Last week in the East Asia Pacific region, the Myanmar military and pro-military militias abducted and killed several supporters of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Mandalay region. Fighting broke out between the military and the combined force of the Kachin Independence Organization/Kachin Independence Army (KIO/KIA) and the People’s Defense Force (PDF) in northern Shan state. North Korea carried out another series of missile tests. In the Philippines, a renowned radio broadcaster was killed in Metro Manila by unidentified assailants. Meanwhile, fighting between the communist New People’s Army (NPA) and state forces intensified. In Indonesia, clashes between police and football fans led to a stampede in Malang city, leaving at least 130 people dead.
In Myanmar, several NLD party members and supporters were killed by the military and pro-military militias across Mandalay region last week (Irrawaddy, 5 October 2022). In Natogyi township, five NLD supporters were abducted, killed, and mutilated on 3 October. Lanyards with the logo of the pro-military Thway Thauk Aphwe (Blood Comrades Group) were found on the bodies of the victims, marking the first time such lanyards have been discovered in Natogyi township (Myanmar Now, 5 October 2022). The Blood Comrades Group emerged in April this year (for more, see this ACLED report on Myanmar). It has since targeted members and supporters of the NLD and anti-junta resistance groups, primarily in Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon, Mandalay, Bago, and Tanintharyi regions.
Elsewhere, the combined forces of the KIO/KIA and the PDF clashed with the Myanmar military in Kachin and northern Shan states, as well as Sagaing region. In northern Shan state, fighting broke out between the two sides in Manton town on 4 and 5 October, with the military firing artillery and destroying a monastery and residential houses during the clash. The fighting occurred after the combined force reportedly attacked a strategic military base camp and the Manton police station in late September (Myanmar Now, 5 October 2022). ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker warned of increased violence in northern Shan state during the preceding four weeks.
North Korea continued to carry out missile tests last week. Coinciding with South Korea’s Armed Forces Day, on 1 October, North Korean authorities test-fired two short-range ballistic missiles from Pyongyang into the sea off the country’s east coast. On 4 October, a Hwasong-12-type intermediate-range ballistic missile was launched from North Korea’s Jagang Province which flew across northern Japan before landing in the Pacific Ocean, marking the first such occurrence in five years (Radio Free Asia, 4 October 2022). North Korea test-fired two other short-range ballistic missiles from Pyongyang into the sea off its east coast on 6 October (Radio Free Asia, 6 October 2022). Hours later, 12 North Korean warplanes flew toward Hwangju in North Hwanghae Province near the border between South Korea and North Korea, reportedly prompting the South Korean air force to scramble 30 aircraft (AP, 6 October 2022). North Korea’s recent missile tests prompted South Korea, the US, and Japan to conduct joint military exercises in response. The US Navy also redeployed the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan near the Korean Peninsula (The Korea Herald, 5 October 2022).
Last week in the Philippines, prominent radio broadcaster Percival Mabasa (also known as Percy Lapid) was killed in an attack by unidentified assailants near his residence in Las Piñas city, Metro Manila. The broadcaster was known for criticizing the administrations of current President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. and former President Rodrigo Duterte on political issues such as red-tagging and extrajudicial killings (Philippine Star, 4 October 2022). His killing was widely condemned, especially by journalists and human rights groups, with some organizations claiming that it illustrates the dangers faced by Filipino journalists (HRW, 5 October 2022). Lapid is the second radio broadcaster to be killed since President Marcos, Jr. assumed office in June this year, after another radio broadcaster was stabbed to death in Negros Oriental last month. Separately, clashes between the NPA and the Philippine military intensified since last month, with firefights recorded in Calabarzon, Eastern Visayas, and Western Visayas.
In Indonesia, clashes between state forces and football fans led to a stampede at a stadium in Malang city, East Java, resulting in at least 130 people dead and triggering demonstrations throughout the country (Tribunnews, 7 October 2022). After a group of fans stormed a football pitch, scuffles broke out with state forces. State forces used tear gas and turned off the stadium’s lights, reportedly triggering the stampede (Kompas, 3 October 2022; Tempo, 5 October 2022). The incident sparked large demonstrations across the country, with participants condemning the use of tear gas. Tens of thousands of football fans held a candlelight vigil in front of the stadium, demanding a thorough investigation (Detik, 7 October 2022). Some civil rights advocates claim the incident highlighted a disproportionate use of police violence, while the Indonesian government has started an investigation (Washington Post, 6 October 2022).
Note: This dashboard automatically updates to cover the latest four weeks of data released by ACLED. Use the date filters to view data for the one-week period covered by this Regional Overview.