Last week in the East Asia Pacific region, fighting continued between the Myanmar military and local resistance groups in Myanmar. North Korea conducted two missile tests. In the Philippines, Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. and Sara Duterte won the national elections as president and vice-president, respectively, amid a surge in political violence and demonstrations related to the elections. In Indonesia, there were armed clashes between the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) and state forces, while ethnic Papuans continued to demonstrate against the proposed creation of new provinces in Papua. In Papua New Guinea, Nomali and Aiyala clans in Enga province engaged in a shootout. In China, riots in response to stringent COVID-19 lockdowns continued in Shanghai. In Thailand, pro-democracy demonstrations continued in Bangkok. In Australia, health workers demonstrated in Western Australia and Queensland.
In Myanmar, fighting continued between the Myanmar military and local resistance groups. On 12 May in southern Shan state, the military and the Pa-Oh National Organization/Pa-Oh National Army (PNO/PNA) suffered casualties when combined forces of the Southern Shan Revolution Youth (SSRY), Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF), Pekon People’s Defense Force, and Inle People’s Defense Force attacked their outpost in Hti Ri village, Nyaungshwe township. The PNO/PNA signed a ceasefire agreement with the military in 1991 and has been criticized by Pa-Oh ethnic youth groups for fighting alongside the military after the coup (Myanmar Now, 13 May 2022). While the military conducted airstrikes during the clash, the combined forces captured five soldiers, including three PNO/PNA members, and seized their weapons. Violence in Shan-South is both common and highly volatile; it is considered an area of ‘extreme risk’ by ACLED’s Volatility and Risk Predictability Index.
In northern Shan state, fighting between the Myanmar military and ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) intensified across multiple townships. On 8 May, the military clashed with the Myanmar National Truth and Justice Party/Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNTJP/MNDAA) in three separate townships. In Hseni township, the military fought against the Northern Alliance (NA-B), which includes the MNTJP/MNDAA. In Mabein township, they fought combined forces of the MNTJP/MNDAA, Palaung State Liberation Front/Ta’ang National Liberation Army (PSLF/TNLA), and an unreported local defense group, and in eastern Kutkai township, they fought the MNTJP/MNDAA on its own. The Kachin Independence Organization/Kachin Independence Army (KIO/KIA) also clashed with the military on 12 May, with military soldiers based in Kutkai town firing artillery rounds.
Meanwhile, the military and police tightened security in many states and regions last week. Several civilians in Yangon and Magway regions were arrested for anti-coup social media posts and claims they had connections with or were supporting People’s Defense Forces (PDFs). In Sagaing region, military troops raided Mon Taing Pin village in Ye-U township and arrested nearly three dozen civilians, including monks and young novices, beating them to death and burning their bodies between 10 and 13 May (Radio Free Asia, 17 May 2022).