Chin Teenager Killed as Myanmar Regime Bombards Resistance Town

By The Irrawaddy 13 May 2021

An ethnically Chin teenager was killed and six other members of Chin State’s civilian resistance forces opposing Myanmar’s regime were injured by junta artillery in Mindat on Thursday.

Fighting between junta troops and the civilian resistance in Mindat started on Wednesday night after a ceasefire broke down.

Since about 6am on Thursday, civilians in Mindat have been attacked with artillery based in Kyaukhtu, Magwe Region, 33km to the east, according to a resistance fighter.

“A 17-year-old was killed. They are still firing on us from Kyaukhtu. About six others were injured,” a member of Mindat Defense Force, a civilian defense group fighting the junta, told The Irrawaddy.

The resistance fighters, largely armed with homemade hunting rifles, face junta troops with automatic rifles and artillery.

On Wednesday night, shootouts between junta troops and resistance fighters occurred at Mindat’s police station and a government office near the headquarters of the military’s 274 Battalion.

“The artillery battalion is in Kyaukhtu. We agreed a ceasefire with the military after they agreed not to deploy more troops to the town and not to pass through the town in military vehicles,” said a Mindat resident.

Civilians later agreed that 17 vehicles carrying around 270 junta troops could pass through from Matupi Township in exchange for the release of five young protesters being held by the security forces.

The ceasefire ended after the military regime reportedly claimed it would release only four of the five.

“Our demands were not met. Shootouts are ongoing. They are firing continuously from Kyaukhtu. We also hear planes,” said a Mindat Defense Force member. “There will be no more talks. We will protect our town as best we can.”

The use of artillery on civilian targets has led to talk of possible genocide being committed against the mountainous community.

On April 24, a nighttime shootout occurred when junta forces broke promises to release seven young anti-regime protesters.

On April 26 and 27 the newly formed Mindat Defense Force attacked military reinforcements approaching the town using homemade weapons, leaving at least 20 junta troops dead.

The military casualties led to talks with residents and the ceasefire.

In early May, civilians allowed military troops to pass through the town.

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