Thirty Myanmar Police, Troops Defect in Chin State Since War Declaration Against Junta

By The Irrawaddy 23 September 2021

Another 30 junta police officers and soldiers in Chin State have joined the nationwide Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) defying military rule over the past two weeks, since the declaration of a People’s Defensive War against the military regime by the parallel National Unity Government (NUG) on Sept. 7.

That means a total of 350 junta police and 21 soldiers have gone on strike against military rule in Chin State since the Feb. 1 coup, according to the Chinland Defense Force (CDF), which consists of ethnic Chin civilian armed forces across the state.

Since late April, the military regime has faced intense resistance from the civilian fighters of the CDF teams, most of which are armed with homemade traditional hunting guns. The CDFs have managed to inflict heavy losses on junta forces in a series of firefights.

In a speech to the country on Sept. 7, the NUG’s acting president, Duwa Lashi La, urged anyone serving under the regime including soldiers and police to leave their jobs, while calling on all citizens to revolt against the rule of the “military terrorists” led by coup leader Min Aung Hlaing in every corner of the country.

Since the declaration, 21 police and nine soldiers in Chin State have joined the CDM through the Chinland Defense Force, according to the group.

Of them, three soldiers brought firearms along with them in joining the CDM, a spokesperson for the CDF told The Irrawaddy on Thursday.

The junta forces have joined the CDM as they realized the military has become the most unpopular institution in the country, and after witnessing the revolution of the people against the junta, according to the CDF.

“The terrorist group [junta] which has seized power from the elected government, realized itself that the international community does not recognize them [as the legitimate government]. So, junta soldiers need to realize that point too,” the spokesperson said.

He also said that junta forces need to decide quickly whether they intend to protect the interests of the junta or join the CDM, as they are among the main targets of the revolution now that the NUG has officially declared war.

The Chinland Defense Forces have been inviting junta soldiers to join the CDM by promising safe accommodation and a proper daily wage to those who do.

The Chin civilian armed forces have already announced that they will award 5 million kyats (US$2,713) to junta troop who bring firearms and rounds along with them when defecting from the military. Those who bring heavy weapons with shells will be awarded 10 million kyats ($5,427).

They also said government officials also would be awarded 5million kyats if they bring a vehicle from their offices while defecting to the CDM.

A video shows civilian resistance fighters of the CDF encouraging surrounding junta soldiers to join the CDM during a firefight in Chin State, promising them safety and rewards.

Meanwhile, some striking police officers are joining the Chinland Defense Forces in their fight against the military regime’s forces in Chin State.

As well, 320 police who defected from the junta-controlled Home Affairs Ministry after the coup have formed a police force that will work together with anti-regime groups to fight military rule in Kayah State.

In Myanmar, almost 410,000 government staff have gone on strike against the military regime since February.

Among them, around 2,000 junta police and soldiers have also joined the CDM, as of August, according to People’s Embrace, a group helping security forces personnel who are refusing to work for the regime.

Since the declaration of the People’s Defensive War on Sept.7, 15 to more than 30 junta police and soldiers have contacted the CDM to join it each day, the NUG said.

You may also like these stories:

Brother of Slain Myanmar Pastor Says Regime Fails to Take Accountability for Atrocities

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s Australian Advisor Appears in Naypyitaw Court

More Volunteers and Civilians Detained in Myanmar’s Anti-Regime Stronghold