CHRO

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.

NOODLES AND SHOTGUNS

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.

NEW KIND OF CRISIS

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.

SEEKING TREATMENT

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

The Chin Human Rights Organization observes this year’s International Human Rights Day with our full support behind the Silent Strike across the country. On this auspicious occasion, we renew our commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights and democratic ideals, promoting justice and accountability and to ending impunity in Burma/Myanmar.

CHRO Team

Singapore: Myanmar’s military junta is resorting to old tactics, stoking anti-Muslim tension, as fears rise about more atrocities being committed in the strife-torn south-east Asian nation.

Ten months after seizing power in a coup, the Tatmadaw, as the military is known, has escalated an offensive in the country’s north, displacing tens of thousands of people amid reports of air strikes and foreign government concern about human rights abuses committed by security forces.

In this photo released by the Chin Human Rights Organisation, fires burn in the town of Thantlang in Myanmar’s north-western Chin state on October 29 this year.CREDIT:CHIN HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATION

Confronting continued armed resistance, it is also turning to its playbook on inciting racial division, four years after it drove nearly 800,000 Muslim Rohingya from their homes and across the border into Bangladesh in a vicious crackdown marked by killings and rape.

In leaflets which news site The Irrawaddy said this week were airdropped in Mingin, a town in the north-west Sagaing region of the Buddhist-majority country, the military told villagers the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation was providing money and ammunition to support the killing of monks and insulting the Buddhim.

“They will be happy about the current situation where Buddhists are killing each other,” the leaflets said.

Chris Sidoti, an investigator on the United Nations’ 2019 probe into the treatment of the ethnic minority Rohingya, said the strategy was “in line with what the military have been doing for generations”.

“They sow discord, especially against Muslims, as we saw most dramatically in the Rohingya ‘clearance operation’ in 2017,” he said.

“The line here is completely consistent with their past tactics and those of their Bamar Buddhist chauvinist allies.”

Ronan Lee, a visiting scholar at the Queen Mary University of London’s International State Crime Initiative, described the reported distribution of the material as “very worrying”, saying the junta was again “weaponising anti-Muslim prejudice”.

“This kind of incitement previously contributed to anti-Muslim pogroms, forced displacement and genocide,” said Lee, a former Greens MP in Queensland.

The leaflets also threaten the public with the military’s notorious “four cuts” strategy in a bid to suppress resistance, warning villages will be destroyed if there is an insurgency.

It is just the latest instance of the information warfare in a post-coup crisis. The military has killed more than 1300 people and arrested more than 10,000 since the takeover on February 1, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners monitoring group.

Reuters reported last month that thousands of soldiers were being instructed to open fake accounts on social media to spread military propaganda, monitor dissent and take aim at opponents online.

The Tatamadaw said it took control because of electoral fraud army generals alleged was committed by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party, claims that were dismissed by Myanmar’s electoral commission and by international observers.

Now, as opposition to its takeover continues, the military has stepped up its deployment of troops and heavy weaponry to combat armed opposition in the north and north-west of the country, leading Tom Andrews, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, to warn of “more mass atrocity crimes”.

“These tactics are ominously reminiscent of those employed by the military before its genocidal attacks against the Rohingya in Rakhine State in 2016 and 2017,” Andrews said in October.

The Australian government also weighed in last weekend, issuing a joint statement with Canada, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States, citing “credible reports of sexual violence and torture, especially in Chin state, Sagaing region and Magwe region”.

“In Chin state, it is reported the military has burnt homes, churches and an orphanage in Thantlang village, and has targeted humanitarian organisations,” the statement said.

“We are concerned about allegations of weapons stockpiling and attacks by the military, including shelling and air strikes, use of heavy weapons, and the deployment of thousands of troops accompanying what security forces assert are counter-terrorism operations, which are disproportionately impacting civilians.”

On Thursday, Human Rights Watch released a report detailing how security forces encircled protesters and fired on those who tried to rescue them during a massacre in Yangon in March in which at least 65 people were killed.

Meanwhile, Suu Kyi is facing decades-long prison sentences over a dozen charges filed against her by the junta. They have been taking place behind closed doors in the capital Naypyidaw.

The first of her trials – on charges of incitement and breaching the country’s natural disaster laws while campaigning in a pandemic year – is due to come to a conclusion on Monday.

By Chris Barrett

December 4, 2021 — 5.00am

Sydney Morning Herald

Myanmar junta ‘weaponising’ racial tension with leaflet drops, houses burned in Thantlang (smh.com.au)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States on Friday issued a joint statement along with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea and Britain expressing concern over a military offensive in Myanmar that they say is disproportionately harming civilians.

Washington and other nations have repeatedly denounced a Feb. 1 coup that threw the Southeast Asian country into turmoil, with regional militias taking up arms after the military attempted to crush widespread protests.

In their joint statement, the nations expressed their “grave concern” over reports of abuses, including sexual violence and torture, especially in the northwestern area that comprises Chin State and the regions of Sagaing and Magwe, where at least 50,000 people are reported to have been displaced.

They called for the junta, which has been accused https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/us-says-it-is-concerned-by-alleged-human-rights-abuse-by-myanmar-security-forces-2021-10-31 of destroying homes and churches, to immediately end the violence.

“We are concerned about allegations of weapons stockpiling and attacks by the military, including shelling and airstrikes, use of heavy weapons, and the deployment of thousands of troops accompanying what security forces assert are counter-terrorism operations, which are disproportionately impacting civilians,” the countries said.

Myanmar’s army has called the militias “terrorists” intent on destroying the country.

The U.N. Security Council on Nov. 10 issued a statement expressing concern and calling for the cessation of violence.

The seven nations on Friday went further, calling for countries to “suspend all operational support to the military, and to cease the transfer of arms, materiel, dual-use equipment, and technical assistance to the military and its representatives.”

(Reporting by Simon Lewis; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

 

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