Chin State Braces for Offensive as Myanmar Junta Deploys Reinforcements

By Hein Htoo Zan 15 March 2023

Resistance forces in the anti-regime stronghold of Chin State are bracing for a regime offensive after witnessing a massive reinforcement of junta troops over the past week.

Residents and resistance fighters in the mountainous northwest state report that junta convoys have been crossing into northern and southern Chin State from neighboring Sagaing and Magwe regions since early this month.

The junta’s redeployment in Chin State comes as the regime escalates its brutal offensive targeting resistance troops and civilians in Sagaing Region, southern Shan State and Kayah State in the east of the country.

Sagaing Region and Chin and Kayah states have been hotbeds of resistance since the coup in 2021 and the regime has been unable to control the areas since then.

“Convoys of junta military trucks began arriving in the Chin Hills last week. It is clear that they are preparing to organize an offensive against revolutionary groups in the area,” said Salai Yaw Man, a member of the Mindat Township People’s Administrative Body in Chin State.

Local people report seeing a convoy of 30 armoured vehicles and trucks heading to the Chin Hills after entering the state from Kale Township in neighboring Sagaing Region on March 9.

“The trucks were not military trucks but commercial vehicles carrying food supplies the Chin Hills for existing troops and the reinforcements,” said a resident of Tedim Township where the convoy passed through as it headed to Falam in northern Chin State.

On March 10, a convoy of about 80 military trucks left the 101st Light Infantry Division base in Pakokku Township in neighboring Magwe Region, heading for the Chin Hills, according to resistance groups and residents.

Resistance forces are attempting to disrupt the redeployment by attacking the convoys.

On March 11, a combined force of Chin ethnic resistance groups attacked junta military convoys at least 10 times on the mountainous road between Kale and Falam.

“We are monitoring the convoys, which are fanning out to different townships, with some pausing Tedim and others on the way from Tedim to Matupi. We attack them whenever we get an opportunity,” said a member of the Chin Defence Force (CDF).

A regime convoy traveling from Kalay Township suffered heavy casualties when it was attacked in a valley near Tedim at around 2.30 pm on March 11, according to residents of the town.

“After being hit by blasts, they [junta troops] took about 30 residents of nearby villages hostage as human shields,” said a Tedim resident, who requested anonymity due to security concerns.

The massive troop reinforcement is receiving air cover from jet fighters and helicopter gunships that are circling townships in the Chin Hills every day, according to resistance groups.