The UN Security Council on Wednesday expressed “deep concern” over the intensifying armed clashes and violence in Myanmar. Showing rare agreement on the crisis in the country, the council’s 15 members issued a statement calling for an immediate end to fighting and for the military to exercise “utmost restraint”.
“The Members of the Security Council expressed deep concern at further recent violence across Myanmar. They called for an immediate cessation of violence and to ensure the safety of civilians,” the statement reads.
The expression of concern comes amid frequent junta raids and shelling of civilian areas in Sagaing and Magwe regions and Chin State in northwestern Myanmar, and in Kayah State in the southeast. The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said recently that more than 37,000 people, including women and children, have been newly displaced, and more than 160 homes have been burned, including churches and the offices of a humanitarian organization, in the areas.
In recent raids on the small, picturesque hill town of Thantlang in Chin State, regime forces fired artillery shells and burned down houses, prompting the exodus of the entire civilian population. The junta has blamed the destruction on local civilian resistance forces.
On the ground, sources working for both the Chin Defense Force (CDF) and the Chin National Front (CNF) in Chin State said they have learned that coup leader Min Aung Hlaing and his subordinates held a war room meeting recently in Naypyitaw and ordered field commanders to take over towns in Chin State after shelling them.
“He [Min Aung Hlaing] ordered commanders [assigned to Chin State] to create fear and take over the towns,” a source said, adding, “We will defend them and our Chin land.”
The CDF is a local civilian armed resistance group formed after the coup to fight the regime. The CNF is one of eight ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) that originally signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) with the U Thein Sein government in October 2015. In May, however, the CNF decided to ally with the National Unity Government (NUG), becoming the first EAO to side with the country’s shadow government formed to topple the military regime.
The UN Security Council statement continues, “They encouraged the pursuance of dialogue and reconciliation in accordance with the will and interests of the people of Myanmar.”
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