10/26/2022, 17.41
MYANMAR
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Junta forces prevent victims of an airstrike in Kachin State from seeking treatment

More than 50 died in the attack, but the toll is expected to rise after the military stopped ambulances from taking wounded to hospitals. The authorities now demand factories in Yangon provide them with their bank account data. The crackdown continues online.

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Three fighter jets attacked Ginsi, a village in Kachin State, last Sunday killing more than 50 people attending a concert marking the 62nd anniversary of the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO).

Some of the performers, including well-known singers, were among the dead. Local sources report that the death toll is likely to rise.

Following the attack, Myanmar’s military did not allow ambulances to reach the village, thus preventing the victims from going to hospitals for treatment in nearby Hpakant and Myitkyina.

Yesterday the KIO's spokesman, Colonel Naw Bu, told The Irrawaddy newspaper that the military had set up checkpoints to ensure that the wounded would get through.

The KIO seeks greater autonomy for Kachin State. Its armed wing, the Kachin Independence Army, is one of the ethnic military forces fighting Myanmar’s regular army since the military staged a coup on 1 February 2021. Even before the coup, they were in opposition to the government.

Meanwhile, the ruling junta ordered factories in Yangon to submit their bank accounts; it is unclear why.

Some observers believe the information would allow the junta to control financial flows since banks facilitate factory owners’ business transactions.

However, the civil war has made it harder to withdraw money, so many wonder what the authorities intend to do with the information.

In recent months, Myanmar's Central Bank has frozen online bank accounts of people financing the resistance or suspected of opposing the regime.

Since last year's coup d'état, online activities have become increasingly hard with repression in Myanmar reaching levels similar to China’s.

In terms of telecommunications, after Norwegian operator Telenor pulled out of Myanmar, the military acquired the capability to monitor all calls and text messages.

In recent months, the authorities have also sought to seize personal data and build a China-style "digital wall" using Russian and Chinese surveillance equipment.

Still, large regions are not yet under military control, especially those along the country’s borders where resistance by local ethnic armed forces is strongest.

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