A Chin woman was killed inside her home when an artillery fired by LIB 266 from the Tactical Command base in Hakha landed in Hniarlawn Village this morning at around 9:30 local time. Cia Hnem, 58, was dead and her home destroyed by a direct hit from artillery shell believed to be a 120 mm round. A youth in the village was also injured in his upper arms in the explosion.

Home destroyed and woman killed in artillery attacks

The incident followed a fire fight earlier in the morning near the Chin State Ministerial Residential Compound, located on the edge of Hakha on the way to Hnianlawn Village.

Cia Hnem, 58, was killed in the attacks

A youth was injured in his upper right arm in the attacks

At least a third of the village has been evacuated as villagers fear more possible attacks.

Similarly, on February 13, 2022, two pastors were injured when the same Battalion deliberately fired artillery on the village.

On July 25, 2022, a 22 year-old church worker was shot and killed by members of LIB 266 when soldiers stormed the village. During the raid, the soldiers pillaged the village and looted valuables and goods from over 67 houses in the village while villagers were fleeing.

Hardships for the embattled Chin minority in Myanmar’s poorest state

This aerial photo taken on October 29, 2021 show smokes and fires from Thantlang, in Chin State, where more than 160 buildings have been destroyed caused by shelling from Junta military troops, according to local media. Photo: AFP

Sitting snug against the Indian border, Chin State, arguably the poorest state in Myanmar has more in common with neighbouring India’s Mizoram State than the Bamar region of central Myanmar.

One of the smallest states in Myanmar, it covers 36,019-square-kilometres but it is relatively sparsely populated with only about 479,000 inhabitants, of which more than 221,000 are children, according to the 2014 census.

It is an underdeveloped mountainous state with few roads. Many people live in small, high, remote villages that are hard to access. Traveling by road between some areas in northern and southern Chin State is sometimes impossible and requires travellers to leave the state and go via Sagaing Region. For many people in Chin State it is easier to get to India than central Myanmar.

According to a 2013 government study, Chin State was the poorest area of Myanmar with a poverty rate of 73 per cent. The next poorest area was Rakhine State with a poverty rate of 44 per cent and the average national poverty rate was 26 per cent, though it was not clear what criteria the study used to define poverty.

Aid agency, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), says that more than seven people in 10 in Chin State live below the poverty line. In a 2015 survey, almost 80 percent of households reviewed had poor or borderline food security. One in 10 children are not expected to live to age five. The state recorded the highest rate in Myanmar of child stunting (41 per cent) in 2015, and 17 per cent of children are underweight. Only 15 per cent of children are born in a health facility.

The extremes and vagaries of the weather have had an impact on farming and the level of development in the state. Flooding and landslides devastated Chin State from June to August 2015. The Chin Committee for Emergency Response and Rehabilitation (CCERR) estimated that 54,537 people had been affected by the adverse weather in Chin State. The countryside in many areas still bears the scars of massive landslides.

Speaking Burmese in many parts of Chin State will not get a traveller very far as many Chin do not even speak Burmese. The Chin are ethnically far more similar to the Mizo in Mizoram State and they speak dialects of the same language, though there are a wide variety of Chin people, with 53 different subtribes and languages in Chin State.

The Chin and Mizo people have a long and deeply shared cultural history. They have the same ethnic roots and are both part of the Zo ethnic group. They speak the same Tibeto-Burman languages and are bonded by the same customs, cultures and traditions. There is a history of intermarriage and family kinship on both sides of the border.


The Mizos have long believed that the people of Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracts, Myanmar’s Chin Hills, and India’s Mizoram and the Assam States are one ethnic group, divided into three nations by the British.

The Mizo and Chin are also Christians, whereas the Bamar are primarily Buddhist. Originally the Chin were animists, but they were converted to Christianity by American Baptists. The first of the Baptist missionaries to come to Chin State were Reverend Arthur E. Carson and his wife, Laura, who arrived in Hakha, the Chin State capital on 15 March 1899. They are revered in Chin State for having bought Christianity to the Chin and there is even a museum dedicated to Reverend Carson in his old house in Hakha.

Other Baptist missionaries from the U.S.A. followed Reverend Carson at the beginning of the 20th Century. They were extremely successful with their conversions. Now, over 90 per cent of Chin people are Christians and churches are at the centre of society. Pastors and ministers are very respected and often have leadership roles in society.

Every Sunday everyone goes to church and towns and villages are deserted until everyone pours out of the churches in their Sunday best. Apart from Baptist churches, there are also Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and Evangelical churches in Chin State.

Prior to the February 2021 coup there were no very large, powerful ethnic armed organisation (EAO), unlike in some other ethnic areas such as Kachin, Karen and Shan states where there were large EAOs fighting for autonomy.

While all those states saw extensive fighting at times since the military originally took power in 1962 under General Ne Win, there was less fighting in Chin State and no Chin EAO fighting for autonomy

until the formation of the Chin National Front (CNF) and its armed wing, the Chin National Army (CNA) in 1988.

The goals for the CNF/CNA when it was formed was to help secure self-determination for the Chin people, democracy and the establishment of a Federal Union of Myanmar. It was not a big or powerful organisation and never had more than 200-300 active members prior to 2021.

Despite this, the CNA still clashed with the Myanmar military and in the period between 1988 and 2012 at least 70 CNA soldiers were reportedly killed in fighting with the military. But there was little fighting after 2003 and in 2012 the CNF signed a ceasefire with the military.

In October 2015 the CNF were one of the eight EAOs to sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) with the army at the end of President Thein Sein’s term.

Until the military coup in February 2021 Chin State was relatively peaceful, but since the coup it has seen more than its fair share of violence, regularly cropping up in the Myanmar news.

The CNF/CNA was said to be the first EAO to ally itself with the National Unity Government (NUG). More guerrilla groups have also sprung up in Chin State to help the CNA in its fight against the junta. They include, amongst others, the Chin National Organisation (CNO) and its armed wing, the Chin National Defence Force (CNDF), which were formed on 13 April 2021, and the Chinland Defence Force that was formed on 4 April 2021.

Violence has ratcheted up in Chin State. Some notable atrocities have included the junta army’s attack on Mindat Town in May 2021. They used captured youths as human shields and, according to the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) may have committed war crimes and “grave breaches of the Geneva Convention” in the town.

Another atrocity was the burning down and complete destruction of Thantlang Town leading to all the residents fleeing the town, at the end of 2021.

The violence since the coup has displaced an unprecedented amount of people in Chin State.

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in December 2020, just prior to the coup, there were only 6,300 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Chin State, some of whom fled their homes due to natural disasters such as landslides, rather than due to violence.

But, by 4 July this year, according to UNHCR, there were 74,900 people displaced in Chin State, more than 10 times the number prior to the coup. Of those, 33,900 are IDPs in Chin State and 41,000 are Chin refugees in India, most of whom are in Mizoram.

But the junta army has not had it all its own way in Chin State. In March 2022 a CNA/CNF spokesperson told Irrawaddy that they run their own schools, charities and clinics in almost all the rural areas of Chin State except Paletwa Township.

He estimated that they controlled about 75 per cent of Chin State, but that the junta still control the urban areas and the roads connecting towns. But, the junta’s control of the roads is far from complete. They often face mine attacks by resistance groups on the roads that cost them many casualties and make travelling between towns very slow.

Like nearly all areas of Myanmar Chin State has seen a massive increase in violence and displaced people and the situation will likely only improve once the junta are forced out of power.

500 new infantry troops are being deployed to Chin State as SAC junta prepares for a major offensive against Chin resistance forces. Fighting have erupted in different parts of Chin State, including in Hakha town where LIB266 have fired rockets into civilian neighborhoods indiscriminately. Hundreds have fled their homes and villages in southern Chin State following the brutal killing of 10 civilians whose bodies were found bound and their throats slashed and stabbed.

Imminent Attacks?

500 new infantry troops are being deployed to Chin State as SAC junta prepares for a major offensive against Chin resistance forces. Fighting have erupted in different parts of Chin State, including in Hakha town where LIB266 have fired rockets into civilian neighborhoods indiscriminately. Hundreds have fled their homes and villages in southern Chin State following the brutal killing of 10 civilians whose bodies were found bound and their throats slashed and stabbed.

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More people are fleeing from multiple villages in Matupi Township and moving towards the Indian border following the brutal summary killings of at least 10 civilians last week and as the military junta reinforces troops into the areas under the Tactical Operations Command in Matupi in southern Chin State.

Summary Killing of 10 Civilians

On January 6 at around 8:30 am, junta soldiers from LIB 140 of Matupi-based Tactical Operations Command arrested seven people who were traveling by motorbikes on the road between Kihlueng and Lunghlaw villages, northwest of Maputi Town. The arrests took place at a location about one mile outside of Kihlueng village. One of the travelers in the group is a 56 year-old villager (Name withheld) who turned away and escaped immediately upon witnessing the arrests of his traveling companions who were driving ahead of him. On the next day at around noon on January 7, villagers discovered 8 dead bodies, including that of a 13-year-old boy whose throat was slashed along the stretch of dirt road between Kihlueng and Lunghlaw. All the dead bodies have their hands tied behind their backs and bore knife wounds to the torso area and slashed throats. Two more bodies were discovered at a location between Kihlueng and Kace, another village in the area north of Kihlueng, the same day.

Among those summarily executed is Pu Tui Dim (55), a former staff member working for CHRO for many years before moving on to co-found Khonumthung News and worked as its Editor-in-Chief. The following is the list of persons who were brutally murdered by the junta.

1. Pu Tui Dim, 55
2. Pa Le Nang, 13
3. Salai Steven, 28
4. Pu La Ring, 58
5. Pu Va Thu, 38
6. Pu Paw Sali, 45
7. Pu Tin Sang, 41
8. U Yezar Aung, 40
9. Pu Lian Ngai, 42
10. Salai Thak Lung, 50

Villagers fleeing the area

Horrified by news of the brutal killings, more than 1000 civilians from at least six villages in the area, including Kihlueng, Kace, Boitia, Ngaleng, Lunghlaw and Tibaw villages have all fled and are taking shelter at Amlai, Rengkhen and Tangku villages. But as troops are reinforced in the areas, the IDPs, along with civilians from their host villages have further moved towards Sumsen and Sabawngpi, which are located closer to the Indian border. Some have crossed into Mizoram, including a witness to the arrests on January 6 of a group of travelers whose bodies were later found.

Troops reinforced

At least 90 truckloads of soldiers, ammunition and supplies are heading to Matupi and have been traveling from Kyaukhtu in Magway since January 9. As of January 11, the troops are on the way between Mindat and Matupi and have met with ambush from local resistance groups from the Chinland Defense Forces. Maputi is the base of one of the two Tactical Operations Command, which has an existing strength of three stationary battalions under its command (LIB 140, IB 304 and LIB 274 based in Mindat). The reinforcement are believed to be from some of the notorious Light Infantry Divisions, which are deployed in swift tactical situation and as a quick mobile combat force.

Junta soldiers caught in the acts of committing arson in Thantlang on November 26, 2021. The soldiers are seen running around the street torching multiple houses in Seikpyoye Ward of Thanglang, in the neighborhood adjacent to where they are comping at the Natala School compound (building rows above the street)

AP News| Thantlang, a town near the Indian border, has also been emptied of its people after four months of heavy fighting, according to the Chin Human Rights Organization. Drone footage shot by the group in October and December and seen by the AP shows fires raging inside buildings and charred churches, collapsed schools and ruined homes. The footage matches fires detected by satellites and interviews with villagers.

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Now, around 2 million square feet have burned, according to The Post’s analysis of available imagery. That represents roughly 30 percent of Thantlang, or about 600 of the town’s 2,000 buildings. Almost all of the town’s shops and businesses were destroyed, according to the Chin Human Rights Organization.

How Myanmar’s military, the Tatmadaw, targeted civilians by burning Chin State villages – Washington Post

CHAMPHAI, India, Dec 10 (Reuters) – The former boxer said he and his comrades were perched on a hillside near the town of Mindat, in Myanmar’s northwest, and preparing to ambush a patrol of soldiers when the troops opened fire and a bullet smashed into his forearm.

“I tried to run but I got shot again in the upper arm,” Za Latt Thwey, who requested that he be identified by the name he uses as a boxer, told Reuters near a safe house in India’s Mizoram state, which borders Myanmar.

An Indian orthopaedic surgeon’s note said the 25-year-old had suffered a gunshot wound and an X-ray showed where his bone had been shattered.

That skirmish in mid-May was part of what seven people involved in the rebellion, including five fighters, said was a growing popular resistance to Myanmar’s military in Chin state.

Their accounts include previously unreported details of how the rebellion there began and expanded.

As in other parts of the country, civilians enraged by the military coup in February and subsequent crackdown on protesters are taking up arms. The junta appears to be worried about the threat they pose in Chin.

In the last few weeks, the military, known as the Tatmadaw, has sent reinforcements to Chin, which had been largely peaceful for years, and launched a major offensive against rebels, according to some analysts and rights groups.

More than a dozen so-called Chinland Defence Force (CDF) opposition groups have sprung up in the state, according to three of the sources, who described an expanding network of fighters whose knowledge of local terrain is a major advantage.

They said the groups had established supply chains, food stockpiles and weapon depots and linked up with a long-established ethnic group called the Chin National Front (CNF) to train in combat and better coordinate operations.

The military has said all resistance forces and the shadow government are “terrorists”.

CNF spokesman Salai Htet Ni told Reuters the group had helped train Chin youth and protesters in basic guerrilla warfare after the military coup.

“Our unity and public support is our strength,” said a 32-year-old fighter from Chin’s capital Hakha.

Reuters was not able to independently verify some claims made by the sources about the strength of the rebellion and scale of the Tatmadaw’s response.

Myanmar’s military spokesperson and the Ministry of Information did not respond to requests for comment on the growing resistance in Chin or the armed forces’ deployments.

The Tatmadaw’s response to resistance in Chin and elsewhere has prompted warnings from the United Nations and United States that the brutal clampdown on Rohingya Muslims in neighbouring Rakhine state in 2017 risked being repeated.

More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Rakhine that year and refugees accused the military of mass killings and rape. UN investigators said the military had carried out the atrocities with “genocidal intent”.

Myanmar authorities said they were battling an insurgency and deny carrying out systematic atrocities.

The military has not released details of overall battlefield losses since the February coup.


Before he took up arms, the fighter from Hakha said he was a postgraduate student of history who joined widespread public demonstrations against the February coup.

Like the four other fighters Reuters interviewed in Mizoram, he said his decision to join the resistance was triggered by the military’s suppression of peaceful protests that demanded civilian rule be restored.

Local monitoring group the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) says junta forces have killed more than 1,300 people and detained thousands in a bid to crush opposition to the coup.

The military has outlawed AAPP, saying it is biased and uses exaggerated data. The AAPP has not responded to that accusation.

Groups of young protesters in Hakha began stockpiling food including rice, oil and noodles and medical supplies in multiple locations in the jungle surrounding the township of around 50,000 people, two of the fighters said.

In April, some CDF groups met in Camp Victoria, the CNF’s headquarters, to coordinate armed resistance against the Tatmadaw, according to the fighter from Hakha.

The CNF, which has a military wing, has become pivotal to the resistance, providing training and other support to several CDF groups across the state, said two fighters and a senior leader of the National Unity Government (NUG).

The NUG, effectively a shadow government, comprises pro-democracy groups and remnants of the ousted civilian administration. It has held talks with foreign officials, including from the United States.

In the early months of the resistance, nearly 2,000 volunteers from Hakha were sent to Camp Victoria for combat training under the CNF, the two fighters said, a level of coordination not previously reported.


By May, three of the CDF fighters said they were taking on the Tatmadaw in several parts of Chin, a 36,000 square kilometre province with nine major townships.

Outside Mindat, Za Latt Thwey said he was among the guerrillas, some trained by the CNF, who targeted Tatmadaw patrols.

In cellphone footage taken by fighters, and shown to Reuters by Za Latt Thwey, small groups of young men could be seen perched on wooded hillsides firing homemade guns and automatic rifles. Reuters could not independently verify the footage.

Financial support for the rebels in Mindat has mostly come from the Chin diaspora and the NUG, said an ousted Chin lawmaker, who declined to be named.

Through multiple routes, including from India, the lawmaker said food, clothes, medicine and equipment were reaching the rebels each month.

Weapons and explosives were the hardest to procure, according to the lawmaker, the NUG leader and three of the fighters.

The CDF Hakha, with some 2,000 volunteers, is run by a 21-member council that oversees command stations, smaller camps and supporting units, two of the rebels said.

Across Chin violence has escalated in the last four months as the Tatmadaw clashes with a rising number of rebel groups, according to analysis from the Chin Human Rights Organisation (CHRO).

“We have never had this kind of crisis before in Chin,” said CHRO’s Salai Za Uk Ling.

Once a thriving settlement of some 10,000 people, the hilltop town of Thantlang is now virtually deserted, surrounded by soldiers who set alight more than 500 buildings since early September, according to two former residents and the CHRO.

The U.S. State Department singled out events in Chin, and Thantlang in particular, in a statement last month urging the military to end the violence.

Pa Hein, 55, who said he was among the last people to leave the town in late September, told Reuters by telephone that he saw Tatmadaw troops ransack shops and set buildings on fire.

The Myanmar military has denied the accusations, and blamed insurgents for instigating fighting in Thantlang and burning homes.


After the first police defectors trickled into India’s Mizoram state in early March, followed by Myanmar lawmakers and thousands of others seeking shelter, the mountainous border province has become a buffer zone for Chin guerrillas.

The Indian government did not respond to a request for comment.

Mizoram authorities estimate around 12,900 people have crossed over from Myanmar, including 30 ousted state and federal lawmakers, according to a senior Mizoram police official who declined to be named.

Some of the lawmakers and leaders have been helping the resistance, and as fighting intensifies they are seeking to unify and support the rebels.

The NUG wants to bring all armed resistance groups under a single command with the assistance of the CNF, said the Chin lawmaker and senior NUG leader.

CNF’s Salai Htet Ni said the group and the NUG had agreed to work together, with the CNF “taking a leadership role in Chin State’s defence and military warfare.”

After he was shot, Za Latt Thwey said he tried for months to find a safe route to the Myanmar city of Mandalay, but eventually deemed the journey too risky.

In early November, he collected money from family and friends and undertook a five-day journey, mostly by motorcycle, to cross into India.

“I can’t box anymore,” Za Latt Thwey said. “But I need my arm to be fixed so that I can continue my normal life, so that I can farm.”

By Devjyot Ghoshal and Chanchinmawia

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