Conflicts & War

Chin ethnic armed group poses challenge to Myanmar army rule

BY Sangzuala Hmar

Aizawl, India, Apr 4 (efe-epa).- An ethnic armed group belonging to the Chin tribe, has become the latest political challenge to military rule, branding Myanmar’s 2008 constitution as void and demanded restoration of federal democratic rule in the country.

Speaking to EFE from an undisclosed location in Myanmar, Chin National Army spokesperson Salai Htet Ni said his organization will reconsider the ceasefire agreement signed with the Myanmar government.

“We cannot stand by and do nothing if the military junta’s forces continue to kill protesters, we will stand with the dreams and demands of the people of Myanmar till the end,” said Salai Htet Ni, who also holds the rank of assistant secretary-general of the Chin National Front.

“The demonstration led by the people has entered a new chapter, it has become an uprising, I anticipate much worse – a civil war or a revolution,” Salai Htet Ni said.

“The ethnic armed groups now have a similar enemy and we need to join hands and fight for the restoration of Democracy in Myanmar, a meeting of ten armed revolutionary groups will be soon, the army is hurting the people. We need to join together,” he said.

“Demonstrators in the cities and towns of Myanmar have been facing police and soldiers armed with war weapons with catapults and sticks, our people are dying, we cannot let them die in vain,” the Chin National Army spokesperson vowed.

The Chin National Army, an armed wing of the Chin National Front, has publicly publicly denounced the coup and have said they will defend their people within their claimed territory.

“We have helped our people to cross over to Indian side, which we will continue to do so, and aid anyone in need,” Ni said.

“Safeguarding our people us our priority, the army’s crackdown on pro democracy protests has reached the town of Kalemyo, populated largely by Chin-Lusei ethnic tribes, it has become our major concern, if the iron hands of the Tatmadaw befall on our people, a time will soon come when we will lead the resistance,” Ni said.

The Tatmadaw rule has recently announced a ceasefire with the armed ethnic groups of Myanmar and mainly focused on cracking down on the civil disobedience movement. However major ethnic armed groups including the Chins in the west bordering India, Kachin in the north, the Karen in the east and the Arakan Army in western Myanmar have publicly denounced the coup and have said they will defend protesters in the territory they control.

Talking to EFE on the issue of refugees’ stalemate with India, Salai Htet Ni called on Delhi to reconsider its stand on refugees and allow Chin people to cross over to the country for safety and shelter.

“India and Myanmar are neighbors, neighbors should help each other out in difficult times,” Ni said.

“We pray to India, the largest democratic nation in the world to champion the cause of democracy and help restore democracy in Myanmar,” Ni said.

The conflict in western Myanmar, spread the crisis to India’s northeast, where an estimated 1,500 Chin people took temporary shelter. India’s Home Affairs Ministry issued a Mar. 10 notice to all its states sharing a boundary with Myanmar not to allow refugees to enter the country and ordered state authorities to send back those who had entered. EFE-EPA


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