Myanmar military bombs Chin State monastery sheltering displaced civilians 

Five civilians sheltering at a monastery in southern Chin State’s Mindat Township were injured in a junta airstrike on the makeshift camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) on Monday morning. 

According to Salai Yaw Marn, an officer within the anti-junta People’s Administration Team for the township, two of these individuals were seriously wounded, and at least two nearby homes in the village—Paleikhtwi—were destroyed. 

“They dropped four bombs and opened fire from jets while the people in the monastery were preparing to distribute soap and detergent to the IDPs,” he told Myanmar Now, adding, “The bombs fell right on the assembly hall and the pagoda.”

Further details about the victims were not available at the time of reporting. 

The military also fired heavy artillery at the Mindat General Hospital on Monday, and two days earlier, launched an aerial attack on the village of Tsun Taung, five miles away from Paleikhtwi.  

“We couldn’t take those who were injured to the hospital as they were also firing shells at the hospital,” Salai Yaw Marn said. “We had no choice but to tend to their injuries with whatever we had in the woods. We could only give them first aid, and there was no clean or sterile place to give them proper treatment.”

The Mindat chapter of the Chinland Defence Force (CDF), a resistance group, released a statement condemning the military’s attacks on civilians and declaring that the junta’s targeting of a religious building and IDP camp was a war crime. 

Noting that during this month alone, the military had carried out eight airstrikes in Mindat, the CDF urged the public to dig bunkers in preparation for further bombardments. 

Salai Yaw Marn said that these shelters must be four to five feet deep, and “wide enough for at least two people to move around freely.”

“They must also have lids with good ventilation,” he added. 

Nearly 12,000 people have been displaced in Mindat and are taking shelter in nearby villages, relatives’ homes, and religious buildings, according to local sources. 

The military bombed the headquarters of the Chin National Front on Chin State’s border with India on January 10 and 11, killing five members of the resistance group. 

The junta has also previously used its air power to target religious buildings, hospitals and IDP camps elsewhere in Chin, Karen and Karenni states. 

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