Vox Pop: Will oxygen plant operators accept control by Arakan State military council?

DMG 23 Jul 2021

U Hla Thein, information officer for the Arakan State Administration Council, wrote on his Facebook on July 22 that a decision was made at a meeting of the Arakan State military council to distribute oxygen produced by an oxygen generator in Mrauk-U to public hospitals in accordance with the local government’s policy. Some people have since criticised the statement on Facebook, over whether the military council rightfully controls the oxygen production in Mrauk-U. 

Bookmobile booster: ‘Sustaining mobile libraries depends on the community’

DMG 18 Jun 2021

A youth group in Sittwe pioneered the idea, opening a mobile library in the Arakan State capital last month. Since then, more bookmobiles have popped up in other Arakan State townships. With DMG being an unabashedly pro-reading organisation as well, we recently interviewed Ko Nyein Chan, a member of the Sittwe youth group, about their current activities and challenges to opening and sustaining mobile libraries.

Vox Pop: Could continuing arrests over AA ties reignite conflict in Arakan State?

DMG 08 Jun 2021

The recent arrest of seven Taungup Township youths, reportedly over alleged ties to the Arakan Army, served to highlight the legal ambiguity that surrounds the ethnic armed group, and raised anew questions about whether there are legal consequences for affiliating with it. After the military regime removed the Arakan Army from its list of terrorist groups in March, it was hoped that the dozens of court cases accusing defendants of illegal AA links would be dismissed, but acquittals and dropped charges have occurred in a piecemeal fashion to date.  

Vox Pop: Is a nighttime curfew in Arakan State necessary?

DMG 04 Jun 2021

The imposition of a nighttime curfew over recent days in some Arakan State townships has prompted questioning among locals, coming at a time when an informal ceasefire between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army has brought a peace to the region not seen in more than two years. DMG interviewed residents, civil society organisations and the Arakan State military council to glean their thoughts on the curfew orders, which have been applied selectively across Arakan State’s 17 townships.

Interview: As many as 50,000 IDPs in Kayah State in urgent need of relief supplies

DMG 27 May 2021

Fierce fighting between the Myanmar military and a People’s Defense Force has been ongoing in Kayah State since May 20. The fighting is taking place in cities and villages, forcing more than 50,000 locals to flee. Due to a lack of camps for internally displaced people (IDPs), civilians are fleeing to the mountains and border areas. Local civil society groups say the refugees are in dire need of shelter and food, as well as medical care because pregnant women are among those fleeing. DMG spoke to a local woman in Loikaw, Kayah State, about these problems.

Vox Pop: Post-coup and pandemic-battered, Arakan economy seen as reeling

DMG 17 May 2021

With more than 100 days having passed since the military coup on February 1, DMG spoke to civil society and political leaders, activists and businesspeople about the toll that the new reality under Tatmadaw rule has taken on an Arakan State economy already badly bruised by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vox Pop: Arakan CSO leaders talk balancing border against a growing COVID-19 threat next door

DMG 04 May 2021

With COVID-19 infection rates and related fatalities on the rise in neighbouring India and Bangladesh, DMG interviewed Sittwe-based civil society organisations to discuss what can be done to mitigate the risk of the coronavirus case rise spilling across the border into Arakan State. The discussion comes against the backdrop of recently rebooted border trade in the region, which had been suspended for more than 10 months due to the pandemic.  

Maday Islanders share thoughts on China-backed deep-sea port project

DMG 29 Apr 2021

China International Trust and Investment Corporation (CITIC) won contracts for deep-sea port and special economic zone (SEZ) projects in 2015. According to the initial agreement signed with the U Thein Sein administration, CITIC took an 85% stake in the deep-sea port and a 51% stake in the SEZ. But amid political sensitivity surrounding Chinese investment in Myanmar and concerns over China’s reported “debt-trap diplomacy,” CITIC agreed to lower its ownership stake in the deep-sea port project from 85% to 70%.  

Q&A: Tatmadaw-linked think-tank says negotiation is key to solving political crisis

DMG 08 Apr 2021

Dr. Naing Swe Oo, executive director at the Thayninga Institute for Strategic Studies, a think-tank formed by ex-military officers, says there is little chance of fresh clashes erupting between Myanmar’s military and the Arakan Army (AA) in Arakan State, responding to local media reports about increased troop presence in the state. Dr. Naing Swe Oo recently discussed increased Tatmadaw troop deployments in Arakan State with DMG.

‘I am grateful to Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing’: Dr. Aye Maung

DMG 17 Feb 2021

As you know, I was arrested over a talk on the topic of the fall of the Arakan Kingdom. Those who arrested me and the author [Wai Hun Aung] at the time were irrational to have arrested us over a talk. They failed to notice that the event was allowed for years under the U Thein Sein government. So, those who imprisoned me will not be happy if I say that I thank Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing for releasing me.

Freed in recent amnesty, writer Wai Hun Aung speaks out

16 Feb 2021

Thank you to all the people. The people had to suffer mentally and physically for us. The people also suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic, which was unprecedented in the world. [Due to conflict,] local people have been forced to flee their homes; some people were arrested and imprisoned. Some people became amputees due to landmines. I don’t want to say that these troubles are over, but I want to say that we are moving in a positive direction. We will lead Arakan State with all our strength and intelligence. I would like to say that we will stand firm with the Arakanese people.

Locals attitudes over Kyaukphyu-Mandalay railroad project

Thiha 30 Jan 2021

Earlier this month, the Chinese company China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group submitted a project proposal and signed a memorandum of understanding to conduct feasibility studies for construction of a railway linking Kyaukphyu in Arakan State with Mandalay in central Myanmar, part of a larger rail network connecting with China’s Yunnan province.

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