Mindat IDPs return home during temporary ceasefire 

Locals who had fled fighting in Mindat, Chin State returned home after a ceasefire was agreed to between the regime military and the local Chinland Defence Force (CDF), according to a committee working with internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the township. 

After one week of negotiations involving local leaders and religious figures, the two forces agreed to a two-week ceasefire on Wednesday. The agreement is only valid until July 4.

More than 20,000 locals have been displaced from Mindat since mid-May by clashes. More than 80 percent have returned home in recent days, the Mindat Township IDP Management Committee has stated.

They had been taking shelter in 80 villages in the region, according to Lawrence, a representative of the committee. 

“There’s only a little more than 1,000 IDPs left in the villages,” Lawrence told Myanmar Now.

The majority of the IDPs returned to check on the condition of their homes, many of which were raided when the junta’s armed forces took over Mindat town. 

Lawrence noted that this is the season in which Mindat farmers typically cultivate konjac, and the displacement has interrupted their livelihoods and food security.

A member of the anti-coup Mindat Township People’s Administration Team said that while the majority of IDPs have returned following the temporary ceasefire, only a few are expected to stay. 

After three consecutive days of clashes in April, the military asked the local defence group to meet with them for negotiations, but the two sides were not able to come to an agreement. Clashes resumed on the night of May 12.

On May 13, the military council imposed martial law in Mindat, and began carrying out raids. They officially seized the town on May 15.

The military council’s armed forces attacked villages sheltering IDPs, including firing heavy artillery at an IDP camp despite the display of a white flag. They also blocked routes through which rations and medical supplies could be sent to the displaced persons. 

According to information provided by Mindat’s IDP management committee, by the third week of June, seven people, including a six-day-old baby, a seven-month-old baby, a 13-year-old child, a pregnant woman, and three other adults had died due to a lack of healthcare during their displacement. 

A local man who was involved in the negotiations between the regime’s armed forces and the PDF said that the temporary ceasefire was made with these conditions in mind.  

“The elderly are struggling a lot. So are the sick and disabled,” he told Myanmar Now.
“Unidentified thieves were destroying the town and people’s homes. People are losing their homes and livelihoods. The entire town became a ghost town. So religious figures from all backgrounds joined hands to pray and plan to bring the town back to life.”

For the period of the ceasefire, both the Mindat PDF and the military agreed to stop carrying out armed searches of people, shooting weapons, pressuring or threatening departmental staff or those involved in the Civil Disobedience Movement, and to allow vehicles carrying aid to IDPs to pass through the town. 

Military vehicles stationed on the town’s two main roads—Shwe Aung Thar and Htin Chaung—have since retreated, and some trucks have come to the town to provide supplies, locals said. 

Related Articles

Back to top button