Terror campaign in Chin state
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Wednesday, July 17, 2024


Terror campaign in Chin state

By The Irrawaddy JANUARY, 1997 - VOLUME 5 NO.1


Bearing the same complaints as ethnic groups in other parts of the country, Chin guerrillas are striking back at military targets.

Chin soldiers, once loyal recruits for the Rangoon government, are stepping up their war of resistance against the govenrment in Chin state on the western border of Burma, say residents and aid workers in and near the area.

Since last year, insurgents from the Chin National Front [CNF] have carried out a series of urban guerrilla attacks against Burmese soldiers.

Some analysts in India have referred to the CNF as "Burma’s IRA."

That would be an overstatement. But a number of terror-like incidents in Chin state last year have created a state of siege for Burmese soldiers stationed in the area.

In February 1996, a bomb planted by CNF rebels exploded at a military intelligence officer’s house in Haka, the capital of Chin state. The target, Col Tint Lwin escaped with injures.

In June, a Thantalang-based military intelligence officer was shot dead by CNF rebels. On Oct 8, a Falam military intelligence officer’s car was wrecked by another CNF-planted bomb.

Four days later a group of soldiers including a battalion commander from Falam regiment 266 and his family were attacked when travelling by car in the district. It was believed that some of them were wounded. According to Chin rebels, the battalion commander was hit by a bullet.

Foreign secretary of the CNF, Dr Sui Khar, 35, said since the group launched its attacks in Haka and Falang cities the Burmese soldiers have been afraid to leave the townships.

But the Burmese army is not taking the attacks passively.

The ruling Slorc introduced new strict regulations controlling movement of people in Chin state.

And local Slorc commanders have been pressuring influential Chin pastors to persuade the CNF rebels to return to the "legal fold."

Last year the pastors established a peace negotiating committee led by Rev Sang Awi. But according to Sui Khar, a Rev David Van Bile was arrested on charges of having contacts with the CNF.

Villagers accused of being ‘supporters’ of the CNF have also been taken into prison.

Though Chin rebels are asking for self-determination and equality in Chin state Sui Khar said, "We want genuine peace and political settlement. We fully support Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the democracy movement."

The CNF was established shortly after the military regime staged its bloody coup in 1988.

Until 1992, it was led by president John No Than Kap. Later he fled to India where he was arrested. It was believed that he was sent back to Burma and surrendered to Burma’s authorities.

In 1989, Chin rebels received their first arms training at the headquarters of the Kachin Independence Organisation. About 70 rebels were sent to Pa Jau in 1989 and came back to Chin State in 1991. The overland trip took a year.

"We were empty-handed in 1988," says Shui Khar.

"From 1988 to 1995 it was a preparation period," says Sui Khar who graduated from Yezin University in Pyinmana. "We have no weapons and no money.

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