Military launching daily airstrikes in attempt to reclaim control of Chin State’s Thantlang

The junta has been launching repeated aerial attacks on Thantlang, Chin State, since allied resistance forces overran the town’s central police station last week, according to local sources.

Leading the February 8 assault were the Chin National Army/Front (CNA/F)—an ethnic armed organisation—and the Chinland Defence Force (CDF), a guerrilla group that formed in the aftermath of the military coup two years ago. 

CNA spokesperson Salai Htet Ni said on Thursday afternoon that jets had attacked Thantlang or sent reinforcements to the area “on a daily basis” since February 10. 

“They are trying to regain control of the police station and other bases we have taken over in Thantlang,” he told Myanmar Now. “They’re dropping bombs from the air so that we won’t be able to set up stations here,” he explained. 

Map of Thantlang

At the time of reporting, the military reportedly had just one post remaining at the town’s southern entrance, with Salai Htet Ni estimating that the Chin resistance had established a presence in “95 percent” of Thantlang. 

On February 10 in junta-controlled media, the military vowed to recapture the town’s central police station. 

Thantlang, which is located near the Myanmar-India border, has been under martial law since February 2, when the military council imposed the restrictions on 37 townships across the country, including seven in Chin State. 

Junta forces that had been occupying the privately-owned Cooperative Bank in Thantlang were also ambushed by CNA and CDF troops on February 1, leading to the capture of six military personnel, including an army lieutenant, and the seizure of eight guns.

One member of the resistance and at least one civilian were injured during the clashes in Thantlang this month, according to data collected by the anti-junta forces. 

The military council has not released any information on its own injuries or casualties.

A series of brutal Myanmar army offensives targeting Thantlang in late 2021 forced the town’s 10,000 residents to flee. Junta soldiers burnt down some 1,600 buildings, including two-thirds of Thantlang’s residences and more than 30 Christian religious sites.

According to a CDF spokesperson, junta forces have also blocked and set up checkpoints along the main roads in and out of Falam and Kalay in Sagaing Region, as well as the Hakha-Thantlang highway, leading to a shortage of food and medical supplies for persons displaced in Chin State. 

“We thought we’d only be away for a week at most, so we only brought a week’s worth of supplies,” said Salai, a 40-year-old man from Thantlang who has been displaced for more than a year to neighbouring Mizoram state in India, where more than 1,000 others from the town have sought refuge. 

“We only brought a sack of rice and a bottle of oil, but we still haven’t been able to return home.”

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