Myanmar Junta Burn Church and Homes During Operations in Chin State

By The Irrawaddy 15 October 2021

Junta troops advancing from Sagaing Region to Chin State have been torching houses and a church along the Falam-Hakha road, forcing hundreds from their homes.

More than 40 trucks carrying junta soldiers and an armored vehicle arrived in Falam on Wednesday and they torched houses and a church along the road to Hakha.

At least six houses and a church in a village about 15km from Falam were reduced to ashes on Wednesday, according to the Chin Baptist Convention (CBC). Two more houses were burned down in another village the following day.

According to the CBC and other sources, junta troops set ablaze at least 15 houses and a church on Wednesday and Thursday.

“It was an indiscriminate attack on homes and religious buildings. People are devastated. They think it disregards and insults religion,” said the CBC chairman.

The village that was torched on Wednesday has only around 40 inhabitants from 10 households. Another small village was torched on Thursday and all the residents have fled their homes.

A junta deployment has entered northern Chin State and another from Magwe Region into the south of the mountainous state to attack Chin resistance forces.

Chin resistance groups have ambushed junta troops entering the state. Around 300 residents from at least five roadside villages have fled the clashes, said the CBC chairman.

Villages torched by junta troops on Falam-Hakha road seen from a distance. / The Chin Journal

Humanitarian aid cannot reach those displaced due to tightened road checks.

“There is no one to help them as there is no guarantee for security on the road,” he said.

A resident who fled to Hakha said: “I am sad that I might lose my house and all the belongings that I left behind. But life is the most important and I can do nothing.”

Salai Htet Ni, a spokesman for the Chin National Front (CNF), said the regime was targeting the CNF headquarters as it works with the civilian National Unity Government to train and arm resistance fighters.

“Clashes will intensify in Thantlang, Falam and Hakha in northern Chin State. We are prepared. We are working with the Chin Defense Forces to repel attacks,” Salai Htet Ni told The Irrawaddy.

The CNF has negotiated with humanitarian agencies to enable civilians to take shelter on the Indian border, he said.

The military regime has not commented on its Chin operations and did not reply to The Irrawaddy’s requests for a comment.

In September, dozens of houses were destroyed in Thantlang by junta shelling and firefights with the combined Chinland Defense Force in Thantlang and Chin National Army.

A Chin pastor Cung Biak Hum was shot dead by junta forces during a clash with the resistance in Thantlang on September 18.

The Christian leader left his church to help put out fires caused by a junta artillery barrage. His wedding ring was taken by junta soldiers who cut his finger off.

You may also like these stories:

50 Myanmar Regime Soldiers Reported Killed in Clashes

Myanmar Junta Hits Suu Kyi’s Lawyer With Gagging Order

Myanmar Junta Refuses ASEAN’s Request to Meet Suu Kyi