissau

On February 1, 2022, men armed with machine guns and assault rifles attacked the presidential palace in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau. Click here to read…

Coup: Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea given timelines to return to democratic rule

An extraordinary meeting of the ECOWAS Commission has ended in Accra with heads of states giving extended timelines to the coup countries of Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea to initiate processes towards the return to democratic and constitutional rule. Click here to read…

Russians unlikely to leave Libya, despite Ukraine war

Despite rumours that Russia’s Wagner will fight in Ukraine, analysts expect the paramilitary group to stay in Libya. Click here to read…

Brutal murder highlights rise of South Africa’s xenophobic vigilantes

Organised groups fill gap with violence as authority of ruling African National Congress wanes. Click here to read…

Prayers but no peace talks: Chad rivals bide time in Qatar

In the month since Chadian rebels and envoys of the military government started peace talks in Qatar, the two sides have prayed together most days but refused to face each other across the negotiating table. Click here to read…

Guinea junta turns up the heat on bauxite miners

The military junta that took control of Guinea in September is heaping pressure on multinational miners to refine raw bauxite, a raw material used to make aluminium, to more advanced materials before export. Click here to read…

Angola sets its sights on the global coffee market

Angolan coffee is a brew long coveted by aficionados around the world. In the 1970s, around a quarter of a million tonnes of this original Angolan black gold was produced a year. Click here to read…

Botswana detects new coronavirus variant

A new variant of Covid-19 discovered in Botswana is believed to be a mutation of the Omicron variant first detected in southern Africa late last year. Click here to read…

Kenya Airways Gets a Government Bailout To Allow Reorganization

Kenya Airways will receive another round of help from the government as it battles extreme financial struggles to stay afloat. The state treasury will loosen its purse strings once again just weeks after approving more than $170 million for the airline. Click here to read…

Africa’s dilemma in the Russia-Ukraine crisis

On February 24, as Russia began its air and missile assaults in Ukraine’s Donbas area, it escalated into a full-fledged war. Most western countries condemned the attack, and economic measures were imposed. Click here to read…

Ethiopia: Seizing the fragile opening for peace

While the situation remains fragile, the conditions for peace seem to have ripened in Ethiopia. Click here to read…

Africa investors reveal agribusiness opportunities in Zambia, Ghana and beyond

The local production of processed food items that are currently imported presents attractive opportunities in Zambia, according to Tue Nyboe Andersen, managing director of Lusaka-based Kukula Capital. Click here to read…

Cameroon Cholera vaccination campaign ends

A Cameroon five-day campaign to complete cholera vaccination for over 800,000 Cameroonians concludes today. Click here to read…

Turkey says normalising relations with Egypt ‘vital’

“Relations with Egypt must be improved. The two countries’ ties are significant for many regions. Reciprocal reappointment of ambassadors is possible,” Click here to read…

Draghi Heads to Algeria as Italy Seeks to Cut Russia Gas Imports

Mario Draghi will visit Algeria on Monday as part of a plan to wean Italy off Russian natural gas. Click here to read…

Zambia Starts Mass Export of Avocados to Europe

Zambia has started the mass export of avocados to Europe with the first consignment of over 37 tons, a senior government official said Friday. Click here to read…

Togo: Government allocates new monthly allowance for preschool and primary school directors

In Togo, the State will now allocate a new monthly allowance of 12,000 CFA francs to directors of preschools and public elementary schools. Click here to read…

Niger welcomes German Foreign minsiter

After visiting Mali, Germany’s top diplomat ANNELINA BERBOCK was in Niger as part of her tour to strengthen her country’s relations with leaders in the Sahel region. Click here to read…

Gota’s gotta go, Lankans say, Destination Uganda?

Visitors to one of the many homes of the embattled President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa — now facing a wave of street protests over a crippling economic meltdown — almost always stop to admire an unusual ‘aquarium’ in the living room. Click here to read…

Tanzania’s First Female President Wants to Bring Her Nation in From the Cold

Samia Suluhu Hassan became the only female head of government in Africa when her predecessor suddenly died. She is setting a new course. Click here to read…

South African army extends mission against Mozambique rebels

The deployment of South Africa’s military in northern Mozambique has been extended while its role has shifted from aggressively fighting Islamic extremist rebels to a peacekeeping effort. Click here to read…

INDIA IN AFRICA

Biden nominates Indian-American diplomat Rachna Sachdeva as his envoy for Mali

US President Joe Biden has nominated Indian-American diplomat Rachna Sachdeva Korhonen as his envoy to Mali, the White House has said, the third such nomination of an Indian-American in over a month. Click here to read…

India-Kenya conducts round 2 of foreign office consultations, reviews bilateral ties

In a key development, India and Kenya held the second round of Foreign Office Consultations (FoC) and reviewed the bilateral relations in areas including politics and finance. Click here to read…

Egypt turns to India for wheat

Egypt has agreed to buy wheat from India following disruption in supplies because of the Ukraine war. The African nation is looking to import 1 million tonnes (mt) from India, with an order for 240,000 tonnes in April. Click here to read…

Ghana India Trade Advisory Chamber to support Youth in Agriculture

Mr Dominic Oduro-Antwi, the President of the Ghana India Trade Advisory Chamber, said the Chamber is ready to support and provide direction for the public, especially the youth, willing to venture into agriculture. Click here to read…

India’s Haryana state explores textile trade opportunities in Ethiopia

Indian state of Haryana will soon begin consultations with textile industry to explore the feasibility of trade and investment with Ethiopia. Click here to read…

Egypt has approved India as a wheat supplier: Goyal

Egypt, one of the top importers of wheat from Russia and Ukraine, has approved India as a wheat supplier, commerce minister Piyush Goyal said on Friday. Click here to read…

India Teams with African Island Nation Madagascar to Fight Climate Change

Madagascar, the fourth-largest island in the world, is one its lowest emitters of carbon dioxide. Nevertheless, it is experiencing the cataclysmic effects of climate change first hand. Click here to read…

Indian Navy evacuates sick Seychelles Coast Guard official

The Indian Navy evacuated a crew member of a Seychelles Coast Guard ship after she reported a health problem when the vessel was on a voyage from Kochi to Victoria on Thursday, April 14. Click here to read…

Six Nigerian Army officers to get advanced flying training in India

This marks the continuation of a contract signed in April 2021 for imparting Phase-I flying training to six Nigerian Army aviation officers, which was successfully executed in December 2021. Click here to read…

EU defends IP waiver compromise amid pressure on India, South Africa to reject it

A broad international platform of activists, unions and experts has urged India and South Africa to reject the leaked compromise on intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines, which the European Commission considers the ‘most promising path’ to resolve the issue. Click here to read…

Industry Experts discuss the growth and future of Fintech in Nigeria and India in symposium by CLI College, Nigeria and Christ University, India

There are over 200 FinTech companies in Nigeria offering financial solutions and inclusion for Nigerians and indeed Africans. Click here to read…

‘Indianish but not Indian’ describes Mauritius best

From garam masala made with Madagascar spices to fritters stuffed with prawns and béchamel sauce, local meals in Mauritius are familiar yet so exotic. Click here to read…

India’s tech geeks face bleak future in Tanzania

For 34-year-old Maisam Raj, the biggest challenge of his job as a creative head at Jema Printers in Tanzania’s bustling city of Dar es Salaam is not the complex logos and designs he has to create to impress corporate customers, but the number of hours he must toil every day to get things done. Click here to read…

To counter China, India-US strengthen Western Indian Ocean partnership

This week, the foreign and defence ministers from India and the United States (US) met for a 2+2 meeting in Washington DC. Click here to read…

Africa Now – Weekly Newsletter (Week 15, 2022)

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

COMMENTARY

Justice for Thomas Sankara

This week, Blaise Compaoré was jailed for his role in the murder of Burkinabe revolutionary Thomas Sankara –but real justice can only be won by a movement that fights to bring Sankara’s socialist vision back to life. Click here to read…

Corridor in uncertainty

The Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, a joint initiative of India and Japan, was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a meeting of the African Development Bank in 2017Click here to read…

NEWS

Morocco, Spain mend ties after change in policy on Western Sahara

Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez and Moroccan King Mohammad VI met in Rabat after a year of tense relations. Spain said it backed the kingdom’s plan of limited autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty for Western Sahara. Click here to read…

EXCLUSIVE- Draft Sudan deal seeks to cement military’s grip

Factions aligned with Sudan’s military have drawn up a deal to form a transitional government that would cement the army’s control and bypass pro-democracy groups it shared power with before an October coup. Click here to read…

Russia blocks UN security council request for investigation into Moura massacre

A UN Security Council request for independent investigations into the alleged Moura massacre in Mali has been blocked by Russia. Click here to read…

Despite a recent agreement, new clashes broke out between supporters of South Sudan’s rivals

Less than a week days after a major agreement was sealed between South Sudan’s rival leaders, fighting erupted in the North of the country. Click here to read…

Sparring Somali leaders now at odds over expulsion of African Union envoy

Somalia’s prime minister on Thursday expelled the African Union representative because of “acts incompatible with his status” but the president rejected the order, signalling a new rift between the leaders of the Horn of Africa nation. Click here to read…

Tunisia to compensate victims of revolution

Tunisian President Kais Saied, facing political and economic crisis and accusations that he took power in a coup, announced compensation on Sunday for the families of those killed and wounded in the 2011 revolution that brought democracy to the country. Click here to read…

DR Congo’s Tshisekedi signs EAC Treaty

Tshisekedi’s accession signature immediately brought the DR Congo into the realms and provisions of all the protocols and regional policies of the EAC. Click here to read…

Nigeria’s electricity grid collapses for the second time in a month

Nigeria’s national electricity grid has collapsed for the second time in a month, the federal ministry of power said on Saturday, leaving the parts of the country it serves, including capital Abuja and Africa’s biggest city Lagos, without power. Click here to read…

Burkina ex-president moved to home after house arrest

Burkina Faso’s military-led government said in a statement that former president Kabore would return to his home after house arrest. Click here to read…

Eastern Libyan military commanders urge closure of road to west

Military commanders in eastern Libya said on Saturday they had suspended participation in a U.N.-backed joint military council, accusing the Tripoli-based government of failing to hand power to a new cabinet and calling for the road west to be closed. Click here to read…

The Gambia votes for a new National Assembly

Gambians to vote for 53 legislators on a five-year term, with President Barrow picking five others, including the parliament’s president. Click here to read…

What is happening with Chad’s peace talks in Doha?

About 300 rebels landed in the Qatari capital, seeking a peace deal, but find themselves in a curious cohabitation. Click here to read…

Guinea junta chiefs warns mining giants over inequality

The head of Guinea’s ruling junta, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, has warned foreign mining companies to build processing factories locally and to share revenues with the country equally. Click here to read…

Angola: UN Supports Angola’s Transition to Middle Income Country

The resident coordinator of the United Nations in Angola Zahira Virami reaffirmed Wednesday the support of the UN system in the preparation process of Angola’s transition from Least Developed Country to Middle Income Country. Click here to read…

New COVID-19 variant discovered in Botswana

A new COVID-19 variant has been discovered in Botswana, a government official said. The new variant, which has characteristics of both the Alpha and Delta variants, has yet to be named. Click here to read…

Kenya’s Odinga running his fifth presidential race. Why outcome means so much for Kenya

“Odinga has a common touch that resonates with Kenyans who have felt locked out of the power matrix controlled by two ethnic groups.” Click here to read…

Life sentence for Burkinabe ex-leader Compaoré for Sankara murder

The long-awaited verdict brings to close a six-month trial for the assassination of Thomas Sankara on October 15, 1987. Click here to read…

Separatist commander killed in infighting in Cameroon’s restive Anglophone region

Security and local sources said on Saturday that a notorious separatist commander has been killed in Cameroon’s war-torn Anglophone region of Northwest in clashes between rival separatist groups. Click here to read…

Ghana on high alert against terrorist attacks – Minister of National Security assures

The Minister of National Security, Albert Kan-Dapaah, has given the assurance that the country will be able to respond and ward off any terrorist attacks in the country. Click here to read…

Coptic Christian Priest Killed in Egypt’s Alexandria

On Thursday 7 April 2022, the Ministry of Interior announced on its official Facebook page the arrest of a 60-year-old man who stabbed an archpriest to death in Alexandria. Click here to read…

US Alarmed by Reports of Atrocities in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region

The United States expressed concern Friday about reports of ethnically motivated atrocities in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. Click here to read…

Draghi Heads to Algeria as Italy Seeks to Cut Russia Gas Imports

Mario Draghi will visit Algeria on Monday as part of a plan to wean Italy off Russian natural gas. Click here to read…

Zambia’s President Hichilema goes eight months without salary

The Zambian leader, who was elected into office last August, says a salary was not his motivation for seeking public office. Click here to read…

Togo dismisses more teachers in new dispute with teachers’ union

The Togolese government has dismissed nine teachers, within a week of firing 137 others, even as the teacher’s union continues to demand that the Faure Gnassigbe administration honour its promises to them. Click here to read…

The problem with gaming in Uganda

The gaming industry in Uganda is highly informal, with individual-owned gaming parlours charging per hour of game time. However, the opportunity is huge. Click here to read…

Tanzania commemorates 100 years of founding leader Julius Nyerere

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Saturday joined fellow citizens in commemorating 100 years of the birth of founding leader Julius Nyerere. Click here to read…

Negotiating Local Business Practices with China in Benin

Beninese officials have shown how even small countries can use close coordination between ministries and other negotiating tactics to strike deals with Chinese counterparts that better protect their own interests. Click here to read…

Mozambique: All eyes on suitors as they await news on bid round qualification

Thirteen players — including two from Russia — will hear this week if they have succeeded in their plans to take part in Mozambique’s upcoming licensing round. Click here to read…

29,000 COVID-19 Vaccines Expired in Botswana: Official

At least 29,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have already expired and some will expire at the end of April in Botswana, an official said Saturday. Click here to read…

INDIA IN AFRICA

Haryana signs collaboration deal with Ethiopia to strengthen trade, investment ties

The FFC was signed by Haryana’s Principal Secretary Yogender Choudhary and Ethiopian Ambassador Dr Tizita Mulugeta. Click here to read…

India, Kenya holds 2nd Foreign Office Consultations, review bilateral relations

India and Kenya on Friday held the 2nd round of Foreign Office Consultations (FoC) and reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations including political and economicClick here to read…

MoU with Congo-based foundation

MS University has signed an MoU with the Vinmart Foundation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for our scholarships to students of Congo who will be coming to Vadodara to pursue higher education. Click here to read…

Haryana, Ethiopian panel sign trade framework

During the two-day meeting of the Haryana-Ethiopia Investment Commission (EIC), a framework of collaboration (FFC) was signed between Haryana and the EIC. Click here to read…

Madagascar joins India-backed Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure

Madagascar has become the 30th country to join the India-backed Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) that aims to help small island nations develop resilience to deal with the adverse impact of climate change. Click here to read…

Fishermen team meets Kanimozhi for release of five captains from Seychelles

Thoothukudi MP and DMK leader Kanimozhi has assured a delegation from the International Fishermen Development Trust (INFIDET) that she will take efforts for the release of five captains and their boats detained in Seychelles. Click here to read…

Rwandans in India pay tribute to genocide victims

The Rwandan High Commission in New Delhi, India in collaboration with the India Africa Trade Council commemorated the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi on April 7Click here to read…

Why India’s beautiful flowers miss the plane of exports while Kenya & Ethiopia fly high

Ethiopia and Kenya have promoted floriculture in key markets, offered tax holidays, organised producers and worked to create infrastructure for farmers. Click here to read…

Why is a dragon carved on Jain temple in Mangalore? Medieval Africa-China trade holds answer

While many of us have heard of Indian interactions with Southeast Asia and China, or even Arabia, Africa is a gaping hole in how we think about premodern trade. But it was one of the most prosperous. Click here to read…

Review: India-Africa Relations: Changing Horizons by Rajiv Bhatia

A meticulously detailed book that tells us why Africa matters so much to India and presents good suggestions on how the India-Africa relationship should be enhanced and pushed ahead. Click here to read…

Chibuzor, who once ruled Kolkata football, dies in Nigeria

Nigerian striker Chibuzor Nwakanma – the first foreigner to play for Kolkata’s big three clubs and whose unique nose for goals often set the field afire with his special somersault celebration – is no more. Click here to read…

Egyptian Govt expresses interest to buy Indian wheat

Team from Cairo to visit New Delhi next week, to inspect facilities for imports by supplies and commodities authorityClick here to read…

Nigeria Exports Crude Oil worth NGN774.5 Bln to India in 4Q

Nigeria exported crude oil worth 774.5 billion Nigerian naira ($1.86 billion) to India in the fourth quarter of 2021, the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics said in a report. Click here to read…

Paree Sanitary Pads Eyes Global Expansion, Enters Tanzania, Africa, and Nepal

With an objective to cater to women’s needs and make sanitary pads easily accessible, Paree Sanitary Pad has now expanded its operations to Tanzania, Africa, and Nepal. Click here to read…

Indian community to strengthen economic relations with Ghana

The Indian community in Ghana has said it will expand business operations as part of efforts to boost investment and increase its economic relations with the country. Click here to read…

Africa Now – Weekly Newsletter (Week 12, 2022)

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

COMMENTARY

Russia-Ukraine Crisis: Where do African Countries Stand?

On 21st February 2022, President Vladimir Putin recognised the independence of Ukraine’s breakaway regions, Donetsk and Luhansk and decided to support Moscow-backed separatists with a military operation. Three days later, when Russia started its air and missile strikes in Ukraine’s Donbas region, it transformed into a full-blown war. Click here to read…

NEWS

Tensions rise in Libya as risk of ‘parallel governments’ grows, Security Council hears

Amid a political impasse that threatens to see Libya fractured again by two parallel governments, the priority must be maintaining hard-won gains and fulfilling the electoral aspirations of nearly three million registered voters. Click here to read…

Tanzania is getting a political remake as President Hassan eyes the 2025 polls

The sudden death of Tanzania’s populist president John Pombe Magufuli on 17 March 2021 catapulted his then little-known vice-president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, to the helm of political leadership. Click here to read…

Somalia delays election process again as deadline lapses

Somalia has again pushed back the deadline for completing lower house elections, delaying until March 31 a process that is already more than a year overdue and has resulted in political sanctions. Click here to read…

West African bloc says it won’t abandon Burkina Faso after coup

A representative of West Africa’s regional bloc said it would keep working with Burkina Faso despite concerns about the military’s plan to hold power for three years after a January coup. Click here to read…

Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan hold secret talks on GERD dispute in UAE

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan are holding secret talks mediated by the United Arab Emirates on the filing and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Click here to read…

Niger pushes for peace with jihadist talks

Niger is pressing ahead with an initiative to talk to jihadists whose attacks have shaken the country’s southwest, amid fears that a new wave of bloodshed lies ahead. Click here to read…

Sudan: Russian influence and Ukraine war stir domestic tensions

Officials courted Russian influence but the interference and the war in Ukraine are driving a wedge between its two most powerful men and stirring up domestic tensions. Click here to read…

Mali to suspend France 24 TV station and RFI radio

The Malian military government is moving to suspend broadcasts by French state-funded international RFI radio and France 24 television channel, accusing the news outlets of reporting “false allegations” that the army killed dozens of civilians. Click here to read…

‘Union will not remain silent’: Tunisia’s UGTT demands dialogue

Tunisia’s powerful UGTT labour union says it will not remain silent if authorities do not include it in negotiations over the country’s political and economic future, rejecting proposed reforms. Click here to read…

UK approves Rwandan envoy ahead of Commonwealth meet

The United Kingdom has approved Rwanda’s new envoy to the country, Johnston Busingye, despite calls from critics to London to reject the nomination. The approval comes three months before Kigali hosts the Commonwealth Head of Governments meeting slated on June 20. Click here to read…

Ambush and reprisals in western Ethiopia kill 64 – rights body

At least 53 people have died in western Ethiopia after an unidentified armed group attacked a civilian convoy and its military escort in a region plagued by ethnic violence. Click here to read…

South Africa’s Ramaphosa blames NATO for Russia’s war in Ukraine

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa blamed NATO for the war in Ukraine and said he would resist calls to condemn Russia, in comments that cast doubt over whether he would be accepted by Ukraine or the West as a mediator. Click here to read…

Russia, China Build Ties in Africa as U.S. Falls Behind

In a new “scramble for Africa”, Russia and China are cutting deals, extending loans, making friends and allies across the continent at a time when jihadists in many countries have posed a growing threat to citizens and national security forces. Click here to read…

US’s Blinken meets Ivory Coast PM to discuss trade, security

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has welcomed Patrick Achi, prime minister of Ivory Coast, for bilateral talks on a number of trade and security issues at the US Department of State. Click here to read…

Complementing Rafales, US Could Sell Its ‘Top Dogfighters’ to Egypt as Cairo Moves Away from Russian SU-35 Jets

The Biden administration is planning to approve the sale of F-15 Eagles to Egypt, a top US military official said. This comes despite speculation that Washington might cut military aid to Cairo due to concerns about Egypt’s human rights record. Click here to read…

Chad military gov’t, armed groups peace talks in Doha on hold

A first round of negotiations between Chad’s ruling transitional military council (TMC) and representatives of armed groups set to kick off in Doha, the Qatari capital, has been delayed by 48 hours. Click here to read…

Nigeria moving ahead on nuclear power plant plan

Speaking at the Nigerian International Energy Summit in Abuja earlier this month, Idris said that Nigeria had had a small nuclear research reactor in operation for 18 years “so if anyone tells you Nigeria can’t manage a nuclear power plant – they are just telling you a story”.Click here to read…

Italy Negotiates with Libya, Algeria for Renewable Energy Deal

Italy is currently holding negotiations with Libya and Algeria for the mobilization and development of renewable energy resources. The European country is looking to diversify its energy mix, adopting clean energy sources from renewable-rich countries in northern Africa. Click here to read…

Rebel attacks in eastern Congo kill more than 60

Suspected Islamist militants have killed more than 60 people over five days of attacks on villages in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, local residents said on Tuesday. Click here to read…

Western Sahara: Spain and Morocco near end to diplomatic row over disputed territory

Morocco and Spain have moved closer to resolving a decades-long dispute over Western Sahara. Spain’s Prime Minister stated that a proposed autonomous region under Rabat control is the “most serious, realistic and credible” solution, according to Morocco’s royal palace. Click here to read…

Cameroon’s separatist conflict spills into Nigeria

The peaceful Nigerian fishing village of Manga sits not far from Cameroon’s border, but its residents know all about the separatist war raging inside their West African neighbour. Click here to read…

What drives South Africa’s political violence?

South Africa has a history of political violence, including a culture of violent protests and political killings. Historically, the violence is rooted in diverse drivers such as ethnic and tribal differences, and political intolerance. Click here to read…

The Chagos archipelago: Between British colonial past, American interests and Mauritian sovereignty

Last month, while global attention was fixated on the Ukraine crisis, Mauritius sent an expedition, a first of its kind, to the Chagos archipelago, also known as the Chagos Islands. Click here to read…

OIC Africa Group in Solid Support of Gambia Hosting Summit

In response to false and misleading rumours emerging largely on social media, The Gambia OIC Secretariat wishes to inform the public that The Gambia maintains its role as the rightful host of the next OIC Heads of State and Governments Summit. Click here to read…

African Countries Build Capacity on Cyber security

Sixty-five participants from 32 countries are attending a forum in Accra to promote cybersecurity capacity building in Africa. Dubbed Africa Cyber Experts (ACE) Community Kick-Off Meeting, it is on the theme “Setting the Scene for Cybersecurity Status in Africa.” Click here to read…

President of Guinea-Bissau says he stands firm in his post

The President of Guinea-Bissau said on Thursday that the Guinean State is still standing and that he remains firm in his post. The president’s speech, delivered on Thursday, takes place after the attempted coup on the 1st of February. Click here to read…

Eswatini Air adds first aircraft, an E145

Eswatini Air – the new regional airline brand of state-owned Royal Eswatini National Airways (RENAC) – plans to debut by the end of 2Q22 on Southern African regional routes using two EMB-145EPs. Click here to read…

How China-African trade may evolve

China is taking a more cautious approach to trade and investment in Africa and shifting its focus from governments to multilateral institutions. Click here to read…

Uganda bids to host Africa drugs agency

Uganda has the required capacity to host the African Medicine Agency (AMA) following its investments in developing and manufacturing drugs over the years. Click here to read…

Kenya Receives A $750 Million Boost to Support Economic Transformation Post-Pandemic

In an effort to help accelerate Kenya’s ongoing inclusive and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, the World Bank has approved a $750 million Development Policy Operation (DPO) that will help strengthen fiscal sustainability through reforms that contribute to greater transparency and the fight against corruption. Click here to read…

Mauritania says fight against slavery an ‘irreversible priority’

Fighting slavery in Mauritania is “a constant and irreversible” priority for the authorities, one of the country’s top rights officials said Wednesday, in a rare public comment on the issue there. Click here to read…

Talks underway to resume iron ore project in Guinea

Company representatives and officials are actively seeking a joint solution to a quick resumption of work at the Simandou project in Guinea, which has the world’s largest untapped iron ore reserves, the Global Times has learned. Click here to read…

Zambia’s late former President Rupiah Banda buried

Zambian late former President Rupiah Banda, who ruled from 2008 to 2011 and died at 85 last week after a battle with cancer, was buried at Embassy Park in Lusaka, the capital. Click here to read…

Mozambique: Cyclone Gombe death toll rises to 53

Tropical Cyclone Gombe has killed at least 53 people since it hit Mozambique a week ago, a sharp rise from earlier estimates. Click here to read…

INDIA IN AFRICA

‘Green Triangle’ named after Mahatma Gandhi inaugurated in Madagascar’s capital as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav

As part of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ to commemorate India’s 75th year of independence, a “Green Triangle” named after Mahatma Gandhi was jointly inaugurated in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo. Click here to read…

Delegation from Telangana announced for Namibia for diamonds and pharma sectors

The India Africa Trade Council organized the India Namibia Summit which was attended by the Business community in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Click here to read…

Indian-American Puneet Talwar Appointed New US Ambassador to Morocco

US President Joe Biden on Friday announced Indian American Puneet Talwar for Ambassador of Morocco as part of some key nominations for his administration, a White House press release said. Click here to read…

India, Namibia committed to partnership in pharma sector

Trade between India and Namibia stood at approximately $80 million in the last few years. Namibia imports drugs and pharmaceuticals, chemicals and agricultural machinery from India. Click here to read…

South Africa Tourism aims at 64% rise in arrivals from India

With 48 per cent of the total Indian visitors to South Africa travelling from Mumbai, the city is the leading source market for South African Tourism in India. Click here to read…

South Africa to soon start e-visa facility for Indian travellers

The South African Tourism Board has recently expressed that it’s eyeing 64% year-on-year growth in arrivals from India this year. Click here to read…

2022 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports launched in India at Rs 16.01 lakh, bookings open

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India announced today that bookings for the new 2022 Africa Twin Adventure Sports are now open in India at Honda’s exclusive Big Wing Topline dealerships. Click here to read…

South Africa, India, EU, US reach compromise on Covid-19 vaccine patent

Any agreement must be accepted by the WTO’s 164 member countries in order to be adopted. If one country rejects the proposal, it could mean the end of the waiver. Click here to read…

India at UNSC calls for elections in Libya, hopes issues resolve peacefully

At the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) briefing on the situation in Libya, R. Madhu Sudan, Counsellor at Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations reiterated the imperative for holding the Presidential and Parliamentary elections in the North African country at the earliest. Click here to read…

34 countries, including India, confirm presence at Commonwealth Summit in Rwanda

The CHOGM or Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting has been scheduled to start in the third week of June with President of Rwanda Paul Kagame being the host of the summit. Click here to read…

South Africa to issue e-visas for Indian travellers soon

As part of post-pandemic revival plans, South Africa will introduce e-visas for Indians to attract more tourists, business travellers and movie-makers, mainly from the south. Click here to read…
Click here to read…

Africa Now – Weekly Newsletter (Week 11, 2022)

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

COMMENTARY

How Burkina Faso became the epicentre of conflict in the Sahel

In 2014, when millions of Burkinabes ended the 27-year rule of Blaise Campaore by forcing him to step down, observers and analysts dubbed the occurrence West Africa’s version of the “Arab Spring”. Click here to read…

How China’s Ambitious Belt and Road Plans for East Africa Came Apart

As China draws back from large scale infrastructure investments in Africa, it is worth considering why so many major Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects in the region, unveiled with great fanfare, have ultimately struggled. Click here to read…

UN chief wants Amisom to remain in Somalia

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres has recommended to the Security Council that the African Union maintains its staffing level in Somalia through the end of the year. Click here to read…

Libya armed groups backing rival PM withdraw from Tripoli

Libya’s parliament-appointed Prime Minister Fathi Bashagha said that armed groups backing him have withdrawn from positions around Tripoli, after the UN warned of a new escalation in the divided country. Click here to read…

Russia ramps up ties with Sudan as Ukraine war rages

As much of the West seeks to isolate Russia after it invaded Ukraine, experts say Moscow is boosting relations with its long time African ally Sudan, eyeing its gold wealth and strategic location. Click here to read…

France to continue aerial support to Mali after troop withdrawal

France will still provide aerial military support to Malian troops battling an Islamist insurgency in the Sahel even after its counter-terrorism mission has withdrawn, but only where Russian fighters are not present. Click here to read…

Arab League summit to take place in Algeria starting November 1

The Arab League will hold its first annual summit for three years in November in Algeria, the bloc said on Wednesday, after the pandemic forced the meetings’ suspension. Click here to read…

Ukraine looms over US-African Union summit

The United States and the African Union (AU) held their first high-level summit since the Covid-19 pandemic this week with the conflicts in Ukraine and Ethiopia looming over the gathering. Click here to read…

South Africa is ready for a woman chief justice

During the vetting of the candidates for chief justice, the question was asked if South Africa is ready for a woman chief justice. Although the question is absurd, misogynistic and a confirmation of our patriarchal society, the answer is a resounding yes — and it is long overdue. Click here to read…

Mohamed Bazoum: Is Niger France’s new key partner in the Sahel?

The president of Niger discusses if his country will become the new focal point in the fight against ISIL and al-Qaeda. Click here to read…

Chad junta and rebels gear for tricky talks in Qatar

Chad’s ruling junta is scheduled to meet rebel leaders in Qatar on Sunday for delayed talks aimed at coaxing armed groups into joining a “national dialogue” on the troubled country’s futureClick here to read…

African Start-up Eswatini Air to Launch Soon After Taking First Aircraft

The southern African nation of Eswatini – previously Swaziland – is tiny. At just 6,704 square miles (17,364 square km), it is smaller in area than Wales and only a bit larger than the US state of Connecticut. It is Africa’s smallest landlocked country. Click here to read…

Important Step Toward Justice in DR Congo?

The Congolese human rights minister launched national consultations on a new transitional justice initiative that, if implemented, would help the Democratic Republic of Congo emerge from conflict, address grave human rights violations, and institute needed reforms. Click here to read…

Morocco to chair 6th UN Environment Assembly

At the end of the 5th United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) which took place in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, the member countries voted Morocco as the host country for the next edition. By hosting the 6th edition of UNEA, the Cherifian kingdom reaffirms the need to strengthen the fight against pollution and climate change whose effects have impacts on the global economy. Click here to read…

Tunisian authorities urged to drop draft law restricting civil society organizations

Thirteen NGOs urged Tunisian authorities on Friday to drop a draft law providing restrictions on civil society organizations, which could result in a “major setback” for rights after the country’s 2011 revolution. Click here to read…

New Zimbabwe law threatens to criminalise and ban NGOs

The bill will effectively criminalise the operations of NGOs, proposing harsh penalties, including closure of the organisations, require them to disclose their source of funding and jail terms of up to a year for breaches. Click here to read…

Egypt announces the country is to diversify its sources of wheat

Egypt’s Prime Minister announced the country is to diversify its sources of wheat to avoid relying on what he described as “specific sources” for this productClick here to read…

Chinese Imports Edging Out Kenya’s Local Products

Kenyan artisans say they are losing the market for their products to Chinese imports. According to the crafts persons, the high quality and lower prices of Chinese-made goods put them at a disadvantageClick here to read…

Lesotho: EU Considering Deployment of EOM

The European Union (EU) is planning to deploy the EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Lesotho ahead of the elections which are due to take place in September 2022. Click here to read…

Malian Army Accused of Killing Mauritanian Citizens

A Malian delegation is expected in Mauritania’s capital Friday to discuss the alleged disappearance of several Mauritanians on Malian territory. Click here to read…

Rwanda to impose tax on watching Netflix

Rwanda is the latest African country to announce plans to tax online services consumed within the country. This comes a few months after Zimbabwe and Nigeria laid out plans for the collection of taxes from e-commerce and digital companies such as Netflix, Google, YouTube, and Amazon. Click here to read…

Guinea suspends Simandou iron ore project, saying there has been no progress

Guinea’s ruling junta has ordered the cessation of all activities at the massive Simandou iron ore deposit owned by Rio Tinto and a Chinese-backed consortium, saying it was seeking clarification of how Guinea’s interests will be preserved.
https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/guinea-suspends-simandou-iron-ore-mine-project-2022-03-11/

Turkey’s women diplomats shape relations with Africa

Turkey has made significant progress in its political, economic and cultural ties with African countries in the last two decades, and women diplomats have an important place in these relationsClick here to read…

Uganda: Doctors, MPs unite against bid to jail unvaccinated

In February, the Ugandan parliament introduced a bill proposing to fine anyone refusing to take COVID-19 vaccines four million Ugandan shillings ($1,100) or sentence them to jail for six months. Click here to read…

Ethiopian Airlines, Air Djibouti partner for China-Africa Sea to air transport

Ethiopia’s national air carrier, Ethiopian Airlines announced on Tuesday it has partnered with Air Djibouti and Djibouti Industrial Park Operation (IDIPO) to commence sea-air multimodal transportation. Click here to read…

Eni And bp Finalize Agreement to Create New Independent Joint Venture in Angola

BP and Eni confirmed Friday that they have signed an agreement to form a new 50/50 independent company, Azule Energy [a bp and Eni Company], through the combination of the two companies’ Angolan businesses. Click here to read…

Zambia’s ex-President Rupiah Banda dead at 85

Rupiah Banda, who served as president of Zambia from 2008 and 2011, died Friday evening in the capital Lusaka at age 85 after a two-year battle with cancer. His son Andrew confirmed the former leader’s death, saying, “He is gone.” Click here to read…

Prince William says war normal in Africa and Asia, ‘alien’ in Europe; invites backlash

Prince William’s comments that it is ‘very alien’ to see a war in Europe while it was normal to witness conflict in Asia and Africa has invited a backlash on social media. Click here to read…

INDIA IN AFRICA

Defence Expo put off

The situation in Ukraine has led to the postponement of the prestigious defence exhibition DefExpo-2022, to be held from March 10-14 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Click here to read…

India, European Union hold inaugural consultations on Africa

The leaders of India and EU held the inaugural India-EU Consultations on Africa on March 7, in virtual mode, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Tuesday. Click here to read…

South Africa: Made-in-India Suzuki Celerio goes on sale

Suzuki has launched the second generation Celerio in the South African market. The car is manufactured and exported from Maruti Suzuki’s production facility in India. Click here to read…

Indian Embassy unveils plaque of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ in Antananarivo

To mark the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav on the occasion of 75 years of India’s Independence, the Indian Embassy in Madagascar organized a special unveiling ceremony of the plaque of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”. Click here to read…

India focuses on Revitalization Agreement, election preparations in South Sudan at UNSC

India emphasised the execution of the Revitalization Agreement and election preparations at a UN Security Council (UNSC) briefing on the situation in South Sudan. Click here to read…

South Africa to issue e-visas for Indian travellers soon

As part of post-pandemic revival plans, South Africa will introduce e-visas for Indians to attract more tourists, business travellers and movie-makers, mainly from the south. Click here to read…

26 more Indian fishers held in Seychelles

Twenty-six more Indian fishermen were detained by authorities in Seychelles, off East Africa, on Wednesday on charges of entering their territorial waters. This takes the total number of Indian fishermen detained there in three days to 59. Click here to read…

Sewa International evacuates 467 African students from Ukraine

Houston-based Indian-American non-profit body Sewa International has evacuated 467 African students including 367 Nigerians, from Ukraine’s Sumy amidst a Russian military offensive. Click here to read…

Former diplomat Rajiv Bhatia’s India-Africa Relations: Changing Horizons, is an essential reader on India’s burgeoning ties with African states

This book is certainly rare considering the paucity of scholarly writings by Indians on the core issues of Africa. As a scholar-diplomat, who headed Indian embassies in South Africa, Kenya and Lesotho, Rajiv Bhatia has deftly handled changing horizons of Indo-African ties. Click here to read…

Chennai’s Hindustan Institute of Technology & Science celebrates its 12th Convocation

Chennai’s Hindustan Institute of Technology & Science (HITS) celebrated its 12th annual convocation on March 5 where Dr Grace Akello, Uganda Ambassador to India, was one of the key guest speakers. Click here to read…

Morocco & Jordan join hands with India to organise sporting tournament in Kashmir

Key Arab states of Morocco and Jordan have taken a key step in organising a sporting tournament in collaboration with India in Kashmir. Click here to read…

‘Best experience in India’: Travelers from Morocco join clean-up drive at Thiruvanmiyur beach

Two Moroccon travelers joined the save a turtle team for a beach clean-up drive to create awareness on responsible tourism at Thiruvanmiyur beach on Friday. Click here to read…

Telecoms major Airtel Uganda plans IPO by 2022-end: MD

Airtel Uganda, the country’s second largest telecoms company and a unit of India’s Bharti Airtel, plans to list a part of its equity by the end of this year, a top company official told local NTV Uganda late Monday. Click here to read…

Africa Now – Weekly Newsletter (Week 4, 2022)

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

COMMENTARY

Zambia’s success will be Africa’s success

The year 2021 has been a landmark year for Zambia. Two important events occurred. The passing of the first president of independent Zambia, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, was mourned in June. Then, in the election in August 2021, the people of Zambia voted decisively for change. Click here to read…

East Africa: Was China’s foreign minister’s visit a success or failure?

Last week, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi concluded his tour of Eritrea, Kenya and Comoros – part of a 31-year-old tradition of Chinese foreign ministers visiting the continent for their first overseas trips in the new calendar year (or before the end of the lunar new year). Click here to read…

NEWS

Senegal Elects Mayors with Eyes on 2024 Presidential Election

Senegal votes in municipal and regional elections on Sunday, amid growing political tensions over whether President Macky Sall will seek to extend his rule beyond the two-term limit in a nation long considered one of Africa’s most stable democracies. Click here to read…

Burkina Faso govt denies army takeover after barracks gunfire

Burkina Faso’s government denied that the army had seized control of the country on Sunday after exchanges of gunfire took place at multiple army barracks, including two in the capital. Click here to read…

Ethiopia army planning to ‘eliminate’ Tigrayan forces, military official says

Ethiopia’s military is planning to enter the Tigray regional capital of Mekelle and “eliminate” rebellious forces, a top military official said late on Friday amid diplomatic efforts to end conflict in the country’s north. Click here to read…

Djibouti: Can IOG ‘finish the job’ during his last term in office?

In the very troubled Horn of Africa, the small Republic of Djibouti is an island of stability. Although Ismaïl Omar Guelleh (IOG) was re-elected thanks to a positive economic record, the expectations of the population – three-quarters of whom are under 35 – remain high. Click here to read…

Biden’s dangerous refusal to reverse Trump’s Western Sahara policy

Trump recognized the wholesale annexation of one country by another. If Biden lets that stand, the global implications are deeply troubling. Click here to read…

Sudanese hold ‘day for martyrs’ after anti-coup protest killings

Sudanese anti-coup protesters have held a “day for the martyrs”, gathering outside the homes of some of those killed in a bloody crackdown on demonstrations since an October military takeover. Click here to read…

Guinea junta establishes council to lead transition to elections

Guinea’s junta on Saturday set up an 80-member council to act as a parliament during the country’s transition to electionsClick here to read…

Arab League Summit postponed in blow to Algeria’s diplomatic hopes

Algeria’s President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, announced on Wednesday that the thirty-first Arab League Summit will be postponed. Click here to read…

Kenya is refusing to release the loan contracts for its Chinese-built railway

Kenya has declined to make public the loan contracts for its Chinese-built railway in response to a court petition by two activists, saying they have non-disclosure clauses and that releasing them would amount to breaching a bilateral agreement, impairing relations between Kenya and China. Click here to read…

The signs suggest that another uprising looms in Egypt

Many human rights organisations, political activists and reports point out unambiguously that the people of Egypt have lived under a brutal police state since the 2013 military coup. Click here to read…

Somali government spokesperson wounded in suicide bomb attack -police, state media

Somalia’s government spokesperson was wounded on Sunday in an explosion at a road junction set off by a suicide bomber in the capital Mogadishu, police and the national news agency said. Click here to read…

Tunisian dies after protesting President Saied’s moves

A Tunisian man has died of wounds he sustained during a crackdown by security forces on anti-government protesters during a demonstration last week. Click here to read…

US AFRICOM Commander Says Russian Mercenaries in Mali

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Construction Starts on Congo, Central African Republic Sub-River Fiber Connection

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Mali holds state ceremony for ex-President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita

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U.S. Envoy Visits Coup-Hit Sudan in Bid to End Spiralling Unrest

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Macron says EU and Africa seek vaccines deal at February summit

The EU is working with African countries toward a deal to improve access to coronavirus vaccines, French President Emmanuel Macron said. Click here to read…

Appeal in ‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero’s case can proceed without him, judge rules

A Rwandan court ruled on Tuesday that an appeal by prosecutors in a case involving Paul Rusesabagina, who was portrayed in the movie ‘Hotel Rwanda’ sheltering hundreds of people during the 1994 genocide, could proceed in his absence. Click here to read…

Elon Musk’s Tesla Inks Mozambique Deal to Get Key Battery Component Outside China

Tesla is turning to Mozambique for a key component in its electric car batteries in what analysts believe is a first-of-its-kind deal designed to reduce its dependence on China for graphite. Click here to read…

Tanzania, Burundi Sign $900 Million Railway Deal to Boost Trade

Tanzania and Burundi have signed an agreement to build a $900 million railway that will connect the neighboring East African nations. Click here to read…

Angola to produce 10.5 mn carats of diamonds in 2022

Angola estimates to produce 10.5 million carats of diamonds in 2022 with a revenue of $1.4 billion, the country’s National Diamond Company (Endiama) announced here. Click here to read…

Kenyan e-commerce company Copia Global raises $50M to ramp up African expansion

Kenyan B2C e-commerce company Copia Global has raised $50 million in a Series C equity round led by Goodwell Investments. Click here to read…

False banana: Is Ethiopia’s enset ‘wondercrop’ for climate change?

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INDIA IN AFRICA

Development partnership key pillar of India-Mauritius ties: PM Narendra Modi

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PM to launch India-assisted projects with Mauritius counterpart Jugnauth today

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India to send a battalion for peacekeeping ops in Africa

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Second defence export deal this month: India to supply ALH (MkIII) to Mauritius

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Devas shareholders to continue seizing Indian assets abroad

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At UNSC, India Urges All Sides to Find ‘mutually Acceptable Solutions’ To Normalise Sudan

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Myanmar Round Up – December 2021

The ongoing conflict in the country between the military and opposition forces has resulted in a number of deaths and causalities and increasing human rights violations. The military forces are accused of killing around 1300 people and arresting more than 10,000 individuals. The UN Security Council has called for an end to violence in Myanmar. More than 500 rights groups have urged the United Nations (UN) to stop Myanmar army offensives. The military is also accused of blocking aid to displaced civilians. During the month, Myanmar also confirmed its first case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Domestic and Political Situation

On 10 December, Human Rights Day, a “silent strike” was organised to shutdown towns and cities as a sign of rejection of the military rule. Earlier also, a silent strike was organised on 24 March to disapprove of the military’s coup. In addition, a “Black Campaign” was also staged as individuals posted their pictures wearing black and flashing three-finger salutes of resistance. [1]

Myanmar’s many regions, such as the Sagaing region, Karen State, Shan State, and Kayah State, witnessed violent clashes between the military and ethnic parties.[2] The Karen Peace Support Network (KPSN) released a report outlining human rights abuses; including helicopter gunship attacks against civilian targets, arbitrary abductions and use of civilians as human shields in Mutraw district.[3] The ethnic Kokang army clashed with Myanmar’s military in Shan State. The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) is also fighting around Kokang, Mongkoe and Hsenwi to gain control to the west of Salween River.[4]

The military is also resorting to old tactics and creating anti-Muslim and anti-Christian tensions. [5] According to International Christian Concern (ICC) reports, many incidents against Christians in Chin State are recorded, comprising 90 per cent of the Christian population. Myanmar is positioned at 19 on Open Doors 2021 World Watch List of places that are most difficult to be a Christian.[6] Myanmar military continues to burn houses and churches in the Chin State. The Chin Human Rights Organisation reported burning of the Thantlang town in Myanmar’s Chin State. According to Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO), the Assembly of God Church and one of the Thantlang Association of Baptist Church buildings and many others were burned down by the military on 30 December. Further, a township court in Rakhine State sentenced 199 people (most of whom are Rohingya Muslims) to five years in prison under the Immigration Act for “illegally trying to migrate” to Malaysia. [7]

On the one hand, the military is attacking EAOs, and on the other hand, the military regime met with members of the Federal Political Negotiation Consultative Committee (FPNCC), excluding a few, in Shan State. The meeting was with a view to re-establish links with the EAOs. It has also been reported that China had aided in negotiations between the Myanmar military and members of the FPNCC. A representative from China was present at the meeting. [8] However, the same day, the military attacked the Karen peace town Lay Kay Kaw in Myawaddy Township, controlled by the Karen National Liberation Army Brigade 6. Earlier, the FPNCC member group MNDAA was attacked by a helicopter in Muse District in northern Shan State. [9]

The NUG is also taking steps to cooperate with different EAOs and providing them with military training and support. For instance, on 12 December, Duwa Lashi La, the acting president of the NUG, stated that they would like to work with the Arakan National League (ULA/AA) to overthrow the military dictatorship. Earlier, on 10 December, the Arakan Army (AA) warned the people that fighting could break out in Rakhine State and therefore, the people should be alert.[10]

The military recalled former service members to military duty as many soldiers are defecting. Former military dictator Senior General Than Shwe, rejoined the military, who had stepped down in 2011. [11] The country is also reeling under economic crises. During the month, it has been reported that the military is printing notes to address the monetary deficit. According to sources, an Uzbekistan Airways plane carried paper to print banknotes. [12] Further, on 24 December, the Myanmar military leader commissioned airplanes and helicopters marking the 74th anniversary of Myanmar Navy. Within this, Myanmar commissioned China’s Type 35B Ming-class submarine aka ‘UMS Minye Kyaw Htin’.[13] Myanmar’s military has also sought China’s assistance to build an internet firewall to curb the spread of information against the military.

This month, Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced to a four-year jail on the first of the series of charges filed against her. However, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing reduced the four-year sentence to two years of house arrest. She faces ten other charges that could sentence her for the rest of her life. [14] In the case of possession and illegal importation of walkie-talkies, the verdict has been postponed until 10 January 2022. Further, during the month, another letter claimed to be by Suu Kyi was leaked, which stated that neither the CRPH nor the NUG is entitled to use the name of the NLD. But the authenticity of the letter is hard to prove.

International Responses

Justice For Myanmar called for an investigation and a global arms embargo over arms and military aircraft being sold to the Myanmar military. The report highlighted the involvement of the UN Security Council members including France, Russia, China, Holland and Italy in supporting the Myanmar military. [15] In addition, the United States with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, and the United Kingdom called for the international community to “suspend all operational support to the military”. The US is also exploring additional sanctions against the ruling military rulers in Myanmar.[16] Further, the European Union (EU) has stopped renting its official ambassador’s residence from the family of late Myanmar dictator General Ne Win after eight years. [17]

A UK-based NGO submitted evidence to the International Criminal Court (ICC) under Article 15 of the Rome Statute. The evidence proves that Myanmar military leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing is guilty of crimes against humanity. Under the Myanmar Accountability Project (MAP), the organisation urged the court to open a criminal investigation into the widespread and systematic use of torture as part of the regime’s violent crackdown against the protest movement in the country. Similarly, the NUG is also working to prosecute Myanmar’s military at the ICC. Furthermore, despite the military ruling authority numerous attempts to replace envoy of the previous NLD government at the UN, the nine-nation Credentials Committee of the General Assembly deferred a decision on applications.[18]

During the month, Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Senmet Myanmar’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wunna Maung Lwin, in Phnom Penh on 07 December. Hun Sen will assume the chairmanship of ASEAN next year, and he stated that he would visit Myanmar in the year 2022. ASEAN members denied Myanmar’s military attendance at the ASEAN Summit and the ASEAN-China Summit due to “insufficient progress” on implementing the peace plan. However, Hun Sen justified his engagement stating that Myanmar is a “family member of ASEAN” and therefore, it is essential to work with authorities of Myanmar. Hun Sen’s adoption of “cowboy diplomacy”, a term referring to risky and harsh diplomatic tactics, has worried the regional partners.[19]

Following the explosion that landed on the Thailand side, Thailand warned that it would return fire if more artillery shells by the Myanmar military landed again in Thailand. Thailand has also deployed troops along the Thai-Myanmar border and is conducting regular patrols. [20] Further, due to the increasing fleeing of individuals from Myanmar, Thailand has sent over 600 Myanmar refugees back across the border. [21] To date, around 2500 people have fled due to intense fighting between the Myanmar military and Karen National Union (KNU). [22]

Further, Japan has been condemned by Human Rights Groups for training Myanmar military cadets. According to the Defence Ministry Official, the National Defence Academy of Japan was still hosting eight cadets from Myanmar. The Human Rights Watch has suggested that the Japanese government cut ties with the Myanmar military and immediately suspend military study-abroad program involving Myanmar cadets.[23] Also, Japan’s Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa has said that Japan will continue to work for the repatriation of Myanmar nationals who have been forcibly displaced from Bangladesh. [24]

India in Myanmar

In the first such outreach since February 2021, India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla visited Naypyitaw and Yangon and met State Administration Council (SAC) chaired by General Min Aung Hlaing. As part of humanitarian support, India has provided 10 lakh doses of ‘Made in India’ COVID-19 vaccines and grant of 10,000 tonnes of rice and wheat to Myanmar. He also met members of civil society and political parties, including the NLD. However, the request to meet Aung San Suu Kyi was denied. [25] Before the visit, the Myanmar military handed over five militants of banned Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF) to India. RPF is the sister wing of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). A police official, on condition of anonymity, said that a special flight brought the five Manipur-based RPF militants from Myanmar and handed them over to Manipur police. [26]

However, varied accounts were reported about the visit outcomes. The State-run Myanmar News Agency reported that the two discussed how the Myanmar military could discharge its State responsibilities, take efforts for counter-terrorism, and ensuring peace and stability in the border regions of both countries. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs stated that the Foreign Secretary had “emphasised India’s interest in seeing Myanmar’s return to democracy at the earliest; release of detainees and prisoners; resolution of issues through dialogue; and complete cessation of all violence.” However, no comment was made on the difference between the statements issued in Yangon and New Delhi.[27]

Conclusion

Data from ACLED, analysed by Altsean Burma, shows a 632 per cent increase in armed clashes and attacks compared to 2020. However, the prevalence of violence cannot be the answer to the current crisis. Myanmar is experiencing one of the worst crises since its independence. Furthermore, the new variant of COVID-19 can expose the country’s health care system to risks. According to the United Nations emergency relief coordinator, three million people across Myanmar need life-saving humanitarian assistance because of rising conflict and insecurity, the pandemic, and a failing economy. The military is also accused of blocking humanitarian aid from reaching displaced people. The military has imposed new travel restrictions on humanitarian workers, blocked access roads and aid convoys, destroyed non-military supplies, attacked aid workers and shut down telecommunications services. Therefore, the military must reverse its actions and engage in constructive dialogue with all stakeholders.

Endnotes:

[1]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-set-to-shut-down-with-silent-strike-to-defy-junta.html
[2]https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/09/eleven-villagers-shot-and-burned-alive-by-myanmar-soldiers-reports-say
[3]https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/12/1/myanmar-army-helicopter-attacks-force-thousands-to-flee
[4]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/kokang-armed-group-reports-escalating-fighting-with-myanmar-junta.html
[5]https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/divide-and-rule-myanmar-junta-weaponising-racial-tensions-20211203-p59eid.html

Burmese Army Fires Weapons Targeting Churches in Chin State


[6]https://thealabamabaptist.org/two-pastors-killed-christians-targeted-by-burmese-army/
[7]https://myanmar-now.org/en/news/more-than-100-rohingya-fleeing-persecution-in-rakhine-state-sentenced-to-five-years-in-prison
[8]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/china-facilitates-myanmar-junta-and-ethnic-armies-talks.html
[9]Other members of the FPNCC include the United Wa State Army and the Arakan Army. None of the seven groups has signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement. However, the KNLA’s political arm, the Karen National Union, signed the peace agreement in 2015 and the Burma Army is still attacking its troops. https://www.bnionline.net/en/news/junta-meets-fpncc-mongla
[10]https://www.mizzima.com/article/national-unity-government-nug-makes-overtures-aa-overthrow-military
[11]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/junta-watch-coup-leaders-wife-draws-public-ire-suu-kyis-new-charge-and-more.html
[12]https://www.irrawaddy.com/business/economy/uzbek-plane-supplies-myanmar-junta-with-banknote-paper.html
[13] https://www.naval-technology.com/news/myanmar-commissions-type-35b-submarine/
[14]https://www.irrawaddy.com/opinion/guest-column/a-new-politics-is-taking-shape-in-myanmar.html
[15]https://www.mizzima.com/article/un-security-council-members-complicit-arms-sales-myanmar-military-junta-ngo
[16]https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/15/the-us-is-exploring-additional-steps-against-myanmars-military-leaders-blinken-says.html
[17]https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/eu-stops-renting-residence-from-former-myanmar-dictators-family.html
[18]https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/01/world/americas/united-nations-taliban-myanmar.html
[19]https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/12/22/cambodias-cowboy-diplomacy-in-myanmar-isolates-asean
[20]https://www.mizzima.com/article/thailand-warns-myanmar-it-will-return-fire-if-more-artillery-shells-land-its-territory-again
[21]https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/thailand-sends-refugees-back-myanmar-clashes-continue-2021-12-19/
[22]https://www.thestar.com.my/aseanplus/aseanplus-news/2021/12/18/more-than-2500-flee-to-thailand-as-rebels-clash-with-myanmar-army-gets-more-heated-up
[23] https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/12/21/japan-cut-defense-ties-myanmar-military
[24]https://www.tbsnews.net/bangladesh/japan-assures-repatriation-displaced-citizens-myanmar-337921
[25]https://theprint.in/world/india-provides-10-lakh-doses-of-covid-19-vaccines-10000-tonnes-of-rice-and-wheat-to-myanmar/786263/
[26]https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/myanmar-army-hands-over-5-militants-to-manipur-police/articleshow/88304702.cms
[27]https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/myanmar-statement-on-shringla-visit-differs-from-indian-line-on-restoring-democracy/article38030897.ece