Conflicts & War

Chin ethnic armed group fears imminent attacks by Myanmar military

By Sangzuala Hmar

Aizawl, India, Oct 13 (EFE).- The Chin National Front (CNF), an ethnic revolutionary group in Myanmar, has warned of an imminent attack by the army in the western Chin and Sagaing regions following the deployment of troops and heavy weaponry.

The CNF was formed in March 1988 with a resolve to regain the rights of the ethnic Chin people in Myanmar and to restore democracy and federalism in the country.

Salai Htet Ni, spokesperson of Chin National Army (CNA), an armed wing of the CNF, has expressed concerns about a possible military crackdown on the growing civilian resistance to the Tatmadaw, or Myanmar’s armed forces.

“The evil army, Tatmadaw, leaders have appointed new commanders. Soon after the appointments there are movements and deployments of heavy weapons. The army is busy reinforcing its bases at Falam and Teddim Township in Chin state,” Htet Ni told EFE late Tuesday in the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram, bordering Myanmar.

“The deployment of these high-level commanders, coupled with the internet shutdown and the deployment of heavy arms to this area, has really led us to become very alarmed and concerned that there may be an imminent attack, a very serious attack,” Htet Ni said.

After the military ousted the democratically elected government led by Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb.1, more than 2,000 people have reportedly been killed.

Chin State had already experienced massive displacements and casualties since early September.

Recently, CNA fighters, together with the newly formed Chinland Defence Force, overran a military outpost at Lungler town, killing 12 soldiers.

“After two days’ shootout, on Sep.10, 2021 the CNA overcame Lungler army bastion in Chin state. Our resistance has become a major concern for the Tatmadaw,” said Htet Ni, who also holds the rank of assistant secretary-general of the CNF.

The CNF expects the Tatmadaw to target Camp Victoria, or the army headquarters of the CNA.

The CNA spokesperson said people have been killed, villages raided, and houses burned in an apparent effort to find armed resistance elements and thier sympathizers.

“Our concern is that the Tatmadaw do not hesitate to kill civilians or use them as shields; violations and mass detentions of civilians have stepped up since Sep.7,” Cheu-a, commander at Camp Victoria, told EFE over the phone.

Meanwhile, Htet Ni warned that if the army use their heavy artillery – which he believes they will -, the sufferings and casualties will be “disastrous,” with civilians becoming the first to suffer.

“There have been reports of mass arrests, as well as torture and summary executions. They have started their war plan; military ‘clearance operations’ have involved the use of artillery barrages and airstrikes at Lungler village in Chin state,” Htet Ni stressed.

Currently, CNA has over 500 ethnic fighters stationed at its headquarters, and over 10,000 fighters across Chin state, Sagaing Division and Magway regions in western Myanmar.

“Since the coup, the youth have joined us and we have been giving them training. With these Generation Z volunteers, our total numbers have crossed 10,000,” Salai Htet Ni said.

The so-called Generation Z is an important demographic, and covers broad swaths of people essential to the country’s economy, such as doctors, nurses, artists, bankers, railroad workers, teachers, LGBTQ activists, trade unions, students and many other social groups, who have joined the resistance against the army.

“We have been training the Gen Z for the past few months, they are determined and resolute, we are prepared for the worst,” Camp Victoria commander Cheu-a said.

Chin State, an impoverished and sparsely populated, mountainous area that shares its border with India and Bangladesh, has witnessed a rapid militarization since 1988, resulting in widespread human rights violations.

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