Local resistance fighter killed as clashes continue in Mindat

A member of the local resistance force in southern Chin State’s Mindat Township was killed during clashes with the junta’s armed forces on Tuesday.

The military fired artillery shells during the fighting, which took place near the villages of Hpayar Sakhan and Shet, 16km from Mindat town, a member of the anti-coup Mindat People’s Administration Team said. 

“Fighting broke out in two locations. They fired heavy artillery. One of our members was killed in the fighting this morning,” he told Myanmar Now by telephone on Tuesday. “Today we could not hear the sound of their airplanes, but heavy artillery is still being fired as I am speaking to you now,” he added

Eighteen-year-old Salai Ling Yaw Um was the resistance member killed during the clash. 

The source in Mindat added that others were injured, but the exact number of people wounded had not been confirmed. 

The military council imposed martial law in Mindat in mid-May. Intense fighting has broken out with local anti-coup fighters, forcing residents to flee to the town for safety, and into the nearby jungle, where they set up makeshift camps. 

The camps are just a few miles from the area where the fighting took place on Tuesday. 

With the junta’s forces recently stationed near the camps, the displaced locals have been forced to flee again, with only children and the elderly remaining, a representative from the Lu Saw internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp told Myanmar Now.

“Everyone had to run to different locations. As the troops approached the camp, IDPs had to run again. Some IDPs left the camp. But we don’t know where they went,” the camp representative said. “Some ran towards the jungle. Only the people who did not know where to run remained in the camp.”

At the time of reporting, more than 8,300 IDPs from Mindat had taken refuge in 18 IDP camps. The junta blocked all routes through which food could be transported to the locations where displaced persons were staying. Camp officials have said that food, clean water and medicine are urgently needed. 

Clashes erupted in Mindat in late April after a crowd gathered to demand the release of several detained protesters and a member of the regime’s forces reportedly shot at a demonstrator. 

Local resistance fighters have since killed dozens of soldiers in ambushes. They retreated from the town on Saturday after the military sent in helicopters full of reinforcement troops. 

On May 13, the junta declared martial law in Mindat and intensified its attacks on the town with long range artillery, machine guns, and shoulder-held rocket launchers. Soldiers also arrested local residents and forced them to act as human shields. 

By contrast, the resistance fighters are armed with traditional Tumi hunting rifles, double-barreled guns, and home-made explosive devices. 

After three days of clashes between the Myanmar military and local resistance fighters in Mindat, the military took control of the town, also deploying helicopters full of reinforcement troops.

Since then, the majority of Mindat residents have fled to the jungles or to the homes of relatives in nearby towns and villages.

During fighting from May 13 to June 6, some 21 members of the civilian resistance were killed, according to the Mindat People’s Administration Team. 


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