Myanmar Regime Helicopter ‘Hit’ in Fierce Battle for Chin Town

By The Irrawaddy 27 February 2023

Chin resistance forces claim to have damaged a junta transport helicopter by bombing the aircraft with a drone as it landed at a hilltop outpost in Thantlang town, Chin State on Sunday.

The transport helicopter was dropping off rations and ammunition as Mi 35 gunships attacked the town and nearby areas, said Salai Htet Ni, spokesperson of the Chin National Front, the political wing of the Chin National Army (CNA).

The helicopter was hit by a bomb dropped from the drone as it was landing at the junta base.

After sustaining damage, the aircraft took off trailing smoke and made an emergency landing in the Chin State capital of Hakha, nearby, said Salai Htet Ni.

The resistance drone strike destroyed military equipment dropped by the helicopter as well as a heavy weapon deployed at the junta base, he added.

The attack followed Jan. 29 drone strikes by Chin resistance forces on an Mi-17 transport helicopter as it dropped rations at the regime base in Thantlang, according to the Chinland Defense Force (CDF)-Thantlang, which has joined with the CNA to attack regime forces in the town.

That assault also damaged the helicopter but failed to bring it down.

The drone attacks are part of “Operation Tilim”, launched by the CDF-Thantlang and CNA on Dec. 29 to target regime forces in the hilltop town. In its first two months, the resistance operation has killed at least 20 regime forces including policemen and wounded over 25.

Six resistance forces including two CNA members were also killed.

The combined Chin resistance forces have been raiding local junta outposts in Thantlang.

On Feb 8 and 9, they attacked the township police station, seizing it from a force of 50 junta soldiers and police and confiscating 40 of their weapons.

Since then, the regime has mounted a counterattack to retake the town with daily artillery and air strikes.

The town overseen by the junta base remains under the control of Chin resistance forces despite around 95 air strikes launched by regime forces on Thantlang and nearby areas.

Thantlang’s entire population of around 10,000 residents fled when the junta began bombarding the town with artillery in retaliation for attacks by the Chin resistance in September 2021.

The town was reduced to ashes after regime forces burned almost all of its 1,300 houses and religious buildings in 35 arson attacks between 2021 and June 2022.