Last week in the East Asia Pacific region, a clash between the Myanmar military and the United League of Arakan/Arakan Army (ULA/AA) in Myanmar’s Rakhine state left several civilians dead. Fighting continued between the military and the combined forces of the Kachin Independence Organization/Kachin Independence Army (KIO/KIA) and the People’s Defense Force (PDF) in Kachin state, while military shelling targeting civilians continued across several states and regions. In the Philippines, fighting between the communist New People’s Army (NPA) and state forces continued. In Papua New Guinea, police rioted in Port Moresby in response to the killing of a policeman in a rural area. North Korea continued to fire artillery shells and conducted a series of missile tests. In South Korea, protesters condemned the government over a deadly crowd crush incident in Itaewon. Lastly, widespread demonstrations were held in Australia, calling for justice over the death of an Indigenous teenager.
In Myanmar, fighting broke out between the ULA/AA and the military in Rakhine state after the ULA/AA intercepted two military vessels traveling from Sittwe to Kyauktaw on the Kaladan River near Kyauktaw town on 4 November. In response to the attack, the military fired small and heavy weapons into surrounding areas along the river, reportedly killing villagers, including a child, and injuring several others (DVB, 5 November 2022).
In Kachin state, the combined forces of the KIO/KIA and the PDF clashed with the military near Long Ja Bum mountain in Momauk township from 29 to 30 October. The KIO/KIA claimed that the military suffered heavy casualties (Irrawaddy, 31 October 2022). Three civilians, including a child, were also injured by military shelling associated with the clashes (RFA, 30 October 2022). Fighting in Momauk township has intensified since 22 October after a commander and five military soldiers were killed by a landmine near the Long Ja Bum mountain (Kachin News Group, 25 October 2022).
Absent clashes, the military continued to target civilians with artillery shelling in Shan, Kayah, Rakhine, and Kachin states, and Sagaing, Tanintharyi, and Bago regions last week. In northern Shan state, four students were injured when a military artillery shell hit the Kachin Baptist Convention bible school compound in Kutkai township on 3 November (Myanmar Now, 4 November 2022). On the same day, in Sagaing region, the military fired artillery rounds into villages in Kanbalu township, reportedly killing a boy and his grandmother and injuring two others (RFA, 4 November 2022).
In the Philippines, fighting between NPA rebels and state forces continued last week, with most clashes reported in Central Visayas region. In Central Visayas region, the NPA and the military engaged in multiple clashes in Guihulngan City between 29 and 31 October. Subsequently, on 1 November, the NPA attacked a police detachment in Guihulngan City, triggering a shootout with police and leading to the reported deaths of two rebels. Violence in Central Visayas is considered an area of ‘high risk’ by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker.
Last week in Papua New Guinea, members of the police mobile squad rioted at a market in Port Moresby following the killing of a lone police officer by an unknown armed group in Margarima, Hela province. The police officers fired weapons and chased away vendors, decrying a lack of security in the country’s rural regions (RNZ, 3 November 2022). No injuries were reported. On 1 November, women protesters, including family members of the murdered police officer, marched to a police barracks in the capital city, demanding justice for the slain policeman and an investigation into the murders of several police officers in Hela province and the Highlands region.
North Korea continued to carry out weapons tests last week for the fourth consecutive week. Between 2 and 3 November, North Korea test-fired dozens of missiles into the sea off the country’s west and east coasts, including a possible failed intercontinental ballistic missile test (Al Jazeera, 3 November 2022). One missile crossed a maritime buffer zone surrounding the Northern Limit Line and landed in international waters, 167 kilometers off South Korea’s Ulleung island (YNA, 2 November 2022). North Korea also fired more than 100 artillery shells off its east coast during the same period. On 4 November, North Korea flew about 180 warplanes within North Korean territory. The weapons tests came after South Korea and the US held joint ‘Vigilant Storm’ military exercises from 31 October to 4 November after a five-year hiatus (Korea JoongAng Daily, 31 October 2022).
In South Korea, a series of rallies took place last week condemning the government over a Halloween crowd crush incident, in which 156 people died on 30 October in Itaewon (The Korea Times, 1 November 2022). Demonstrators demanded the government take responsibility for the tragedy, criticizing the government’s lack of accountability and provision of proper countermeasures.
Australia saw a significant spike in demonstration activity last week, driven by demonstrations in response to the death of an Indigenous teenager, Cassius Turvey. Turvey died on 23 October after a man beat him with an iron bar on 13 October while allegedly shouting racial slurs (NIT, 28 October 2022). Demonstrators gathered to memorialize the teenager and call for justice for his death across all Australian states and territories.
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.