Fresh fighting breaks out in Mindat as temporary ceasefire expires

Fresh fighting broke out in southern Chin State’s Mindat Township on Wednesday as the military launched a new offensive against the Chinland Defence Force (CDF) amid the collapse of ceasefire talks, according to local sources.

A two-week ceasefire went into effect on June 23 and was later extended until July 14, but no further extension was reached due to the junta’s demand that the CDF return weapons that it had seized from the military. 

“They told us to return the weapons that we seized. The negotiations over this issue did not work out. That’s all I can say about it,” a CDF spokesperson told Myanmar Now.

The two sides abandoned talks on July 16, but fighting didn’t resume until Wednesday, two days after the arrival of a shipment of humanitarian aid for displaced civilians.

According to a statement released by the Mindat Township People’s Administration, Wednesday’s offensive began at around 6:45am, targeting CDF forces near the village of Shwe Twin Tu, located on Chin State’s border with Magway Region.

There are six military battalions currently in Mindat Township, including the township-based Battalion No 274. According to the CDF, two of the battalions are operating secretly.

The CDF also reported on Wednesday morning that a military column that left from Matupi on Monday was now within 70 miles of the town of Mindat.

The CDF spokesperson said that there were casualties from Wednesday’s fighting, but no details were available at the time of reporting.

“The CDF wants peace. But our fight right now is not about peace or a ceasefire, but to overthrow the dictatorship. So clashes can occur at any time. This time, I think, the fighting will be intense,” the CDF spokesperson said.

Fighting between local forces and the military began in Mindat in April. Since May 12, clashes have intensified, and more than 20,000 people have fled the area, according to an official from the Mindat IDPs Relief Group. 

The junta imposed martial law in Mindat in mid-May in an effort to crush local resistance to its rule. 

Between early April and late June, more than 20 armed clashes took place between the CDF and the military junta. 

Local CDF members armed only with handmade hunting rifles and weapons seized during clashes with regime forces have killed around 200 junta soldiers since the fighting began. The CDF says that it has lost 24 of its fighters. 

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