The Americans locked up in Myanmar's notorious Insein prison
Since the military seized power on February 1, more than 5,900 people have been detained by the junta's security forces, and a majority remain in detention, according to advocacy group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP). Of those, at least 87 are journalists, with 51 still in detention, Reporting ASEAN documented. Life in Gen. Min Aung Hlaing's post-coup Myanmar has become near impossible for media workers, with many forced into exile abroad or fleeing to rebel-controlled areas in the jungles as they expose the junta's crimes. Those who remain in the cities have gone into hiding and swap safe houses every few days to avoid arrest.
Shocking photos show the smoldering ruins of a Myanmar town after most of it was burned to the ground by government troops Tuesday, a villager told the Associated Press, confirming various reports. © Uncredited/AP Photo Smoke rises from smoldering houses in Kinma village, Pauk township, Magwe division, central Myanmar on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Residents said people are missing after military troops burned the village the night before.
The unnamed resident of the now-destroyed Kinma village in central Myanmar said he believed military forces came to search for members of a village defense force in opposition of the country's ruling military junta. The local defense force told residents of the troops' arrival beforehand and after homes were searched, the troops destroyed the village.
Myanmar releases US journalist Nathan Maung, who was allegedly tortured in prison
American citizen Nathan Maung, who has been detained in Myanmar since March 9, was released and deported to the United States on Tuesday after charges against him were dropped, his lawyer said. © Handout Journalist Nathan Maung, left, with his colleague Hanthar Nyein. Nathan Maung is co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Myanmar online news site Kamayut Media and had spent more than two months incarcerated in the country's notorious Insein Prison, north of Yangon. He was arrested alongside co-founder and producer Hanthar Nyein, a Myanmar national, as security forces raided their offices in early March.
"We think it isn't over. We will shift to other villages. Even if we go back to our village, there is no place to stay because everything is burnt," the villager told the Associated Press when asked if he would return to Kinma village.
The villager said he believed three casualties resulted from the destruction and just 10 of 237 houses remain. Myanmar's military took over in February after ousting Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
The attack is the latest example of how violence has become endemic in much of Myanmar in recent months as the junta tries to subdue an incipient nationwide insurrection. After the army seized power in February, a nonviolent civil disobedience movement arose to challenge military rule, but the junta's attempt to repress it with deadly force fueled rather than quelled resistance.
Myanmar migrant workers work abroad to feed their families. Now they can't send the money home
Su and her husband are among the 1.7 million Myanmar nationals working in neighboring Thailand, according to the Migrant Workers Group, and part of a vital network of overseas workers who support relatives at home. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates some $1.4 billion was sent to Myanmar in 2015 from overseas workers. © Bex Wright/CNN Ma Oo, migrant rights advocate in Bangkok, Thailand in May 2021 The current situation has left thousands of migrants living with constant worry not just for the financial well being of their loved ones, but for their safety.
Photos and videos of devastated Kinma village in Magway region that circulated widely on social media on Wednesday showed much of the village flattened by fire and the charred bodies of farm animals. One report said the village had about 1,000 residents. © Uncredited/AP Photo Flame rises from burning houses in Kinma village, Pauk township, Magwe division, central Myanmar, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Residents said people are missing after military troops burned the village. Uncredited/AP Photo
The villager, who asked that his name not be used because of fear of government reprisals, said most residents had already fled when soldiers firing guns entered the village shortly before noon on Tuesday.
The village defense force had been established to protect against the junta's troops and police. Most such local forces are very lightly armed with homemade hunting rifles.
Mass Graves Found in Myanmar Amid Alarm Over Human Rights Abuses
The U.N. called on "all actors in the current crisis to ensure that international human rights norms and standards are respected."The KNDO is a political organization of the Karen ethnic minority that has sought more autonomy from the central government for decades. The military regime said the bodies were road construction workers who were detained and killed by the KNDO, according to the Associated Press. A KNDO spokesman told the Irrawaddy news service the men were spies for the government, not civilians.
Only four or five people were left in the village when they began searching houses in the afternoon. When they found nothing, they began setting the homes on fire, he said. © Uncredited/AP Photo A resident walks past smoldering houses in the Kinma village, Pauk township, Magwe division, central Myanmar, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Residents said people are missing after military troops burned the village the night before. Uncredited/AP Photo
"There are some forests just nearby our village. Most of us fled into the forests," he said.
The villager said he believed there were three casualties, a boy who was a goat-herder who was shot in the thigh, and an elderly couple who were unable to flee. He believed the couple had died but several media reports said they were missing.
Asked if he planned to go back to the village, he said: "No, we dare not to."
The village defense forces are committed to forming a future opposition federal army, and some have allied themselves with ethnic minority groups in border areas that have been fighting for decades for autonomy from the central government.
Resident: Junta burns Myanmar village in escalating violence
BANGKOK (AP) — Government troops have burned most of a village in Myanmar's heartland, a resident said Wednesday, confirming reports by independent media and on social networks. The action appeared to be an attempt to suppress resistance against the ruling military junta. Government-controlled media reported the fires were set by “terrorists” the armed troops were trying to arrest. The government and its opponents each refer to the other side as “terrorists.” The near-destruction of the village is the latest example of how violence has become endemic in much of Myanmar as the junta tries to subdue an incipient nationwide insurrection.
Most of the fiercest fighting takes place in the border regions, where government forces are deployed in areas controlled by ethnic groups such as the Chin in the west, the Kachin in the north and the Karenni in the east.
The incident in Kinma attracted special attention because the Burman, or Barmar ethnic group, the country's power-holding majority, is predominant in the Magway region and it is unusual for them to be targeted for such severe measures.
The army burned many villages of the Muslim Rohingya minority in 2017 in a brutal counterinsurgency campaign in the western state of Rakhine that drove more than 700,000 to seek safety across the border in Bangladesh.
There is widespread prejudice against the Rohingya and few in Myanmar protested the army's treatment of them, though international courts are now considering whether it constituted genocide. Some people commenting Wednesday on social media said the burning of Kinma made Rohingya claims of mistreatment more credible.
Rights group: Facebook amplified Myanmar military propaganda
Facebook's recommendation algorithm amplifies military propaganda and other material that breaches the company's own policies in Myanmar following the country's military coup in February, a new report by the rights group Global Witness has found. A month after the military seized power in Myanmar and imprisoned elected leaders, Facebook's algorithms were still prompting users to view and “like” pro-military pages with posts that incited and threatened violence, pushed misinformation that could lead to physical harm, praised the military and glorified its abuses, Global Witness said in the report, published late Tuesday, June 22, 2021.
© Uncredited/AP Photo Smoke rises from smoldering houses in Kinma village, Pauk township, Magwe division, central Myanmar, Wednesday June 16, 2021. Residents said people are missing after military troops burned the village the night before. Uncredited/AP Photo
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Released American says Myanmar military using torture to hunt down opposition leaders .
Myanmar's military junta is using torture to extract information from detainees on the whereabouts of senior opposition members and activist leaders, according to an American citizen and journalist who was recently released from a Yangon prison. © Courtesy Nathan Maung Nathan Maung was detained in Myanmar for more than three months. Nathan Maung, 44, was detained for more than three months in Myanmar before being deported to the United States on June 15. During that time, he said he endured two weeks in a secretive military-run interrogation center in the country's biggest city Yangon.