Junta sends reinforcements to Mindat by helicopter, seizing town 

After three days of clashes between regime forces and local resistance fighters in Mindat, the military sent reinforcements to the area by helicopter on Saturday, and later took control of the mountainous southern Chin State town, locals said. 

Since the local resistance movement—known as the Chinland Defence Force (CDF)-Mindat —controls the roads outside of the town, their fighters have managed to repeatedly ambush junta trucks loaded with soldiers. The regime then resorted to sending in new troops by air, according to a spokesperson for the Mindat People’s Administration Team. 

“Starting from around 7:30 or 8am, they have been sending more troops and weapons with six helicopters to LIB 274,” the spokesperson—who asked not to be identified—told Myanmar Now. 

He added that the helicopters made three trips to the area on Friday as well. 

Reinforcement troops coming by road from Kyauk Htu in the neighbouring region of Magwe have been ambushed by the local Mindat CDF, a member said.

“We can stop them on that route completely, so they no longer use that road with vehicles. They couldn’t come by foot either. They know that, too,” the member told Myanmar Now on Saturday morning.

“They want to seize our town as quickly as they can. They are adding reinforcements to their airbase in Kyauk Htu as well,” he said.

Since the resistance fighters do not have weapons capable of shooting down helicopters, the shift in tactics by the junta’s military created new difficulties for them, the member of the local defence force explained. 

Starting at 7am on Saturday, the military fired on residential areas with at least 30 rounds of heavy artillery throughout the morning and afternoon, according to Mindat locals.

Clashes also continued until Saturday afternoon some 14 km west of the town, where members of the Mindat CDF attacked the regime’s reinforcement troops coming from Matupi, more than 160 km northwest of Mindat. 

By late afternoon on Saturday, Myanmar military troops from Kyauk Htu, Matupi and the remaining Mindat police officers had occupied Mindat. Most of the resistance fighters were forced to retreat.

“We are not retreating completely. There are still some of us left in the town,” a leader of the local resistance who calls himself Shwe Jo Phyu—Golden Dove—told Myanmar Now. “Their strategy is to surround us all. We won’t fight back against their offensives and let the town be destroyed,” he added. 

After the military seized the town on Saturday afternoon, its troops broke down the doors of local houses and carried out raids, according to a statement by the Mindat People’s Administration Team. 

While the exact number of people detained is still unknown, at least 15 young people were arrested by regime soldiers at around 10am on Saturday near the Sanmin Thiri Pagoda in Mindat, the administration team said. 

The youth were reportedly forced to stand in front of the column of troops as human shields.

Due to the clashes in recent days, thousands of Mindat residents fled their homes, but many, including women and children, remain trapped inside of the town since the military took control.

Mindat town in southern Chin State, pictured in 2019 (CJ) 

Martial law declared—and rejected—as fighting restarts

After clashes regnited between the troops and the team’s local defence force on Wednesday, the military declared martial law in Mindat.

Following the military’s declaration, the Mindat People’s Administration Team—formed by residents in February in the wake of Myanmar’s military coup—dismissed the martial law designation as ‘illegitimate.’ The team affirmed that they were the only legitimate local administrative mechanism of the area. 

At least five people in the Mindat CDF were killed during the most recent clashes as of Friday, according to the Mindat People’s Administration Team. 

In these battles, the regime troops have reportedly used heavy weapons such as shoulder-fired missile launchers to attack Mindat resistance fighters. Locals, by contrast, are armed with traditional handmade hunting rifles, double barrel shotguns, and makeshift explosives.

There were also reports that said the military used drones to survey the town and identify the resistance fighters’ locations from above. 

The previous round of clashes broke out in late April.

On April 24, a group of protesters gathered to demand the release of seven of their comrades who had been detained by the regime. A member of the armed forces reportedly shot at someone in the crowd, which provoked the protesters to retaliate. 

It quickly escalated into a four-day battle as the junta sent reinforcements to the town, with the Mindat CDF ambushing their trucks before they arrived. 

There were no casualties reported on the civilian resistance side at that time, but at least 30 members of the military council’s armed forces were allegedly killed during this time. 

The heavy casualties on the military’s side led to a ceasefire deal with the resistance after seven youth were released from regime custody.

The local resistance fighters continued to demand the release of five more civilians who had been detained. Clashes resumed after their demand was not met by their Wednesday afternoon deadline.



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