Military council to cut off opponents’ source of funds

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Sagaing, May (31)

The military council plans to cut off the sources of income of the opposition forces and asks the people to register the SIM cards in order to obtain the information of the democracy activists; otherwise, SIM cards would be permanently closed.

The military council, which seized power amid claims of vote fraud in the 2020 election, has continued to complete the NLD-initiated SIM card registration process.

The military council is pressuring all local telecom operators to completely shut down SIM cards that have not been registered in more than two years since the coup.

A displaced person from Sagaing Region said, “The military council’s request to register phone cards is because they want to get the information of people who are active in the revolution, and they are trying to cut off the source of income of the revolutionary groups. Our KPay accounts have also been closed.”

The junta-controlled Communications Department announced in March that mobile phone SIM cards that are not registered with the correct information will be closed within 90 days.

At present, the junta has instructed the people to register SIM cards with full personal information at local telecommunication operators such as MPT, ATOM, Ooredoo and the military-owned Mytel, as well as ask the operators to inform their customers by SMS and phone.

The military council has warned that outgoing calls, text messages, and data usage will be suspended by One Way Block for those who receive SMS but do not register with a valid National Identification Card.

Lieutenant Yakkha from Battalion 1 of Sagaing Region responded by warning the ATOM operator that they would attack the towers and communications offices if they continued to cut the phone lines.

On March 14, the military council announced that, following the setting of the One-Way Block, phone SIM cards that are not registered with the necessary national identification card and information will be closed within 90 days.

A rural resident in Chin State, whose internet has been cut off, said to Than Lwin Times, “Since there is no phone line, I cannot register my SIM card. The SIM card I am currently using has been shut down, and I have to pay exorbitant prices to buy another SIM card. The price of a SIM card has risen to K10,000”.

Chin State is a stronghold of armed resistance forces against the military dictatorship, and the Chin National Front (CNF) and the People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) are enduring ground battles and air strikes of military regime.

On the other hand, the military council has cut off phone lines and internet access in some townships in Kachin State and Sagaing Region, including Chin State.

A resident of Kani Township, Sagaing Region, said that those participating in the revolution who used real IDs and SIM cards were arrested, their phone conversations were recorded or eavesdropped on, and their privacy was violated.

According to local telecoms companies, there are more than 63 million users of SIM cards from various operators in Myanmar, and the local phone operators are currently controlled by the military regime.

On March 10, the military council enacted the Anti-Terrorism Act to intercept, cut phone lines, and limit the communications of those who oppose them.

According to that law, the Anti-Terrorism Action Committee must give permission to the relevant telecommunications operators to cut, limit, and intercept electronic communications of the resistance forces.

Political observers have criticized the military council’s anti-terrorism law for cutting off public support for revolutionary forces, including the National Unity Government (NUG), and the People’s Defense Forces (PDFs), and increasing repression against the people.

News-Than Lwin Times

Photo-CJ

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