Last week in the East Asia Pacific region, the Myanmar military conducted a deadly aerial attack in Myanmar’s Kachin state and raided a village in Sagaing region, resulting in significant casualties. In the Philippines, fighting between the communist New People’s Army (NPA) and state forces continued. In Papua New Guinea, a fight between members of two tribes on Kiriwina Island led to multiple deaths. North Korea continued to fire artillery shells near its border with South Korea. In China, protesters took to the streets against an ongoing COVID-19 lockdown. In South Korea, pro- and anti-government demonstrations were held in Seoul.
In Myanmar, the military carried out an airstrike in Hpakant township, Kachin state, on 23 October, killing dozens of people. The military targeted A Nang Pa village — an area controlled by Brigade 9 of the Kachin Independence Organization/Kachin Independence Army (KIO/KIA) — during a concert celebrating the 62nd anniversary of the founding of the KIO. Among those killed were high-ranking KIO/KIA officers, religious leaders, artists, and members of the National League for Democracy party (Radio Free Asia, 26 October 2022). The death toll continued to increase in the days following the attack as the military denied medical access to the injured and threatened those who treated the wounded (Myanmar Now, 27 October 2022).
Elsewhere, in Sagaing region, the military conducted a multi-day operation on Hpa Lan Pin village in Pale township last week. On 25 October, military commandos who were airlifted into the area clashed with the People’s Defense Force (PDF) during a raid on the National Unity Government’s Pale Township Public Administration Team office. The military claimed the raid was a mission to free the wife of a military officer detained on 12 October by the PDF; other prisoners of war and common criminals were being held in the office as well (Myanmar Now, 26 October 2022). The fighting continued on 27 October as the military conducted three airstrikes near the village. Several bodies were found after the military left the village and are believed to have been killed by the military (Myanmar Now, 28 October 2022). Earlier raids on Yin Paung Taing and Shwe Hlan villages on 19 and 20 October, respectively, were also reportedly aimed at extracting the military officer’s wife and led to multiple civilian fatalities (Myanmar Now, 20 October 2022).
In the Philippines, fighting between NPA rebels and state forces continued last week, with deadly clashes reported in Cordillera Administrative Region and Bicol Region. In Cordillera Administrative Region, a firefight between the NPA and the military in Abra on 27 October left two soldiers dead and two soldiers wounded. The clash broke out after the NPA reportedly ambushed a group of soldiers deployed to carry out earthquake relief operations (Manila Bulletin, 28 October 2022). Meanwhile, four NPA rebels were reportedly killed in two separate clashes with state forces in Bicol Region. State forces also reported the seizure of weapons and explosives from NPA hideouts in Bicol Region and Calabarzon.
In Papua New Guinea, an armed clash broke out between Kulumata and Kuboma tribe members on Kiriwina Island in Milne Bay province last week, leaving more than 20 people dead. The clash erupted after Kuboma villagers reportedly destroyed Kulumata villagers’ yam gardens, with tensions between the tribes continuing since September after a fight during a football match (Facebook @looppng, 27 October 2022). In response to the clash, police deployed 10 personnel to the island.
North Korea continued to fire artillery shells into the sea last week for a third consecutive week. On 24 October, North Korea and South Korea exchanged warning shots, accusing each other of breaching the de facto maritime border (Reuters, 25 October 2022). North Korea also fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea off the country’s east coast on 28 October, coinciding with the final day of South Korea’s annual military drill (YNA, 28 October 2022).
Last week in China, demonstrations were held against COVID-19 restrictions in Lhasa city of Tibet province. Hundreds of residents, mostly Han Chinese migrant workers, gathered in Chengguan district to protest lockdowns imposed since early August (Radio Free Asia, 27 October 2022). Elsewhere in the city, demonstrators blocked streets and engaged in scuffles with police. Demonstrations in Lhasa are rare. The last large-scale protest in the city was in 2008, when Tibetans protested against allegedly disproportionate persecution by the government (Radio Free Asia, 26 October 2022).
In South Korea, large pro-government and anti-government counter-rallies were held in Seoul on 22 October. Pro-government protesters demonstrated against opposition Democratic Party of Korea leader Lee Jae-myung for alleged corruption, while anti-government demonstrators urged President Yoon Suk-yeol to step down, criticizing his policies and accusing his family of corruption.
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.