Transport of food, medicine restricted despite temporary ceasefire extension in Mindat

A temporary ceasefire between local resistance forces and the military in Mindat, Chin State,  has been extended until July 14, but locals say the junta continues to impose restrictions on the transportation of basic necessities into the area, contributing to food shortages and insufficient healthcare access.

The Chinland Defence Force (CDF) in Mindat and the military coup council had agreed to a temporary ceasefire from June 23 until July 4 in the town and then extended it 10 more days. 

Rice is being transported to Mindat from Pakokku, in Magwe Region, but the junta is only allowing 10 bags of rice—each weighing around 45kg—to be brought in per day, according to the Mindat People’s Administration.

“This rice is not enough, even for the town. Most of the people have bought millet and corn to eat,” a Mindat resident said. 

Each household is additionally restricted by the military authorities from buying more than one bag of rice per month, a town elder and member of the bilateral negotiating team told Myanmar Now.

He speculated that the aim of the junta’s restrictions on rice may be an attempt to cut off the food supply route for the CDF in Mindat. 

An official from the management committee for Mindat’s internally displaced persons’ (IDPs) camps said that the town was running out of medicine and basic healthcare necessities because the junta had declared medicine a “banned item.”

“Medicines are not allowed to be transported to Mindat. The junta’s forces arrest anyone who brings medicine, so no one dares to carry it. There are still a lot of sick people in the mountainous areas,” the committee official explained. 

Myanmar Now tried to contact the junta’s information officers to inquire about the restrictions, but the calls were unanswered. 

Fighting between local forces and the military began in Mindat in April. Since May 12, clashes have intensified, and more than 20,000 people have fled the area. 

A two-week ceasefire agreement was reached in June after the town elders and religious leaders held talks with the military for one week. 

The temporary ceasefire agreement bans both sides from firing their weapons, harassing or threatening civil servants—particularly those involved in the anti-coup Civil Disobedience Movement—and states that vehicles transporting food may be inspected but must be allowed into Mindat.  

During the 10-day temporary ceasefire extension, representatives from both forces have reportedly agreed to communicate by phone, and to contact the negotiating committee if necessary. 

Some IDPs have returned to their homes during this period, but others are reluctant to go back to the town, citing a lack of security and ongoing difficulties procuring basic needs, such as access to healthcare. 

“The military council’s side runs an outpatient clinic, from 8 am to 10 am. But some people think the medical care in the town is now inadequate, so they do not come here,” the Mindat town elder and negotiating team member said.

The junta’s health ministry announced on July 2 that there was one new case of Covid-19 in Mindat town. 

“If the town is locked down because of the Covid-19 pandemic, people will face more difficulties getting food. Commodity prices will be higher. The situation in Mindat will not be easy at all,” the elder said, adding that he feared his community would “disappear” due to these struggles.  

During a one-month period between May and late June, a total of seven people, including pregnant women, infants and the elderly, died while fleeing the ongoing instability in Mindat, according to the Mindat IDP camps’ management committee. 

Related Articles

Back to top button